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What changes happened to Invisible Children on Dec. 31 2014?
Why did Invisible Children make these changes?
What has happened to Invisible Children's Africa Programs?
What has happened to Invisible Children's community recovery programs in Uganda? (Schools for Schools, Legacy Scholarship Program, Livelihood, Mend, Functional Adult Literacy, Sanitation and Health Training, Rehabilitation)
What does this mean for the counter-LRA mission?
What does this mean for Invisible Children's advocacy work?
Is Invisible Children still a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization?
Where is Kony and will he ever be caught?
Could anything have been done to avoid shutting down the awareness and media programs?
Yes. We could have made the decision to prioritize the preservation of our San Diego office operations at the expense of our Africa programs and operations. But our mission has always been to end LRA violence. Therefore, we have and will continue to strive to operate in a way that best serves the communities affected by the LRA, prioritizing investments into the programs that most effectively bring us closer to that goal.
For example, after the significant increase in donations from our KONY 2012 campaign, we invested the majority of the funds raised (more than $12 million) immediately into our counter-LRA programs. We funded a significant expansion of our Early Warning Radio Network, which collects security reports on LRA activity and provides communities and regional security actors with lifesaving information. These reports are also used to inform targeted “come home” defection campaigns, civilian protection efforts, and emergency humanitarian assistance to communities following an LRA attack.
Therefore, holding true to our core mission, we chose to close most of our U.S. programs and use all of our remaining funds to ensure that the advocacy and civilian protection work that are most critical to the mission can continue on with a lasting, positive impact. We are proud of the choices we made to invest our resources in programs that have concrete and lifesaving results. We hope that our supporters are proud of these decisions too.
What will Invisible Children do with the money raised going forward?
All funds raised through Invisible Children from now until December 31, 2014 will be put directly towards the Finishing Fund, which we have established to fund key operations and programs in 2015. These funds will allow a small team of programs staff to accomplish two key objectives over the next year: 1) facilitate advocacy efforts to sustain the political will towards stopping the LRA, and 2) support the continuing operations and intentional handoff of Invisible Children’s programs to local organizations and partners who will carry these programs forward.
The Finishing Fund will support the three areas of our programs that are the most essential to sustain throughout 2015.
The Early Warning Radio Network (EWN) gives 85 vulnerable communities in DRC and CAR the ability to report and protect themselves from LRA security incidences. This system has become the central source of regional security in LRA affected areas and is the most important program in the counter-LRA effort to maintain. In 2015, Invisible Children will work to properly equip communities to take over the EWN and continue its operations for years to come.
The Finishing Fund will support initiatives like trainings for community members on reporting, maintenance, and operations, as well as repairs for strategically located HF radios in the EWN and the purchase and storage of equipment for local organizations to use for basic HF radio repairs in the future.
“COME HOME” PROGRAMS
More than 80% of LRA escapees have cited “come home” defection messaging as influential in their escape. Our programs weaken the fighting force from within by providing instructions and opportunities for LRA to surrender safely.
The Finishing Fund will support our team’s defection programs through efforts like the recording of “come home” messages from recent escapees and the distribution of those messages to LRA via FM and shortwave radios, defection fliers, and community-based defection committees.
International support and engagement in the counter-LRA mission is critical to ending LRA violence. The Finishing Fund will support the facilitation of a volunteer network of citizen activists to ensure that constituents who believe in ending LRA violence can continue to call upon relevant policymakers and practitioners to play their part.
What will happen to recurring donations?
Invisible Children’s recurring donors are more important than ever. These donors, as well as the Finishing Fund, are the backbone of our funding plan that will allow IC to execute our advocacy and protection program strategy in 2015. Invisible Children will continue processing recurring donations through the end of 2015 and all money raised will support the small programs team and core programs continuing on next year.
If you are currently a recurring donor, you should have received an email explaining what is happening with your monthly donation. If you would like to become a recurring donor, sign up here.
Can I see the organizations financial statements?
Do you think you achieved your mission?
