Truth on KONY 2012 campaign source
Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Updated: Friday, August 10, 2012 15:08
Why you should hold on to your money before supporting the KONY 2012 campaign
If you have logged on to Facebook any time over the past week, chances are your newsfeed has been riddled with posts about “KONY 2012,” a campaign from Invisible Children Inc. set on capturing a warlord from Uganda named Joseph Kony.
The popularity began on March 5, when Invisible Children released a 30-minute documentary on YouTube about the campaign. As of March 13, the video has over 76 million views.
The overall goal of the campaign is to “make Kony famous” by having supporters share the video and purchase $30 action kits with posters, shirts and bracelets. The plan is for everyone to hang posters and wear the KONY 2012 gear on April 20.
The idea of the campaign is a good one. It has shown us that there are other things going on in the world. The problem is that this video—along with the organization that created it—is very misleading.
Invisible Children is one of the most controversial non-profit activist groups operating in Africa today. The organization has been accused of mishandling funds and misleading donors ever since its beginning.
Jason Russell, the founder of Invisible Children, made an appearance on the Today show several days ago and said that over 500,000 KONY 2012 action kits have been ordered. At $30 a piece, this means that the campaign has brought in a minimum of $15 million in revenue over the past week.
This is great news, however this money may not be going where people think it is.
According to Invisible Children’s director of ideology, Jedidiah Jenkins, 37 percent of funds go directly to central African-related programs, about 20 percent goes to salaries and overhead, and the remaining 43 percent goes to awareness programs like the KONY 2012 video, which is rumored to have cost around $1 million. This distribution of money earns Invisible Children a two-out-of-four rating from Charity Navigator.
So what does the money that actually goes to Africa fund? The answer is more fighting. Invisible Children supports direct military intervention not only from the Unites States, but also from one of the most corrupted and brutal militaries in the world—the Ugandan army.
The Ugandan army has violated human rights by means of rape, torture and genocide—just like the man that Invisible Children is trying to stop.
This brings us to the next problem—Kony may not even be alive right now. He was last seen starving to death in the Congo after trying to make a peace bargain in 2006.
To clarify, Joseph Kony has definitely done terrible things to the people of Uganda and deserves to be punished for what he has done, but there are much better causes to send money to other than to catch a man who has not been in power in seven years and may or may not already be dead.
The KONY 2012 campaign makes it very easy to believe that Joseph Kony still has a significant amount of power and that he must be stopped. The sad fact, however, is that going to Uganda today to try to overthrow Joseph Kony is like going to New York City today to clean up the rubble from Sept. 11, 2001. It was a terrible tragedy, but it is over and done with now.
While Invisible Children has done a great job with making the people of the world aware of foreign problems and issues, there are better organizations to send money to that will use it as aid for the country rather than to increase awareness.
Would you rather donate money to help the people of the world, or would you rather have your money fund a film that just tells people about it?