About the Program

The LRA operates in some of the most remote regions of central Africa, terrorizing communities who lack the basic communication infrastructure to report LRA attacks or receive warning when LRA groups are active nearby. The Early Warning Radio Network is composed of high-frequency, two-way, long-range radios that give communities in DR Congo and the Central African Republic the ability to report LRA activity to one another. This network warns nearby communities with twice-daily security calls of LRA movement and also alerts security and humanitarian groups who can provide vital services.

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    Program Details

    The Early Warning Radio Network gives vulnerable communities in LRA-affected regions of DR Congo and the Central African Republic the ability to communicate LRA attacks and activity to surrounding vulnerable communities and to humanitarian and security actors.

    The weak infrastructure and limited capacity of national forces, together with the remote location, make communities in DRC and CAR ideal places for the LRA to commit atrocities. These atrocities go largely undetected and undeterred. In December 2009, the LRA killed more than 320 people in 4 days, attacking ten villages over a 105-km distance in DR Congo in what became known as the Makombo Massacre. Due to the lack of communications systems, communities along this route received no advance warning of LRA elements and became victims of subsequent, multi-day attacks.

    installation of HF radioIn response to the gap in community-level information, Invisible Children has partnered with local community organizations in DRC and CAR to utilize local expertise in the expansion of a high frequency (HF) radio network. The Early Warning Radio Network, which is built on an infrastructure of HF radios, connects communities to one another, allowing for warning of LRA activity, and provides increased security information to humanitarian and security responders.

    Communities participating in the project do so voluntarily. They have been identified by their susceptibility to LRA attack and their lack of communication infrastructure necessary to report and receive security information. The project’s objective is to connect communities with one another and with local and international humanitarian groups, ultimately allowing for heightened humanitarian and security responses and limiting the LRA’s ability to attack without warning.

    The Early Warning Radio Network was initially identified by a local organization in DR Congo called Commision Diocesaine por Justice et Paix (CDJP). It was further recommended for implementation by Human Rights Watch, UN DDR/RR, and Invisible Children assessments in the region. Although the HF radios were utilized in northeastern DR Congo by the Dungu-Doruma Diocese for communication between parishes prior to the conflict, the Diocese and CDJP naturally began to utilize the network to issue security reports and status updates between isolated communities. The project enhances this effort by expanding the HF network and by implementing systems to give communities in danger of LRA attacks the most up-to-date information possible.

    Today, the Early Warning Radio Network facilitates twice-daily security broadcasts between 38 HF radios installed by Invisible Children. The Early Warning program also seeks to end the LRA’s ability to commit mass, multi-day atrocities, like the ones committed in Makombo in 2009, without it being publicly reported for months. This system promotes quicker confirmation of security incidents, giving humanitarians and communities the information necessary to prepare for and mitigate the effects of LRA activity. The system will expand with 12 radios installed in CAR with a target end date of March 2013.

    The Early Warning Radio Network feeds vetted information into the LRA Crisis Tracker, a public website that provides near-real-time information on current LRA activity. www.LRACrisisTracker.com

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Invisible Children focuses exclusively on the LRA conflict through an integrated four-part model that addresses the problem in its entirety: immediate needs and long-term effects. Invisible Children could not exist without the consistent generosity of people who share our belief that where you live shouldn’t determine whether you live.

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