CPWG + DTJ launches video series on child protection

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Over the last year DTJ has been working on an exciting educational media project that is now due to launch. For this film series, we partnered with the Global Child Protection Working Group, the global level forum for coordination and collaboration on child protection in humanitarian settings. The group brings together NGOs, UN agencies, academics and other partners under the shared objective of ensuring more predictable, accountable and effective child protection responses in emergencies. The CPWG is comprised of 14 core member organizations included UNICEF, UNHCR, Save the Children and War Child, and over 25 associate institutions.

So what did DTJ do?

DTJ was tasked with producing a series of educational films highlighting the Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action (CPMS), to be used to educate child protection workers around the word on how best to care for children in emergencies. We covered best practices for child survivors of sexual violence, children in armed conflict, unaccompanied and separated children, mental health and psychosocial support and children engaged in the worst forms of child labour.

In 2010, the members of the global Child Protection Working Group agreed on the need for child protection standards in humanitarian settings. The Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action (CPMS) were finalized in September 2012.  Over 400 individuals from 30 agencies in over 40 countries, including child protection practitioners, humanitarian actors from other sectors, academics and policy makers, were involved in their development.

The CPMS aim to:
-Establish common principles among those working in child protection
-Improve the quality of child protection programming.
-Improve accountability within child protection work
-Provide a synthesis of good practice and learning to date
-Enable better advocacy and communication on child protection risks, needs and responses.

This education film series is now being rolled out as a kind of mobile university to educate child protection workers on the front-lines, from places like Syria to Central African Republic, to ensure that children in emergencies receive the care they need.

We are absolutely thrilled to have been part of this project and to introduce yet another way to capitalize on the medium of film to translate to better care for children, in every corner of the world.

Below are a few stills from the series:

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They Came at Night wins film of the year!

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This weekend They Came at Night won the prestigious film of the year award at the New Hampshire Film Festival! Lindsay Branham, producer and creator of the film was at the festival to receive the award and share about how the film is being used in Mobile Cinema screenings on the ground in central Africa to help communities peacefully receive combatants from the Lord’s Resistance Army who escape. The war is closer to ending than ever before. Every surrender matters.

To date, They Came at Night has been in seven film festivals, awarded two best of fest awards and has been seen by over 140K+ online and over 30,000 people in Africa.

NHFF award

They Came at Night goes to the midwest!

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We are honored to announce that our short film, They Came at Night has been chosen as an Official Selection of the Heartland Film Festival. This is our midwest debut and we are thrilled to be part of such a great fest. Out of over 1,600 submissions, They Came at Night was chosen and we couldn’t be more excited.

Thank you Heartland! See you in Indiana! And follow the fest on Twitter @heartlandfilm and stay tuned for screening dates and times.


Lindsay Branham Wins Envision Social Good Fellowship!

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Last week Indie Wire covered our very own Lindsay Branham winning the first ever Envision Social Good Fellowship at the Made in NY Media Center from the Independent Film Project (IFP) and the United Nations Creative Outreach Initiative. ENVISION, a unique collaboration between IFP and the United Nations Creative Community Outreach Initiative (CCOI), annual gatherings have connected UN experts and NGO advocates with some of the most creative minds in filmmaking and new media. The ENVISION partnership offers filmmakers and social change activists opportunities to incubate creative ideas and productions that promote their causes and reach wider audiences. Fellows receive a six-month incubator residency with tailored mentoring and collaboration.

Lindsay Branham will use her fellowship at the Made in NY Media Center to create a Mobile Cinema film and intervention to address the current conflict between anti-Balaka and Seleka rebels in Central African Republic (CAR). The Fellowship will enable Discover the Journey to take our Mobile Cinema initiative to new heights with a greater online interface, data visualization and a physical installation mimicking the Mobile Cinema experience in Africa.

“We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect inaugural Envision Social Good Fellow at the Media Center,” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director of IFP and the Made in NY Media Center. “Lindsay Branham’s project exemplifies what the Fellowship was designed to support, a scalable project that has demonstrated it can create momentum for social change through storytelling. We look forward to connecting Lindsay with collaborators and support to bring her project to fruition.”

“I believe and have seen how storytelling can play a critical role in building peace, even amidst the gravest of circumstances – this is an exciting threshold and I can’t wait to push this concept further to affect people’s lives and challenge the traditions of cinema,” said Lindsay Branham.

The Creative Community Outreach Initiative (CCOI) is the first point of entry to the United Nations for the content creators and the international entertainment industry. We provide film, new media, television, and documentary professionals around the world with access to information about the work of the UN and its priority issues. More info at outreach.un.org/ccoi.

Prix d’Or!

