Social media is proving a worthy ally for agency Digitaria’s recent launch of LRA Crisis Tracker (seen above), a crisis-mapping platform for African radio stations and non-governmental organizations working to boost awareness about the bloody war waged in Uganda for more than two decades and systemically underreported in Western media.
A new piece of software based on Salesforce cloud technology enables the LRA Crisis Tracker to follow and chronicle atrocities in remote areas with sub-par communications infrastructure. The team created a custom CMS that delivers the data to the mapping system, and an app with English- and French-language data bundles launched last month.
The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is an ultra-violent Christian sect led by Joseph Kony, a self-appointed prophet who considers himself sent from God to replace the Ugandan government with a theocracy based on the Ten Commandments. The LRA is notorious for mass kidnappings of children press-ganged into military service -- since 1987, more than 30,000 children have been abducted and conscripted across the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.
Since Invisible Children and Resolve launched the map and mobile app, the number of LRA attacks reported publicly has increased by over 600%.
“We specialize in taking tons of different data and data sets and making it meaningful,” said Dan Khabie, CEO and founder of Digitaria. “We wanted to give people the ability to communicate about what’s going on in the Congo in real-time. The key is how to make technology relevant. In this case it was a combination of technology, data and experience coming together.”
State-of-the art digital mapping adds a layer of meta information in tracking LRA movement, a technique originally designed by Digitaria for National Geographic’s “Expedition: Mongolia” site, enabling “armchair archeologists” to help National Geographic locate the tomb of Ghengis Khan.
Gerard Butler’s film, “Machine Gun Preacher,” as seen below, is based on the true story of Sam Childers, the savior of hundreds of kidnapped and orphaned children in the middle of territory controlled by the LRA.
Kudos to Digitaria for its use of social media in helping fight a war that mainstream media has left raging.