The Challenge

Most communities in eastern Central African Republic (CAR) and northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) don’t have access to basic infrastructures, including communication systems. Because of this, the communities most at risk of armed group violence are unable to share or receive information that would allow them to reduce their vulnerability or to safely respond to threats to their safety. Armed groups like the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) are able to move freely throughout the region, attacking and exploiting communities with impunity.

Our Response

Our Early Warning Network connects these isolated communities to one another and the outside world through a system of High Frequency (HF) radios and other systems of communication that are locally available.

We work with local community leaders to install new radios or repair existing radios in their communities; we train local operators to use and maintain the radio; and we train operators in methods for safely reporting incidents of violence or armed group activity. Communities within the network participate in twice-daily calls to share information with one another as well as with our Crisis Tracker conflict analysis team.

In addition to facilitating the flow of information, our team also works in collaboration with communities in the network to develop individualized Community Action Plans (CAPs) based on their unique strengths, assets, and vulnerabilities.

Statistics

More than 100 communities receiving life-saving information through the Early Warning Network

83 individualized Community Action Plans created with local leaders

300,000+ people directly benefitting from the Early Warning Network

 

The Origin of the Early Warning Network

In December 2009, the LRA attacked ten villages spanning 105 km in northeastern DRC, killing more than 320 people in four days during what became known as the Makombo Massacres.

At that time, a Congolese priest in the region named Father Benoit Kinelegu identified the need for an early warning system to help prevent these kinds of atrocities. His organization, Commission Diocésaine pour Justice et Paix (CDJP), began building such a system, and advocating to expand it. This course of action was further recommended by Human Rights Watch, UN DDR/RR, and Invisible Children assessments in the region.

Communities participating in the Early Warning Network do so voluntarily. The communities have been identified because of their susceptibility to armed violence, which is often determined by how isolated they are and their proximity to the travel routes of armed groups.

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