Go Deeper

Here are some answers to additional questions that might be on your mind:

  1. If I’ve never lobbied my member of Congress before, should I still sign up?

    Absolutely. You don’t have to be an expert. What matters most is that you are committed to seeing LRA violence ended. The most important thing you can share with your member of Congress is your own story of why you care so much.

    We have a team of people at our Invisible Children office who are ready to help you prepare and we’ll send you all the resources you need to lobby like a pro. You can also connect with others who are lobbying this spring (and who have lobbied before) in the Citizen Facebook Group. Bottom line: you can do this and we’re here to support you!

  2. If my member of Congress isn’t a key player, how can I help?

    If your members of Congress aren’t key players, you still give their offices a call and ask that they stay committed to seeing an end to LRA violence. Take a minute to let their office know why you care so much about this issue and what you’re doing in your local community to address this injustice. Get your friends and family to call you! Click here to find out who your representatives are and to get their contact information.

    Also, you can always fundraise for Invisible Children’s Protection programs in central Africa that are saving lives in communities targeted by the LRA. Get more details.

  3. Will my phone calls and lobby meetings really make a difference?

    Absolutely. Our leaders are elected to represent our values and interests, and it’s only when we speak up that they act. Invisible Children’s experience has shown time and again that this is true. For instance, lobbying by Invisible Children supporters — phone calls, letters, and lobby meetings — is what secured passage of the historic LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act in 2010, and made it the most widely supported Africa-focused legislation in US history.

  4. Can you tell me more about the $10 million dollars in foreign aid we are lobbying for?

    We’re urging members of the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, which sets the US foreign aid budget, to include $10 million in next year’s budget to support life-saving programs in areas affected by LRA violence.

    • How would this $10 million be be used?

      This money would support programs that help protect families vulnerable to LRA attacks and provide for the basic needs of those who have been displaced by the violence. Programs that could benefit from this funding include rehabilitation programs for children who escape LRA captivity, radio and mobile phone towers to help remote communities being targeted by the LRA communicate with each other and the outside world, and construction of roads and airstrips to help humanitarian relief efforts reach communities in need.

    • Would any of this money go to Invisible Children’s programs in central Africa?

      This money will be channeled by the US State Department to organizations like Invisible Children who implement the programs on the ground. However, Invisible Children programs are funded 100% by our amazing supporters, not our government. We will partner with the organizations that receive these funds but will not receive them ourselves.

    • There is a lot of debate about our national debt right now. Will lobbying for this funding increase the debt?

      No. We are just asking that a small sliver of our country’s existing foreign aid budget — which already comprises just 1% of our government’s total spending — be allocated to help communities affected by the LRA. What we’re asking for doesn’t increase the overall foreign aid budget in any way.

  5. Can you tell me more about the defense funding we are lobbying for?

    We’re urging members of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, which decides the US defense budget, to include funds in next year’s budget to help locate and arrest Joseph Kony, protect civilians, and encourage LRA fighters to surrender.

    • How will this defense money be used?

      This funding could go toward intelligence-gathering equipment to help locate Kony and other top commanders and helicopters to help the US advisors and regional forces move more quickly to protect civilians and track down LRA leaders.

    • Will defense money go directly to the Ugandan government or military?

      With only a few small exceptions for things like communications equipment, the funds we advocate for will not go to the Ugandan government or military. The majority of the funds enable our government to hire contractors, who fly the helicopters that supply regional forces and who operate the tools used to monitor movements and locations of Kony’s forces.

    • There is a lot of tension around our national debt right now. Will lobbying for this funding increase the debt?

      No. We are just asking that a small portion of our country’s existing defense budget be allocated to help communities affected by the LRA. What we’re asking for doesn’t increase the overall defense budget in any way.

  6. Can you tell me more about the US advisor mission in central Africa?

    President Obama deployed approximately 100 US military advisors to LRA-affected areas of central Africa in October 2011. They are now helping central African governments to track down LRA leaders and improve efforts to protect civilians. This spring, the President will be deciding whether or not to pull the advisors out of central Africa. That’s why we’re urging members of Congress on the the Armed Services Committee and the African Affairs subcommittee to help make sure that the President gives the US advisors in central Africa the time they need to accomplish their mission.

    • What impact are the US advisors having in central Africa?

      US advisors have been helping their African partners to gather information about where LRA leaders are operating, providing tactical advice on how to improve efforts to protect civilians, and expanding programs to encourage LRA members to escape and surrender from the group. Since they were deployed, there has been a surge of new defections from the LRA and two of the LRA’s top 10 commanders have been captured or killed.

    • Why would the President decide to pull the advisors out of central Africa?

      The President could decide to end the advisor mission if it does not have enough support from Congress or the American public. There are competing priorities for limited resources, so it is crucial that we show how important it is that our country help stop one of our world’s worst war criminals.

    • What would be the consequences of pulling the advisors out of central Africa before LRA violence has ended?

      Without a feasible alternative, the withdrawal of US support for regional efforts to stop LRA attacks would be a devastating setback. International partners — including the United Nations, African Union, and LRA-affected governments — would also likely pull back their own efforts if the US does so first. Communities in LRA-affected areas would be left vulnerable to further attacks with little hope for seeing the crisis ended.