This #GivingTuesday, join us in celebrating Arthur, and the many Central Africans who are showing courage and making sacrifices to help their neighbors in times of need. Between now and November 27, we are raising funds to support the work of Central Africans like Arthur.
Ten years ago, with just a microphone, a battery, and an old umbrella frame, our friend Arthur created Radio Zereda as a voice for peace in his community of Obo, Central African Republic.
Since then, Invisible Children has helped turn Arthur’s makeshift radio into a full-fledged radio station with the ability to reach thousands of listeners. Now, communities all around Obo can receive warnings of LRA activity. Not only that, “Come Home” messages broadcast by Radio Zereda have helped bring hundreds of people home who were held captive by Joseph Kony’s LRA.
A few weeks ago, Arthur passed away. But his legacy lives on through Radio Zereda and the lives saved by what he built.
In 2008, the LRA killed over 50 people and abducted dozens more from Obo in just one night. For the next few years, the LRA continued to be active in and around Obo. And people there had no way to receive alerts when LRA fighters were in the area.
Arthur knew that his community needed access to information and wanted to make that possible. He didn’t have much to work with, but Arthur was incredibly smart and resourceful. Using some old batteries, a microphone, and an umbrella frame tied to the top of a tree, Arthur built a makeshift radio that could reach listeners up to one kilometer (a little over half a mile) away. He called it “Radio Zereda” which means “Radio for Peace” and began broadcasting information about nearby LRA activity.
We met Arthur in 2011 and immediately realized that he was onto something. In a place as remote, isolated, and disconnected as Obo, radio was a way to reach potentially thousands of people with information that could help save lives.
So, we partnered with Arthur and an organization called Interactive Radio for Justice to help take Radio Zereda from a microphone and an old umbrella to a full-fledged radio station. That year, we were able to boost the signal of Radio Zereda to reach 30km (about 18 miles). Two years later, we built a 100-foot tower to boost Radio Zereda’s signal once again to reach over 60km (36miles).
For seven years, we’ve worked closely with Arthur, helping to boost Radio Zereda’s signal so that, today, thousands of people have access to accurate, and up-to-date information on security in their area. Radio Zereda was also one of the first stations in CAR to broadcast “Come Home” messages. With Invisible Children support, Arthur helped make his community safer and encouraged dozens, if not hundreds, of LRA captives to come home.
But beyond that, Arthur and his radio inspired us. Since meeting Arthur and working with him to expand the reach of Radio Zereda, we have worked with nearly a dozen other local radio stations like his across the region to broadcast “Come Home” messages and security information in areas where the LRA and other armed groups threaten the safety of communities. Thanks to Arthur, communities far beyond Radio Zereda’s original one-kilometer radius have access to lifesaving information.
There are dozens of people, like Arthur, who are rising up to help their neighbors in these times of need because, in central Africa, courage isn’t in short supply.
This #GivingTuesday, donate to Invisible Children and join us in advancing the work of people like Arthur.
This year, in honor of Arthur’s memory, one generous donor will match every gift we receive, until we reach $10,000. Donate today and have twice the impact.