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We are so excited to announce that They Came at Night won the Prix d’Or Best of Fest at the Lower East Side Film Festival this year in NYC! The award is given to the top film of the entire festival. We are honored and so thankful our film was chosen and its core message of forgiveness and reconciliation is resonating with audiences. We hope this means more people see it everywhere.

So if you haven’t yet, this would be a perfect time to go ahead and watch it here. Take pleasure in using starburst online spielen.

And to see how They Came at Night is being used in peace-building efforts in central Africa, read more here.

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(Behind the scenes of They Came at Night. August, 2013)

DTJ Research Published in Journal of Child Abuse & Neglect

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In 2012, DTJ piloted our first ever Mobile Cinema project in DRC in partnership with Paul O’Callaghan, a psychologist from Queens University, Belfast, with research supervision by Theresa Betancourt, the director of the Child Health and Human Rights, Department of Global Health and Population, at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Now, two years later, the results of our study are in print! The Journal of Child Abuse & Neglect International Journal has published our research entitled, A pilot study of a family focused, psychosocial intervention with war-exposed youth at risk of attack and abduction in north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.” The article is currently in print.

The intervention was based on research Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s Jocelyn Kelly and DTJ’s Lindsay Branham conducted on the impact of the Lord’s Resistance Army on formerly abducted children. Their findings were published in a joint released report, “We Suffer War and More War.”

Based on that research, Paul O’Callaghan, Lindsay Branham and Father Ernest of SAIPED in Dungu set out to design an intervention to reduce trauma and psychological distress amongst formerly abducted children who have been living in the middle of LRA violence. The study explored if trauma symptoms could be reduced through a resilience-focused intervention at the community level, using a variety of techniques including narrative film. This meant formal trauma therapy was not used, and formerly abducted children were treated right in their home communities, with their friends and families.


Major findings include a large reduction in internalizing symptoms. This means that children reported feeling less sad, less isolated, less prone to crying alone or attempting any kind of self harm.

“It was also one of the first interventions, to offer psychosocial support to youth living under a current fear of attack and abduction by a rebel group and as such represents an important contribution to the research base on conducting interventions in situations of on-going conflict. It is also the first study of its kind to use mobile cinema assessments to model problem solving and community acceptance and opens up an exciting new medium for future delivery of psychosocial interventions in resource-poor countries.” – O’Callaghan

Go ahead and read the full study here. And watch the Mobile Cinema films that were screened in communities in Congo here.

DTJ celebrates the promising findings in this study – proof that trauma and psychological distress are not permanent, that narrative film can assist the healing process and that there is a way to overcome war together, as a community.


TCAN Festival Update

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We are thrilled They Came at Night is an official selection of he Lower East Side Film Festival, a unique collection of films that plays in our home city.

They Came at Night is also a selection at the Palm Springs Short Fest Film Market. If you are in sunny Palm Springs this week, be sure to head over to the film market to view TCAN.

Thank you to all who have come out to see TCAN in the four festivals this Spring. We have been so impressed with the thoughtful questions and excitement around not just the film but how it is being used in Mobile Cinema screenings in central Africa. Click here to read more about Mobile Cinema.


Brooklyn Film Fest!

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They Came at Night is an official selection of the Brooklyn Film Festival this year and joins an impressive line up of films. They Came at Night is the latest DTJ film made in collaboration with Invisible Children about a child soldier in Joseph Kony’s LRA who risks everything to escape and come home.

So all New Yorkers, clear your calendars the first week of June to indulge in everything the Brooklyn Film Festival will bring. Stay tuned for screening dates and times. You actually should have a shot at an individual’s joy starburst online.

And more to come about how They Came at Night is impacting communities in central Africa through Mobile Cinema screenings and Community-Defection Committees.

Dual purpose film. It works.


A scene from They Came at Night.

The Anatomy of Forgiveness

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DTJ’s film, They Came at Night, recently screened in New York City at Nomadique’s “Anatomy of Forgiveness” art show April 24th. “The Anatomy of Forgiveness” was a one-night-only art exhibition which invited attendees to explore the many complexities of forgiveness through the eyes of over a dozen contributing artists. As viewers wandered the corridors of the Metropolitan Building, they encountered artworks that offered personal insight on the nature of forgiveness and engaged the viewer’s conceptions of reconciliation and responsibility. Are we obligated to forgive? What is the difference between forgiving and “moving on”? Why is self-forgiveness so difficult?

Together viewers explored these questions in an effort to chart a map for the diverse landscape that is forgiveness. Contributions included a live string quartet performance of a piece of sheet music written by a Holocaust survivor that had never been performed live, a photography series of the death penalty, a collection of sketches and designs exploring the Amish community’s response to the 2006 school shooting and more.

