Top Stories of 2012, part III: Winning funds to help communities protect themselves
This is the third of three top stories we’re sharing from 2012. They were chosen by our team as demonstrations of our impact and shared as a token of our thanks. You can find the first post here and the second post here.
On December 14, 2009, a band of just a few dozen LRA fighters entered a small village in the Makombo area of Democratic Republic of Congo. They proceeded from house to house, killing or abducting anyone they encountered. Over the next four days, they repeated this tactic in at least nine additional villages, killing 321 people and abducting more than 250.
The Congolese government failed to protect their people from these attacks, which came to be known as the “Makombo Massacres.” But the reality is that the government doesn’t have the troops or capabilities needed to always do so, especially in the remote areas where the LRA operates. So what else could have saved those 321 people?
As it turns out, there is a simple solution, and The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative has been working to see it implemented. If the communities attacked could have communicated with each other, they could have been provided advance warning of the LRA’s presence in the area and taken measures to escape the attacks.
My teammate Paul first identified the need to expand early warning communications networks in his 2010 report, “From Promise to Peace.” After two years of sustained lobbying, the US Congress allocated $10 million for this purpose in the 2012 budget. Then, in October of this year, the US announced the launch of a new project to develop mobile phone and radio communications systems in LRA-affected areas, using the funds allocated by Congress.
With advance warning, many of the 321 people killed in the “Makombo Massacres” could have been saved. And this new program, made possible by The Resolve’s work, could prevent it from happening again.
We are committed to keep going until Kony’s forces no longer threaten people in central Africa. This week, we’re looking for just 20 people to sign up as The Resolve Cosponsors, committing as little as $20/month to protect our mission.
Today is the final day of the pledge drive. Click here to help us out by becoming one of those 20 people today!
*photo credit: Invisible Children