October 05, 2017
News /
Posted by NCID

Navarra Center for International Development’s fellows Alex Armand and Joseph Gomes have been awarded a two-year grant from the Fundación Ramón Areces to fund the study Defection Messaging and Armed Group Behavior. 

This study will focus on how combatants can be convinced to leave guns aside and gain an effective return to the civil society. It will have two main objectives: to calculate the effectiveness of radio messages in increasing defections and to observe the impact that those messages on the general strategy of armed groups.

A focus on Joseph Kony’s LRA

FM radio messaging has been used to fight armed groups in remote areas, such as the LRA, due to its ability to reach distant locations and its cost-effectiveness. The investigators will analyze the success of programs targeted at armed groups, such as the radio program “Return Home”, initiated in northern Uganda around the year 2000. This specific program included interviews with combatants who had defected, personal messages from family and community members, news on the conflict and also logistic information on how to surrender without any risk. In the LRA context, radio was also used as a mean to convince insurgents about the credibility of the national amnesty law, which covered LRA combatants in Uganda.  

All in all, the study expects to show if defection messaging programs have been effective in fighting armed groups, and to what extent have they reduced violence.