Thursday, March 8, 2012

Why the Stop Kony Campaign Isn't Worth Your Money

If you don't live under a rock or at least are involved in any social media you may have seen an uproar about the acts of Joseph Kony in Uganda. BUT if you haven't I'll give you a brief summary:

A group called Invisible Children launched a (brilliant) PR campaign using YouTube videos to call for the capture of Joseph Kony a notorious international criminal that created a child army in Uganda in 2007. It was an atrocity using drugs to control an army of 30,000 children (over 30 years) to take over. Kony is the leader of a group in Uganda called the Lords Royal Army (LRA). 

First off I want to say that not all of that information is even present in the 30 minute YouTube video presentation made by Invisible Children. While I do thing the idea is in the right direction, bringing this criminal to justice, I think they are misleading innocent people and choosing to do it in a violent manner.

Here are a few of the main misconceptions cleared up:

This child army still exists- False, this was stopped about 6 years ago which is why the US isn't send military reinforcements to Uganda.

Joseph Koney is still in Uganda- False, he fled Uganda about 6 years ago and is currently believed to be in South Sudan hiding out.

The LRA is still an active group causing destruction- False, while there are still members of the LRA left they range in the hundreds not thousands.

Buying a KonyKit from Invisible Children will help bring him down- False, Kony has virtually already been brought down. Buying the kit for $30 is really a waste of money considering that Invisible Children seems to have a lot of invisible bank accounts that their money goes too. They only spend 30% of their funds on the cause and have horrific financial records.

Invisible Children is promoting peaceful efforts- False, Invisible Children is calling for providing the Ugandan military with weapons to capture Kony which can only lead to the death of many more innocent Ugandans and most likely not the capture of Kony. (See the film makers pictured above with weapons and the Ugandan militia.)

What disturbs me so greatly about all this is the focus on Kony's death and the call to violence (Twitter handles such as @KonyMustDie and comparisons of him to Adolf Hilter).

Can't we see that a call to arms never gets us anywhere? The focus should be on helping the survivors and victims left in Uganda rather than the prosecution of one man. He represents an idea and supporting violently finding him only SUPPORTS HIS IDEOLOGY.

From an economic and ethical standpoint we need to understand that Invisible Children is a bogus campaign. While awareness is great, large amounts of mislead people can be extremely harmful.

So I ask all of you to try and pursuade others to DO THEIR RESEARCH before they jump on the Stop Kony campaign bandwagon.

Thanks for listening to my rant. :) I plan to do a follow up post on better solutions.

Resources: Should I donate my money to Invisible Children?
                  Charity Navigator Rating
                  Obama Takes on the LRA
                  Visible Children


  1. It is so good that you do your research! I am always careful to who and what I donate my money too.

  2. We're on the same page, my blogging friend. While I think Invisible Children is great at creating awareness, things I've read about their finances cause me to question their real purpose. Great post!

    -Frances @ Keynotes

  3. I have seen people posting about this constantly and really its annoying. You watch a video and assume everything is accurate when in reality it's not. I am always extremely careful when I donate money and where it is donated to. As soon as I saw these videos I looked into it right away started to question what their purpose was. xo

  4. Wow! That was super informative! THanks for sharing. I still haven't watched the whole video yet, so I'm curious to see it now that I have your perspective on this!

  5. Love this, doing a KONY bracelet giveaway on my blog.


  6. I'm so glad that so many people are doing their own research on this! I just watched the video for the first time yesterday, and I have to say I am 100% behind spreading it and creating awareness about it. I posted the video on my FB and blog because I think so many people--like myself--never really knew much about this issue before, and it really still is a problem in areas near there. However, it is SO important to make sure you get all the facts! While I do support the spread of the video/knowledege, I don't support donating to the charity after reading poor reviews about the legitimacy of their finances. I think the best outcome would be that if people continue to talk, a better, more well-defined solution will be created.

  7. How did I miss this post before?! Like others have said, it's nice to see someone researching something instead of giving away money to an organization without doing a quick fact check.