There is a man by the name of Joseph Kony. He is the head of the Lord’s Resistance Army and he abducts children in Uganda, gives them guns, and turns them into soldiers. He forces the boys to kill their families and the girls to become sex slaves.
Over 60,000 children have been abducted and made into child soldiers in the past two decades. The other children in Uganda live in fear of being abducted by “the rebels”.
That is where the organization, Invisible Children, has stepped in. For years they have been campaigning and spreading the word about Kony to high school and college campuses, but their most recent campaign “Kony 2012” has gone viral, bringing the situation to the spotlight. Celebrities are spreading the word via Twitter and Facebook, which is exactly what they had hoped for. They want Kony to be a celebrity because, the more people that know about him, the easier they can find him. Last year, for the first time ever, 100 troops were sent to Central Africa and not for self defense, but because people demanded it.
On paper, all of this sounds amazing. Invisible Children has been a part of my life for a few years now. Five years ago I helped put on a benefit concert at a local coffee house with all of the money going to this organization. I was thrilled to see that the word was finally getting out, but then came the skeptics.
There was a blog written by a college student who has done a little bit of research and has caused people to fall off the bandwagon. It showed that Invisible Children’s efforts might not be as good as they seem. Last year they spent $8,676,614 and only 32% went to direct services and the rest going to staff salaries, travel and transport, and film production.
At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about this, but I’m sure the guys behind the organization have good intentions. They’ve spent so many years invested not to. I also realized that they aren’t really asking for our money (although they do want donations), but instead they just want our attention.
So, they’ve got my attention and I hope they’ll get yours too after watching the video.
The big lesson is how ill-informed Americans are. Africa has been in chaos for decades. Remember Somalia and the photo of the body of an American solider being dragged through the streets? Facebook is becoming the friend of those who have no friends.