Who We Are
In 2004 and 2005 three of our co-founders traveled to Uganda as student researchers and witnessed firsthand the untold tragedy taking place in the country's northern region. Considered one of the world's worst neglected humanitarian crises, close to two million people were suffering brutal attacks by the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and struggling to survive in overcrowded displacement camps. To fuel their rebel insurgency, the LRA was abducting thousands of children to use as soldiers and sex slaves. Despite these realities, the scale and gravity of the crisis was being ignored by the rest of the world, allowing it to persist for over two decades.
As the three lived and studied in Uganda, their research gradually developed into the foundation for lasting personal commitments to pursue an end to the LRA's violence and the return of peace to northern Uganda. For Seattle-born activist Michael Poffenberger, this commitment formed after meeting a fourteen-year-old boy named Charles, who shared his story of abduction by the LRA and his forced participation in the Barlonyo Massacre. For Paul Ronan, an upstate New Yorker with a passion for land rights, it was the experience of interviewing displaced persons about the social and cultural impact of being forced into camps by the Ugandan government. And for Boston-born scholar Peter Quaranto, it was inspired by the perseverance and encouragement of a Ugandan peace mediator, who urged him to return and advocate for action to end the crisis.
Returning home, the three were joined by Alison Jones, a friend and peer who saw the potential for grassroots advocacy to drive the kind of change that would help make peace realizable. Together, the team moved to Washington, DC to form the first U.S.-based advocacy initiative solely seeking an end to this crisis.
Since its founding, The Resolve has sought to invite others to share the core of this same journey: to discover for themselves the injustice of a crisis unfolding without a response, and to help overcome it by strategically offering their voices in solidarity with those muted by war and marginalization.
This approach has been manifest in several different iterations. The organization first launched in 2005 as the Uganda Conflict Action Network, an online monitoring and analysis project sponsored by Washington-based charity Africa Faith and Justice Network. This initial effort aimed to directly educate policymakers about what was taking place, with the hope that increased awareness amongst political leaders would lead to the action necessary to end the crisis.
However, over time it became increasingly evident that providing information and recommendations alone would not suffice. With so many competing priorities and no organized mobilization of citizens, few elected leaders were motivated or felt they had a public mandate to help end a violent conflict affecting remote communities in Africa. In response to this realization, Resolve Uganda was established in 2006, to take the comprehensive knowledge base that had been developed and arm it with targeted nationwide awareness and advocacy campaigns.
With LRA attacks and related displacement migrating out of Uganda and creating a dispersed regional crisis in neighboring border regions of South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Central African Republic, the organization opted to become known simply as Resolve in 2010, and in 2013 became The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative.
What We Do
Ending the LRA's reign of terror and helping affected communities rebuild their lives will require strategic leadership from the United States. With a mission to advance this core ingredient of lasting peace, The Resolve is built on three core programmatic areas.
To develop timely analysis and policy recommendations, The Resolve conducts firsthand field research and publishes reports and briefings. A wide array of stakeholders, including community leaders in affected regions of central Africa, provide input into our analysis.
To ensure policymakers are kept informed of the situation and the measures needed to address it, The Resolve advocates directly with political leaders. The Resolve staff meet regularly with Members of Congress and Administration officials, coordinating their efforts with those of other human rights, humanitarian, and faith-based organizations who share our commitment to peace.
And most importantly, The Resolve facilitates nationwide campaigns to motivate political leaders to make ending the LRA crisis a genuine priority and to guide their efforts in policy making.
In short, The Resolve works with activists, policy experts, and civil society leaders to identify and build support for policy measures that can help end LRA atrocities and enable affected families and communities to survive and rebuild their lives.