They Came at Night, which tells the story of an abducted child soldier who risks his life to flee from Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), found a welcoming and warm audience at the Nomadique art show, offering a nuanced contribution to the conversation. They Came at Night blends the theoretical with the imminent. They Came at Nightmade in collaboration with Invisible Children, is currently being toured in central Africa in Mobile Cinema film screenings to inspire community members to forgive perpetrators of violence. Using metaphor to create safe spaces, the film is part of a program that aims to educate and prepare community members for encountering rebel soldiers who escape.

Additionally, DTJ’s Program Director and Mobile Cinema creator, Lindsay Branham, authored an essay entitled “The Commodity of Forgiveness” that was printed in Nomadique’s first Zine, sold at the show.

DTJ wants to thank Nomadique for their thoughtful curation around the topic of forgiveness and graciously hosting a screening of our film.

– – –

Nomadique Collections is an art show series created to cultivate community, a community in which friends and artistic collaborators inspire and motivate each other by sharing their work in an unconventional and immersive gallery environment. The series aims to foster the connections that come from an exchange with an open and intentional audience.

Photos by Sasha Arutyunova

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Civil society asks MONUSCO to improve protection of civilians from the LRA

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Today we are highlighting an open letter we co-signed with 58 civil society groups and organizations from around the world to urge MONUSCO to improve their efforts to protect civilians from the Lord’s Resistance Army in central Africa, a letter spearheaded by The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative in tandem with Fr. Ernest Sugule, National Coordinator of SAIPED.

“While we recognize that MONUSCO has many competing demands across Congo and faces significant resource constraints, we believe that with focused leadership the mission could more effectively utilize existing resources to keep people safe from the LRA,” said Paul Ronan, Project Director of The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative.

In particular, the letter urges UN leaders to ensure MONUSCO personnel in LRA-affected areas do the following:

1. Reestablish trust and information sharing with the local civilian population, including ensuring MONUSCO personnel meet more frequently with a wide range of civil society representatives, including women, youth, elders, and religious leaders;

2. Support community self-protection initiatives, including by proactively sharing information about LRA movements with a wider range of civil society actors and by implementing Quick Impact Projects;

3. Ensure peacekeeper patrols are responsive to LRA threats and that MONUSCO personnel more thoroughly investigate LRA attacks;

4. Revitalize campaigns to encourage LRA defections, including by collaborating with civil society and the US government to quickly respond to indications from LRA members that they want to defect [which is too often not what happens].

Today we amplify the opinions and requests of the many civil society groups throughout NE DRC that DTJ has worked with in close proximity over the last few years. Their request to senior MONUSCO officials to do more to protect civilians demands a response. We are honored to be a signatory on this important letter. To read the full letter, click here.

– – –

Groups urge UN peacekeepers to protect civilians as LRA abductions surge in DRC

UN Security Council set to meet on DRC in March

KINSHASA, 13 March, 2014 – With Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) still a grave threat to civilians, a letter from 59 civil society groups released today calls on the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) to improve efforts to protect civilians from the rebel group. The LRA has abducted over 3,400 Congolese civilians and killed over 2,400 others since 2008, making it one of the most violent armed groups in DRC over the past six years.

“The LRA has killed Congolese civilians and abducted Congolese children for too long,” said Dr. Shelly Whitman, Executive Director of The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative. “MONUSCO can and must play a more active role in protecting civilians and ending LRA violence in DRC once and for all.”

In February 2014 alone the LRA abducted 35 people in 20 attacks in Haut Uele district of DRC’s Orientale Province, the most abductions the group has committed in one month there since April 2012. MONUSCO troops are deployed in villages close to areas where the LRA attacked but have been slow to respond. In recent years, Congolese community leaders and international NGOs have consistently raised concerns that MONUSCO does not respond effectively or quickly enough to reports of LRA attacks in Haut Uele.

“The LRA is once again attacking innocent civilians with impunity just kilometers away from UN peacekeepers,” said Fr. Ernest Sugule of the Congolese civil society group SAIPED. “MONUSCO should urgently respond with increased patrols in vulnerable areas and investigations to determine which LRA commanders are responsible for these attacks.”

The UN Security Council is set to review MONUSCO’s mandate this month, with the focus expected to be on stabilizing DRC’s troubled eastern region. In a letter addressed to MONUSCO’s senior leadership, the civil society groups urge the UN mission also to take proactive measures to protect civilians from the LRA.

“MONUSCO faces severe challenges in protecting civilians across a country as vast as DRC,” said Dr. Simon Adams, Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. “But MONUSCO can do more with the resources they have, and the UN Security Council should ensure they do so.”

The letter urges MONUSCO personnel to build better relationships with community leaders in LRA-affected areas of DRC, highlighting how improved information sharing can strengthen the mission’s efforts to protect civilians and encourage members of the LRA to defect.