We are immensely proud of what we’ve accomplished together, from our collective advocacy efforts that have helped galvanize unprecedented international cooperation to end LRA violence and track down Joseph Kony to our innovative defection programs that have helped dozens of men, women, and children peacefully and safely leave the battlefield. We are committed to see this conflict ended permanently, and we know that as long as any LRA captive is out there, it’s still not over. So, no, we don’t see this as a mission accomplished - and that’s why we’re making these tough decisions that will enable us to sustain our most critical programs to see this mission through to completion. Though most of us in San Diego won’t be working in a professional capacity to support our programs, that won’t stop us from continuing the fight personally.
While there is still work to be done, we don’t want to overshadow all that has been accomplished: LRA-related killings have decreased 92% over the last three years, 98% of Ugandans who were displaced from their homes in 2005 have been able to return home, and we have awarded over 6,000 scholarships to students in northern Uganda. Although Kony has managed to evade justice so far, his ability to commit mass atrocities has been severely diminished and the LRA’s impact on civilian populations, although still profound in some areas, has been majorly reduced.
What will the staff do next?
What do you think about claims that you encourage slacktivism?
Social media is a tool for creating conversations. If an awareness campaign is any good it does three things: 1) uses social media as a tool to create awareness 2) directs that awareness towards further, substantive action and 3) makes sure the action leads to real results.
Invisible Children has always created awareness campaigns that set out to capture the attention of the apathetic masses and inspire them to take action. We do this by telling powerful stories and creating simple entry points for participation. As supporters get involved with us, they are invited to dive deeper in their participation. We are committed to getting concrete, positive, lasting results for communities living with the reality of LRA violence. Any social media campaign we mobilize is thoughtfully crafted in the context of a broader strategy to achieve those results. The KONY 2012 campaign had the goal of making Kony’s crimes famous so that the international governments and institutions responsible for bringing him to justice would feel pressure from the global community to step up their efforts. Just one month after the campaign launched, President Obama publicly announced that he would continue the United States’ commitment to help regional governments end LRA violence (which was exactly what the KONY 2012 film called on the President to do). And just two months later, Invisible Children was able to deliver 3.7 million KONY 2012 pledges (clicks) to the United Nations, the African Union, and to the White House. Just days after that delivery, the United Nations and the African Union announced the first-ever comprehensive international strategy to end LRA violence and bring Joseph Kony to justice. Since the launch of that strategy in 2012, there has been a drastic reduction in LRA violence, hundreds of thousands of displaced people have returned home, and 1,338 LRA captives have escaped and been reunited with their families. Looking at these results alone, you can’t say that those online voices didn’t matter. They continue to matter. A modern activist knows this and harnesses it.
Why has Invisible Children simplified the LRA issue in some of your media?
How is Jason doing and how did his breakdown affect the organization?
In March of 2012, Jason took six months off of work to recover from his mental health breakdown and to be with his family. Upon returning to Invisible Children, Jason continued his role as the Chief Creative Officer. Jason’s breakdown was one of many factors that affected Invisible Children in the wake of the KONY 2012 campaign. The confusion of, “What actually happened?” and the unsubstantiated criticism from vocal critics on social media definitely gave some people an excuse to sit on the sidelines and not contribute to Invisible Children’s mission of ending Africa’s longest running conflict.
Jason is extremely proud of how far Invisible Children has come since he and his two co-founders got on a plane with a camera in 2003. Seeing millions of people’s lives improved in LRA affected communities in Africa, and millions of young people around the world awakened to the reality that they are more powerful than they think they are, has been one of the greatest honors of his life.
Why is Invisible Children's Charity Navigator ranking what it is?
Where do you get your statistics from?
How can I donate to Invisible Children?
Answer: You can make an online donation HERE. Alternatively, you can send a check P.O. Box 6869, San Diego, CA 92166.
When I donate, where does my money go?
Answer: Donations fund our critical advocacy work and life-saving programs in central Africa. Learn about them HERE.
What percentage of my donation goes towards programs?
Answer: We are committed to making supporter’s donations go as far as possible in supporting a permanent end to the LRA crisis. We've worked hard and thought very critically to ensure that all donations fund our most essential operations and critical programs. Find a detailed break down of how your money is used HERE.
How do I give monthly?
Answer: It’s quick and easy to sign up online HERE or give us a call on 619.562.2799 and we’ll help get you set up.
I’m a monthly donor, and some of my information has changed - how do I update it?
Answer: Give us a call on 619.562.2799, or send an email to [email protected] - we would love to get you updated.
