About a year ago, Faida* escaped from captivity in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). At the time, she was 16 years old and had spent several years in LRA captivity. A few months later, Invisible Children reunited Faida with her family in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Now, we are supporting her in developing new economic opportunities. 

While in LRA captivity, Faida missed out on the opportunity to go to school. However, Faida wasn’t about to let that hold her back. Soon after, Faida joined Invisible Children’s local livelihood development project. She received a small loan and business management training which she used to start a business.

Economic Opportunities - Faida 1
An Invisible Children staff member helping Faida develop a business plan.

Armed Group Violence Disrupts Local Economies

Armed group violence disrupts economic activity in vulnerable communities. For example, LRA captivity prevented Faida from attending school. In other cases, fear of nearby armed groups prevents people from safely engaging in activities like farming, trading, or hunting. Additionally, destructive violence and looting can cause people to lose access to the resources they need for their livelihoods. As a result, those already facing the trauma of armed group violence are left struggling to provide for themselves and their families. 

In addition, the economic impacts of armed group violence can contribute to cycles of violence and environmental destruction. Scarce resources can lead to conflict, leave youth susceptible to armed group recruitment, and encourage unsustainable hunting and farming practices.

Economic Opportunity - Farming
Through livelihood development programs, Invisible Children trains community members on environmentally-friendly activities.

Invisible Children is supporting sustainable economic opportunities

That’s why Invisible Children is working with vulnerable communities, like Faida’s, to develop sustainable economic opportunities as part of the USAID-funded Community Resilience in Central Africa (CRCA) Activity. We support savings and loan associations or provide micro-loans for small businesses in some communities. In others, we support road repairs or the construction of community granaries that can support trade and other economic activity. Above all, projects are based on what local participants identify as important to the whole community’s economic development. 

Economic Opportunities - Faida 2
Faida participates in Invisible Children’s livelihood development program.

Your support can help people like Faida

Today, Faida has a thriving business, which allows her to provide for herself and her family. In addition, her business gives her a sense of purpose and belonging within the community. Thanks to CRCA livelihood projects, Faida and many others are receiving support to move forward from armed group violence. 

Your support enables Invisible Children to invest in the resilience of central African communities as we work to end violent conflict and foster thriving ecosystems. Donate today to equip at-risk communities with tools to prevent violence, recover from its impacts, and build a brighter future. 


Some 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.