As part of Invisible Children’s ongoing promotion of safe surrenders for LRA combatants, our design team has partnered with Acholi leadership in Uganda to create defection fliers. By using photos and quotes from recent escapees, these fliers directly target and reach out to LRA groups and encourage them to peacefully surrender. We work with various groups including the UN to distribute these fliers from the air and on the ground where we know LRA groups operate. Printed on a compostable flier, the message is displayed in 3 local languages, includes pictures of LRA combatants who have successfully escaped, and has detailed instructions on how to safely leave the LRA.
Since last year, 470,000 have been mass produced to be distributed throughout DR Congo and the Central African Republic. How are they distributed, exactly? Great question. In addition to the fliers being placed on paths known to be used by LRA groups moving in the region, they are dropped from circling planes, sometimes a mere thousand feet above known LRA groups. Are you ready for a tutorial?
Returnees have credited the defection fliers with educating them that they can successfully escape. Most recently, one of Kony’s wives who escaped in February, said, “What encouraged me to leave was the flier I saw there. We saw the picture of people who had escaped. It was then the idea came to my mind. I will try to escape. Whatever Kony says, I will try to escape.”
The defection fliers work alongside our FM Radio project which uses radio broadcasting to reach LRA groups and encourage their surrender through “Come Home” messaging. In a recent study of former combatants who had escaped, 89% cited radio messaging as the main factor as to why they chose to escape. We are continuing to work with former escapees to build compelling messaging to target mid-level LRA combatants and women and children attached to the group so they know there is life after abduction; they can return home and leave a life of captivity.