The Challenge

In December of 2009, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) killed 321 civilians in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Despite the incredible scale and brutality of the violence, much of the international community did not learn of the massacre until March 2010—three months later.

For decades, armed groups, including the LRA, have taken advantage of remote and isolated communities in central Africa, carrying out violence and exploitation with impunity. Because this region is so remote and disconnected from the outside world, the activity of armed groups has historically been under-reported. The lack of credible data and information has made it nearly impossible for humanitarians, policy makers, and security forces to protect these isolated communities or successfully deploy other essential services in these areas.

Our Response

Statistics

More than 6000 incidents of armed group activity reported on the Crisis Tracker to date

Originally created to track and broadcast information about LRA attacks and other activities, the Crisis Tracker aggregates information on violent activity throughout the Mbomou Uele border region in central Africa.

Invisible Children staff and partners on the ground in central Africa work together with local communities and crisis mapping experts at our headquarters to collect and verify reports of attacks sent via Invisible Children’s Early Warning Network. We triangulate this data with reports from other credible sources and first-hand research conducted by Invisible Children and peer organizations. Information is then rapidly disseminated to humanitarian and security actors, conservation experts, and local partner organizations via the Crisis Tracker email and WhatsApp alert system and uploaded to a secure, online crisis mapping portal.

In addition to the near-real-time online platform, incident reports are aggregated into “daily” emails sent to a secure list of stakeholders. In collaboration with local experts, our crisis mapping analysis team distributes monthly, quarterly, and annual security briefs to key stakeholders in the region and policy makers. Equipped with reliable data, information, and expert analysis, they are able to make better decisions for preventing violence and providing communities with vital services. In addition, we are innovating new methods for feeding our analysis back to affected communities via the Early Warning Network and WhatsApp. 

In addition to tracking violent activity, the Crisis Tracker database and reporting system is also used to collect information on illicit wildlife trafficking, track missing persons who were abducted by armed groups and remain in captivity, and coordinate the reunification of former armed group captives with their families.

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