DTJ and Invisible Children partnered together to provide an in-depth training to representatives from local organizations in Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan to work with local communities on community-based defection efforts. The program includes Community Defection Committees and Mobile Cinema screenings, which target preparing communities to receive LRA combatants when they do surrender. The training included five days of in-depth discussions in Kampala and a five-day field component in DRC where theory was put to practice.
Why is defection important? Encouraging and facilitating the peaceful surrender of LRA combatants is one of the most effective ways to reduce threats to communities in central Africa and weaken the LRA’s ability to effectively operate. Defection is a non-violent strategy to remove the LRA from the battlefield.
The main goals of entire Community Defection Committee (CDC) and Mobile Cinema (MC) strategy is to increase positive defections from the LRA and to protect communities who are still vulnerable to LRA attacks.
DTJ and IC developed a thorough manual which serves as a guide for local partners to facilitate their implementation of the Community Defection and Mobile Cinema program model and as a resource for the theory, methodology, activity and reporting expectations. The program was designed by DTJ based on field research and is outlined in the report “Come out and live among us” which will be released in early December.
Father Ernest, founder of SAIPED, comments on the training:
“I see three pillars that are good – 1 is to have a common regional understanding – that these three countries have a common understanding of what CDC and Mobile Cinema is – the 2nd – knowing each other – knowing the capacity of each other and learning from one another. The third pillar reiterates what Fr Mark said – connecting theory with practice – we were able to connect what we learned in Kampala to the realities on the ground. This is the first project linking these three together. Gaining from local experience and local understanding of the problem and empowering local people to solve their problems themselves. Based on this its a very powerful tool – and it goes with my own philosophy of thinking – it is the locals who know the problem better – working with them is the best solution.”
Photograph by Lindsay Branham of field-training component in Djabir, DRC.