TABLE OF CONTENTS Our Story 3
The Approach 4
The Challenge 5
Our Work 6-10
Thank You 11
OURSTORY STORY OUR From Day One, we have been driven by a firm belief in a universal idea: that our liberty is bound together.
When we founded Invisible Children in 2004, we wanted to prove that idea through a specific mission: to end to Africaâ€™s longest running conflict led by Joseph Kony and his Lordâ€™s Resistance Army (LRA). We mobilized unprecedented international awareness and action to help end the LRA crisis, contributed to a 93% reduction in killings by the LRA, and we have helped thousands of central African families become safer through innovative community-based protection initiatives. In the process, our global team has gained unparalleled experience, developed renowned expertise, and cultivated a massive network of trusting relationships with resilient local changemakers across central Africa.
Today, guided by the same core belief that got us started, we have embraced the opportunity and responsibility to take on more -- because we are not truly free until all of us are free. We have expanded our mission and our programs, and we are forging new exciting partnerships, from Mboki to Manhattan. Hand-in-hand with dedicated central African community leaders, we are working to ensure that children and families in some of the most remote and isolated corners of the globe have the safety they deserve and need in order to thrive. This means we are also stepping onto the front lines of addressing the link between human insecurity and the exploitation of wildlife and natural resources, which has reached critical levels in recent years and has a massive impact on families across central Africa and generations to come.
THE APPROACH Drawing on more than ten years of experience working in one of the worldâ€™s most challenging environments, we have refined three core pillars to our approach that best serve vulnerable communities and ensure maximum positive impact:
PROTECTION FROM VIOLENCE
DYNAMIC & INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS
LOCAL SOLUTIONS & CHANGE-MAKERS
Without basic safety, a community cannot get on its feet and thrive. We focus on community-based protection initiatives that reduce the vulnerabilities that attract, enable, and even trigger cycles of violence and exploitation.
Our programs are designed to adapt and evolve with the changing dynamics of vulnerable communities, and to ensure the constant communication, quick action, and collaboration that is necessary to make communities safer.
We seek out, learn from, and partner with respected local leaders and visionaries, and make sure they have the support they need to create and realize solutions that make their communities safer and help them to thrive.
THE CHALLENGE Joseph Kony’s army continues to be the primary threat to many communities across central Africa, but they are not the only threat. In many ways, they are a symptom of much deeper problems. Our work is not only saving lives and dismantling the LRA, it is tackling the underlying challenges that prevent communities from having the safety they deserve and need to flourish.
ISOLATION Neglected communities in places like central Africa live with the daily threat of violence from multiple armed groups. Without basic government support or communications systems, they are left completely unprotected with no way to call for help.
EXPLOITATION In areas of central Africa, communities are heavily dependent on the natural environment for their survival and income. The same goes for criminals. Illegal poaching and wildlife trafficking thrive in places with little or no government presence. In addition to decimating endangered species that are critical to local ecosystems and economies, these criminal activities serve as revenue streams for armed groups, which fuel more violence.
TRAUMA Thousands of children and their families across central Africa have struggled through cycles of violent conflict and economic poverty, which often create the “hidden scars” of severe trauma and fear. Psychological and social healing is vital for individuals and communities to move forward, work together, and end cycles of violence.
OURWORK WORK OUR
EARLY WARNING RADIO NETWORK
COMMUNITY RESILIENCE COMMITTEES
TRAUMA HEALING SUPPORT
EARLY WARNING RADIO NETWORK ACTIVE 2010-PRESENT Communities in eastern Central African Republic (CAR) and northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are some of the most isolated and neglected on the planet. These communities lack the basic communication infrastructure to report violence or receive warning when armed groups are active nearby. Historically, violent poachers and other armed groups like the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have been able to move freely throughout the region, attacking remote villages, as they exploit the region’s wildlife and other natural resources. These atrocities go largely undetected and undeterred. In December 2009, the LRA attacked ten villages spanning a distance of 105 km in northeastern DRC, killing more than 320 people in four days during what became known as the Makombo Massacre. The lack of communication systems, combined with the limited capacity of local security forces, meant that communities along this route received no advance warning that the LRA was approaching.
STATISTICS 74 HF radios in the Early Warning Network
78 Communities protected by HF radios or satellite phones
300,000+ People directly benefitting from the Early Warning Network
OUR RESPONSE In 2010, we began building the Early Warning Radio Network in order to help disrupt these patterns of violence. It’s composed of high-frequency (HF), two-way, long-range radios that give communities in DRC and CAR the ability to report violent activity to one another and to security actors and humanitarian organizations who can respond in times of need. We have partnered with local community organizations to utilize local expertise sustainably expand the HF network and integrate participation in the Network with Community Resilience Committees.
GRASSROOTS ADVOCACY Over the last decade, millions of Americans – and an increasing number of international advocates – raised their voices about the LRA crisis in central Africa and have called on their elected officials to play their part in enhancing the safety of affected communities. Because of the dedicated work of these activists, we’ve seen our leaders take a number of significant actions to help end the LRA crisis and support the recovery of affected communities. This includes the passage of two significant pieces of U.S. legislation — The LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act (2010), and the Rewards for Justice Expansion legislation (2013).
Bill number one: LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act The Act required President Obama to develop the first-ever official U.S. strategy to address LRA violence and support affected communities, which he released in November 2010. That strategy was a catalyst of the President’s decision in October 2011 to deploy 100 U.S. advisers to central Africa to assist the African Union- led mission focused on dismantling the LRA, protecting civilians from attacks, and apprehending top LRA leadership.
Bill number two: Rewards for Justice Expansion legislation More than 800 activists descended on Washington and participated in roughly 300 lobby meetings over the course of six hours. These activists called on their elected officials to support the passage of the Rewards for Justice expansion bill and to continue to support the efforts of the U.S. advisors in central Africa. Needless to say, Capitol Hill took notice, and the bill was passed on January 15, 2013.
Local lobby meetings facilitated since 2008
Bipartisan congressional cosponsors of the LRA Disarmament
Signatures on Kony 2012 pledges
TRAUMA HEALING As part of Invisible Children’s efforts to end violence against communities across central Africa, we actively encourage the peaceful defection and safe escape of LRA fighters and captives through ‘Come Home’ defection messaging. However, successfully leaving LRA captivity is just the first step in a long process of recovery and returnees often need individualized trauma healing and support while tracking down their families in order to successfully reintegrate into their home communities.
OUR RESPONSE In 2015, we partnered with the Inter-Church Commission, a community-based civil society organization in South Sudan, and psychosocial experts at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) to develop a trauma healing toolkit. Today, we provide this toolkit to communities across central Africa as part of Community Resilience Committee trainings and have adapted it to be played over FM radio throughout the region in order to reach even more people, including nomadic pastoralists and other marginalized populations. Built around customs of the local Zande people, this toolkit includes efforts in counseling, educational campaigns, and group meetings focused on traditional rituals that provide space for communities to address conflict and trauma together. The toolkit incorporates clinical expertise from HHI professionals into traditional practices, such as community mourning, so that violence-affected communities are able to access the support they need through familiar mechanisms.
Trauma Healing Workshops facilitated
Women and children supported at the Obo Transit Center
5 FM radio stations broadcasting trauma healing messaging
COMMUNITY RESILIENCE COMITIES
Active 2013-Present Many communities in eastern Central African Republic (CAR), northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan face the daily threat of violence and exploitation. Isolated and without basic protection, they are targeted by violent poachers and other armed groups who recognize and seek to exploit their vulnerability. The violence they face, related exploitation of wildlife and natural resources, and the ripple effects of insecurity (displacement, poverty, insecurity, etc.) leave individuals and whole communities struggling to overcome trauma, feelings of scarcity, and other stressors.
be equipped with basic resilience tools and information that allow them to safely and effectively respond to threats, protect the natural environment, resolve conflict, and prevent violence.
STATISTICS 41 Community Resilience Committees in CAR and DRC
Our Response Alongside local organizations, we equip central African communities most vulnerable to and affected by violence with these tools by helping establish and support Community Resilience Committees in tandem with our Early Warning Radio Network and Trauma Healing initiatives. For communities to have the opportunity to break free from cycles of violence, they must
people reached through mobile cinema
410 members of Community Resilience Committees
GET INVOLVED GET INVOLVED FUNDRAISING Your fundraising fuels the programs that are ending violence and exploitation. Your fundraising saves lives by enabling us to bring child soldiers home to their families, protect vulnerable communities and wildlife in central Africa, and help communities rebuild after decades of violence and neglect. We canâ€™t think of a better way to use your time and your talents.
ADVOCATE Weâ€™ve seen that when we raise our voices collectively and relentlessly for justice, we can change the course of history. Become part of the story and ask your leaders to take action to help vulnerable communities.
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