We believe that the best solutions come from those facing the challenges. We’ve seen time and again that we make more progress when we step back and follow the lead of local leaders and communities.
That’s why, as part of the USAID-funded CRCA Activity, and in all of our work, we’re teaming up with local organizations who are already at work in their communities. We’re convinced that these partners are some of the best people in the world, so we wanted to introduce you to a few of them.
In the town of Bria, in the Central African Republic (CAR) lives Matar. Matar began promoting peace in his community back in 2013, after a coup toppled the government of CAR and sparked widespread violence in the country, largely along religious lines. Matar, along with other local leaders created an organization to unite members of the community to prevent violence and keep their families and each other safe. They named the organization Bria Londo, which means “Bria Stands Strong.”
Matar and the other community leaders he works with are fully committed to strengthening their community in order to resist violence. That’s why, when we expanded our programs to Bria, we joined forces with them to equip the community with tools to resolve conflict peacefully. With training from our team, Matar and other members of his organization are bringing the people of Bria together to prevent violence and help each other heal. Today, we work with Matar and members of his organization are helping share these tools with other communities in CAR.
One of our longest-running and most impactful programs, the Early Warning Network would not be possible without our partnership with the Commission Diocésaine pour la Justice et la Paix (CDJP) or its founder, Father Benoit.
He had a vision for peace began using a small network of existing HF radios to share information about the movements of Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) fighters. In 2010, we started working with him to expand his network from just a few radios to dozens. Today, thanks to our partnership with CDJP and with support from USAID, the network is growing to include more than 100 communities. These communities are now equipped to share information with one another that can be used to prevent violence and protect families. Father Benoit passed away in 2016, but thanks to the rest of the CDJP team, we continue to take steps to bring his dream for a safer, connected central Africa to life.
Finally, we want you to meet Father Ernest, the national coordinator of SAIPED, a Congolese organization we’ve worked with since 2012. Father Ernest and his team at SAIPED played an important role in the creation of our Mobile Cinema program and in training local communities in how to support those escaping LRA captivity.
Our friends at SAIPED have helped thousands of central African communities understand what LRA escapees go through and how to safely prevent LRA violence by helping escapees come home.
These days, we’re also working with SAIPED to create and broadcast FM radio messages that help people understand how they can improve safety and make their communities stronger by caring for their environment and the wildlife they live among.
We are so proud and grateful to work with these and many other incredible local organizations in central Africa. They are walking examples of how powerful local solutions can be and the impact we can have when we support their work.
Programs described in this blog are made possible with the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this post are the sole responsibility of Invisible Children and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.