Non-profit organization working to bring a permanent end to the violence of Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Central and East Africa will launch Finishing Fund to underwrite protection programs, and Citizen Volunteer Network to continue activism efforts before closing the doors on US headquarters

SAN DIEGO – (December 11, 2013) – Invisible Children, the nonprofit working to bring a permanent end to the violence of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the creators of the KONY 2012 viral video, today announced that it will significantly downsize the majority of its US operations later this month. The closure of the San Diego-based headquarters will mean an end to some US-based awareness programs, while the most vital field operations will be transferred to trusted Africa-based partners over a one-year transition period. A small team of key Invisible Children staff members will remain in their roles to manage the programs slated for continuation.

Invisible Children has focused on the LRA conflict over the past decade through a comprehensive approach that addresses the conflict’s immediate and long-term needs  through a four-part program model comprised of media, mobilization, protection and recovery programs. There remain  key areas of operations that are vital to the safety of the communities in central Africa that Invisible Children serves, so the organization is announcing the Finishing Fund, which is its final fundraising campaign, running through December 31, 2014, to support its Early Warning Radio Network, “Come Home” messaging and community-based defection programs, and political advocacy initiatives.

“In 2003, we committed ourselves to the rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of the women and children held in captivity by Joseph Kony and the LRA, which at the time was recognized by the UN as the biggest, most forgotten, neglected humanitarian emergency in the world,” says Ben Keesey, CEO of Invisible Children. “We have always allocated our financial resources to the programs with the greatest potential to help LRA affected communities achieve lasting peace and recovery, which is what we are continuing to do now with the strategic downsizing of our US operations.”

In addition to the Finishing Fund, Invisible Children is also announcing the Citizen Advocacy Network, which is a community of highly engaged volunteer activists who will remain committed to sustaining US and international investments toward ending LRA violence, bringing Joseph Kony to justice, and supporting the lasting recovery of affected communities. To find out more or to join the Citizen Network, visit

Invisible Children has seen incredible strides toward the achievement of its mission — a permanent end to LRA violence. Nearly ten years ago, the International Criminal Court announced Joseph Kony as its very first indicted criminal for war crimes and crimes against humanity. While Kony is still being pursued by regional security forces, the unprecedented political momentum galvanized by Invisible Children dedicated activists has helped secure and maintain an international coalition, working toward ending the LRA’s violence and bringing Kony to justice. As a result of these collective efforts, three of the five ICC-indicted senior LRA commanders have been removed from the battlefield in the last three years, and LRA-affected communities in central and East Africa have experienced a significant improvement in safety and livelihood, as evidenced by:

–A 92% reduction in LRA killings since 2011. The attention created by the KONY 2012 campaign helped secure and maintain commitments from the African Union, regional governments, the United States, the United Nations, and the European Union toward ending the LRA crisis, which has largely put the LRA on the run and dramatically limited the group’s ability to commit mass killings and abductions.

–2,624 men, women and children captives returned home since 2010.

–240 long-term LRA combatants returned since January 2012 (US Army). Defections are classified as the intentional escape of long-term combatants from the LRA. This means that these defectors were males of fighting age that were in captivity for 6 months or longer.

–A reduction in the LRA’s core fighting force by 75% over last six years.

–85 communities protected and 311,175 people directly benefiting from the Early Warning Network maintained by Invisible Children together with community partners in DRC and CAR.

–1.8 Million people returned home from displacement since 2005.

–Three out of the five ICC-indicted senior LRA commanders have been removed from the battlefield since 2012.

–6,317 education scholarships awarded by Invisible Children to Ugandan secondary students.

“After ten years and millions of dollars investing in best-in-class programs in the LRA-affected regions, we want to make sure that the footprint we are leaving in the region is one that sets up local communities for success,” said Jason Russell, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Invisible Children. “It is incredibly important that we do not scale down these programs prematurely and irresponsibly, so we are committed to ensuring that we transition funding and operations from these areas responsibly, strategically, and with integrity.”

Invisible Children’s youth-based grassroots political advocacy efforts, which the organization plans to continue through next year, have received notable attention from policymakers in Washington.

Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said of Invisible Children’s work, “By creating ground-breaking awareness campaigns, Invisible Children successfully got millions of Americans – including our nation’s policy leaders – concerned and engaged about Joseph Kony and his brutal Lord’s Resistance Army. Invisible Children had a hard choice to make and I commend them for making the right one – choosing to continue their life-saving operations in Central Africa. I am eager to see the next chapter of the organization.”

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), also added, “I am proud to have worked alongside Invisible Children and its passionate grassroots network over the past several years.  They have raised awareness in Congress and around the world about the horrifying violence perpetrated by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army against innocent civilians, especially children.  They have helped create new law and policies to counter LRA violence.  They work with many partners in central Africa to protect civilians from LRA violence and to help those abducted by the LRA to defect, heal their physical and psychic wounds, reintegrate back into civilian life and become agents for change.  They have truly made a difference, and I look forward to continuing to  work with them as they make this transition over the next two years.”

Everything raised through December 31, 2014 will go toward the Finishing Fund, which will ensure a responsible transfer of program ownership into the hands of local partners. To donate, visit:

About Invisible Children

Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have been abducting, killing, and displacing civilians in East and central Africa since 1987. Invisible Children exists to bring a permanent end to LRA conflict through an integrated four-part model of media, mobilization, protection and recovery that addresses the problem in its entirety, including both immediate security needs and long-term recovery. Invisible Children also owns and operates the Fourth Estate, which exists to empower, educate and equip activists and educators to be active, creative and thoughtful participants in helping international justice become a reality. For more information, visit


Media Contact:

Danielle Gano

[email protected]