The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is an armed group that has committed human rights atrocities against communities in Central Africa for almost 30 years. Joseph Kony formed the LRA in 1986 as a Ugandan political rebellion, but the group soon began to carry out massacres, sexual-based violence, mutilations, pillage, and abductions. Kony also gained notoriety for his use of child soldiers and slaves. In 2006, the LRA was pushed out of Uganda, but scattered groups continue to operate in the ungoverned border regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic (CAR), and the Sudans.

To help protect people from LRA atrocities, USAID invests significant resources in CAR, the DRC, and Uganda. USAID’s programs directly support the U.S. Government’s strategy to mitigate and eliminate the threat to civilians posed by the LRA. 


USAID has supported LRA-affected communities since the 1980s and scaled up its activities in 2010 after President Obama signed the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act. With this law, the U.S. Government began a comprehensive inter-agency effort to provide development, humanitarian, diplomatic, and military support to regional partners seeking to end the threat posed by the LRA. Since 2010, the LRA has committed fewer large-scale atrocities, but continues to commit violent acts against local communities on a regular basis. 

In recent years, LRA attacks have targeted isolated communities in remote areas of southeast CAR and northeast DRC. USAID’s Secure, Empowered, Connected Communities activity, implemented by Catholic Relief Services, strengthens the ability of these communities to anticipate and respond to threats. Through the program’s early warning system, for example, communities use high frequency radios and other technologies to report LRA activities and exchange critical information enabling them to reduce their exposure to attack. The program also empowers communities to organize their own protection plans and to provide trauma-healing support for survivors of LRA attacks.

In Northern Uganda, many communities continue to struggle with the impacts of past LRA attacks. The USAID Supporting Access to Justice, Fostering Equity and Peace program, implemented by the National Center for State Courts, strengthens local capacity to mitigate land conflicts and build peace in LRA affected areas. As ex-LRA captives seek to reintegrate into host communities, program partners also provide psycho-social and livelihoods support.

Due to the immediate needs of communities affected by LRA violence and displacement, USAID also supports humanitarian assistance programs that address acute needs and promote early recovery in the aftermath of attacks.  USAID provides health services, protection, logistics and relief commodities, humanitarian coordination, and small-scale livelihood and food security activities. This helps families to restart their livelihoods and deters voluntary LRA recruitment by providing viable economic alternatives. Additionally, USAID contributes food vouchers and cash assistance to the World Food Program to assist persons displaced by the LRA in eastern DRC and CAR, while supporting UNICEF’s efforts in eastern DRC to mitigate and respond to violence against children.

USAID is currently assessing its programs and will develop new awards to further strengthen protections for LRA-affected communities, building upon lessons learned from years of C-LRA programming experience. USAID programs will address emerging issues such as: the challenges faced by women and children who escape from LRA captivity and face stigmatization as they seek to reintegrate into their former homes; the role of ivory trafficking in financing the LRA’s activities; and the increased presence of the LRA in the Sudans.


  • Formed 29 Community Protection Committees in communities in CAR and 36 in DRC, all of which have developed community protection plans.
  • Operate high-frequency radios in 34 communities in CAR and 24 communities in DRC using solar panels to expand information dissemination on LRA attacks and improve connectivity between villages and communities.
  • Facilitated broadcast peace and reconciliation messaging through 3 FM radio stations in CAR. The information sensitizes community members on important issues for conflict mitigation such as women’s empowerment and gender-based violence, reintegration of LRA survivors, and encouragement of LRA defections.
  • Held more than 10 trauma healing workshops in CAR and 6 in DRC.
  • Trained more than 200 conflict monitors in 20 districts in Northern Uganda.


Secure, Empowered, Connected Communities (SECC)

Catholic Relief Services


Supporting Access to Justice, Fostering Equity and Peace (SAFE)

National Center for State Courts