Is my donation tax-deductible?
Answer: If you’re in the U.S., yes. You’ll get your tax receipt automatically emailed for online donations (so you might want to check we’ve got the correct email address for you). For offline donations, we’ll snail-mail your receipt. If you have any questions, or haven’t received a tax receipt and think you should have, email [email protected]. Sorry international supporters - we love you just as much, but you can’t claim back tax on your donations.
How can I help?
Answer: The sky’s the limit. We would love to have you help in any (or all) of the following ways - Tell everyone you know about this conflict and why you care about it. Get involved by: donating to our life-saving programs or joining Citizen to ask your leaders to take action.
Why do you only focus on the LRA conflict - aren’t there a lot of important issues you could be working on?
Answer: For many years, the LRA conflict was identified as the most forgotten and urgent humanitarian crises in the world. It was during that time that Invisible Children first got started -- because we became friends with those directly affected by LRA violence. It was impossible to know what was happening, and to do nothing. Now, 10 years later, we’re among those with the most knowledge of the LRA and its impact on communities, and we believe in finishing the work we started. We also would argue that you prove the universal through the specific - that is, if we can show that the world will not stand for Joseph Kony’s violence and impunity, then we prove that stopping those who commit mass atrocities and bringing them to justice is possible. It should be expected and it should be demanded.
Why do you invest in media?
Answer: Our movement started with a film, which our founders made in 2004 to tell the world about the unseen injustice of Kony’s violence they encountered. We believe that media is a powerful way to bring people into the story and engage them to take action that can advance justice and human rights. Plus, though its quality might fool you, it’s a way to spread the word without breaking the bank - check out our financials HERE.
Where do you work?
Answer: We work in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Central African Republic (CAR), South Sudan, and Uganda. We have regional offices in Kampala, Uganda, Obo, CAR, and Dungu, DRC, and we have community program partners in Western Equatoria, South Sudan.
What did KONY 2012 achieve?
Answer: In short, a lot. Find out more HERE.
Are you politically affiliated?
Answer: No, thanks for asking.
Why does Invisible Children work in Uganda - the conflict isn’t there anymore, right?
Answer: Correct - the LRA left Uganda in 2006. Northern Uganda experienced two decades of conflict, so our work there is related to post-conflict recovery. Learn more about our recovery work HERE.
Why hasn’t Kony been caught yet?
Answer: Million dollar question. He’s operating in some of the densest jungle and most remote regions in the world, where there is very little infrastructure, and where pursuit is extremely challenging. Regional governments lack the military capacity to track him down, and are additionally dealing with other rebel groups and instabilities. Kony has also been able to take advantage of ‘safe havens’, such as in Sudan, where the counter-LRA forces cannot pursue him.
Where is Kony right now?
Answer: It’s highly likely that he’s in Kafia Kingi, a Sudanese controlled ‘enclave’ bordering South Sudan and the Central African Republic. It’s a place where Kony has been able to return time and time again to take refuge, from which he’s been able to continue to direct his fighters to attack civilians in neighbouring countries, and an area where African Union-led forces (assisted by U.S. advisers) cannot go.
How did the LRA conflict start?
Answer: The LRA was an evolution of the ‘Holy Spirit Movement’, started in 1986 supposedly to free the northern Uganda from government oppression. Learn more about the history of the conflict HERE.
How many soldiers are currently in the LRA?
Answer: There are around 200 combatants, which doesn’t count women and children used as ‘wives’ and porters. This is the smallest the group has ever been, but they have a disproportionately large impact. Learn more about the LRA HERE.
Isn’t that a fairly low number - why don’t you just accept that as success?
Answer: While a 90% reduction in the size of the LRA over the last ten years is a huge achievement, Kony has shown that he is a master of regeneration. If we remove the pressure, it is likely that he will take the chance to regroup and grow his force back to it’s former strength. Plus, ending a war doesn’t mean ending 90% of it.
Where is the LRA active now?
Answer: The LRA is spread across an area approximately the the size of California, operating across the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and South Sudan.
What happens if Kony gets captured?
Answer: Kony has been indicted by the International Criminal Court, so if the counter-LRA efforts achieve their mission of Kony’s capture, he will be handed over to be tried at the hague.
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