This Father’s Day, we want to introduce you to the incomparable Papa Joseph, Invisible Children’s Early Warning Network Project Assistant in Obo, Central African Republic (CAR).
Papa Joseph hails from Zemio, CAR, a small town near the DR Congo (DRC) border and not far from Obo, where our Invisible Children CAR office is located. In 2010, Zemio and the towns around it were first beginning to experience the violence of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and Papa Joseph did not hesitate to take action to protect his family and community.
He was among the first in CAR to connect to Invisible Children’s Early Warning Network, using a borrowed HF radio in Zemio. His dedication to his community led him to travel more than 600 km to our office in Dungu, DRC to attend trainings on how to operate the radio.
So naturally, when we began establishing our Invisible Children office in Obo and installed an HF radio there, Papa Joseph was at the top of our list of HF radio experts in CAR who could manage the Early Warning Network out of Obo. After discussing the opportunity with his whole family (literally his whole family — wife, siblings, children, and grandchildren), Papa Joseph accepted our offer and officially joined the Invisible Children team on June 17, 2013.
In the years since, Papa Joseph has helped protect dozens of isolated and vulnerable Central African communities by connecting them to the Early Warning Network. Traveling to remote corners of CAR, meeting with hundreds of local leaders — and sometimes getting stuck on bridges overnight — Papa Joseph has helped provide thousands across CAR with the ability to protect themselves and each other from LRA violence.
We are so grateful for Papa Joseph and his commitment to supporting communities in central Africa targeted by violence. His dedication to his family and the people of CAR continues to be powerful driving force behind our programs, which are making people safer, bring child soldiers home, and support lasting peace in central Africa.
From all of us at Invisible Children, to all you dads out there, Happy Father’s Day!