“Congolese community leaders play essential roles managing early warning and protection systems and preventing local conflicts,” said Ned Dalby at Conciliation Resources. “To fulfill their mandate MONUSCO peacekeepers need to work alongside civil society.”

In 2013, the LRA committed at least 124 attacks and abducted nearly 200 civilians in the DRC. Over 236,000 Congolese civilians remain displaced by LRA attacks, including nearly 18,000 who fled to neighboring countries.

“We have waited patiently for MONUSCO to show us they are willing to respond to LRA attacks, only to be disappointed too often,” said Fr. Ernest. “It is time MONUSCO fulfills its responsibility to protect our people from the LRA.”


Press contacts

New York, NY: Lindsay Branham, Program Director, DTJ 202 368 2921 lindsay@DTJ.org


Signatory organizations and representatives


  1. Action Humanitaire Justice pour Victime
  2. Action pour le Développement et la Protection Communautaire (ADPC)
  3. Association de Taxi Moto Dungu (ATAMOD)
  4. Association des agriculteurs de Bangadi
  5. Association des Femmes des Nazawa pour le Développement (AFND)
  6. Associations des Mamans de Bangadi
  7. Associations des Mamans de Duru
  8. Association des Mamans de Ngilima
  9. Association Nationale des Mamans pour l’Aide aux Déshérités (ANAMAD)
  10. Carrefour juridique culturel
  11. Centre de Réinsertion et d’Accompagnement au Développement (CRAD)
  12. Coalition Congolaise pour la Justice Transitionnelle (CCJT)
  13. Coalition Nationale pour la CPI en RDC
  14. Collectif des Auxiliaires Libéraux de Justice
  15. Commission Autochtone de Lutte contre la LRA: CALL
  16. Commission Diocésaine de Justice et Paix du Dioèce d’Isiro Niangara
  17. Commission Diocésaine de Justice et Paix du Diocèse Dungu Doruma
  18. Commission Diocècaine de Justice, Paix et Réconciliation, Diocèce Anglicanne d’Aru
  19. Congo Action pour le Développement (CAD)
  20. Communauté pour la Promotion des Humains (CPH)
  21. Communicateurs pour la Promotion, Protection et Défense des Droits de L’homme plus la Ligue des Femmes Défenseures de droits Humains ont leurs sièges au Kasai Oriental (COPPRODDHO ONGDH )
  22. Congo en Images (CIM)
  23. Dynamique de Développement Durable (DDD)
  24. Fondation Congolaise pour la Promotion des Droits de l’Homme et la Paix
  25. Fondation point de vue des jeunes africains pour le développement (FPJAD asbl)
  26. Forum des Mamans de l’Ituri (FOMI)
  27. Groupe d’Associations de Défense des Droits de l’Homme et de la Paix (GADHOP)
  28. Groupe LOTUS
  29. Initiative Congolaise pour la Justice et la Paix (ICJP)
  30. Institut Supérieur de Dungu (ISD)
  31. JUSTICIA Asbl
  32. la Ligue des femmes défenseures des Droits Humains (LIFEDDH)
  33. Ligue des volontaires pour la défense des droits humains (LISVDHE)
  34. Ligue Nationale Pour Les Elections Libres et Transparentes (LINELIT)
  35. Ligue pour la Promotion et le Développement Intégral de la Femme et de l’Enfant
  36. Mama Tiya Molende (MTM)
  37. ONGDH Justice Plus
  38. Option pour Assister les Personnes Vulnérables (OAPV)
  39. Président de la société civile Bangadi
  40. Président de la société civile de Faradje
  41. Protection, Action pour le Développement Intégrale (PADI)
  42. Réseau des associations des droits de l’homme du Sud Kivu (RADHOSKI)
  43. Réseau des Organisations féminines des Uélés (ROFU) [15 organisations féminines]
  44. Rt. Rev. Samuel Enosa Peni, Bishop of the Diocese of Nzara, South Sudan and Chair for Regional Taskforce for Religious Leaders and Civil Society in the LRA-affected region
  45. Société Civile de Niangara
  46. Solidarité des Volontaires pour l’Humanité (SVH)
  47. Solidarité Féminine pour la Paix et le Développement Intégral (SOFEPADI)
  48. Solidarité et Assistance Intégrale aux Personnes Démunies (SAIPED)
  49. Terre des enfants
  50. Youth Program for the Development of Africa (YPDA)


  1. Conciliation Resources
  2. Discover the Journey
  3. The Enough Project
  4. European Network for Central Africa (EurAc)
  5. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  6. Jocelyn Kelly, Director, Women in War Program, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
  7. PAX
  8. The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative
  9. The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative