Documenting health needs in African communities destabilized by militia violence

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The militant group the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has waged a 25-year campaign of fear in Uganda which has since spread to neighboring Sudan, Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), killing and mutilating tens of thousands of people, looting communities, and abducting children for forced conscription. Last fall, U.S. President Barack Obama shone an international spotlight on the group’s horrific practices when he announced that he was sending 100 U.S. troops to advise countries battling the LRA and hunting for the its fugitive leader Joseph Kony.

The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) is working to document the destabilizing effect that the LRA has had on the region. Jocelyn Kelly, MS ’08, director of HHI’s Women in War program, traveled to northern DRC in January with documentarian Lindsay Branham, program director for Discover the Journey (DTJ), a co-collaborator on the project. They conducted an assessment of the needs of communities as they recover from violence and also struggle to reintegrate children who escaped from the LRA. A report detailing their findings will be released in March.