Everyone deserves a life free from violence. Guided by that belief, Invisible Children is charging forward like never before. Today, we are sharing our expanded mission to support freedom for even more families: At Invisible Children, we are dedicated to ending violence and exploitation facing our world’s most isolated and insecure communities.
Read the message below from our CEO, Lisa Dougan, to learn more about what this means.
A message from Invisible Children’s President and CEO, Lisa Dougan:
We founded Invisible Children in 2004 with a focused mission to end Africa’s longest running conflict, led by Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels. The goal was specific, but it always embodied a much larger universal idea: that our liberty is bound together.
We harnessed the power of storytelling, youth idealism, and human empathy, and moved world leaders to take historic action to end the LRA crisis. We partnered with dedicated local leaders across central Africa to develop innovative programs that empower communities to reduce violence, heal from trauma, and demand justice from their leaders. By uniting local and international experts, policymakers, and global activists, we helped reduce LRA killings by more than 90%, helped hundreds of child soldiers escape from captivity, and to this day, continue to protect thousands from violent attacks.
With all this progress came the “paradox of success.” By 2014, some international voices argued that it was time to move on to new emergencies. However, thousands of families remained displaced and traumatized, top LRA commanders remained at-large and able to rebuild their forces if given the chance, and other armed groups were increasingly exploiting communities for the same reasons that first attracted Kony to the region.
We asked ourselves: “If these central African families were our families, would we declare ‘mission accomplished’ and move on?” The answer was clear. Our work was not done. In many ways, it was just beginning.
We rolled up our sleeves, looked for creative solutions, and made tough decisions. As almost all of the other international NGOs in LRA-areas of central Africa closed their doors, we found a way to sustain virtually all of our programs in central Africa.
We emerged from that time with clearer vision and even more determination to stay the course. Most importantly, our relationships with community partners grew even stronger as they saw our commitment to stand with them.
Today, our work is not only going strong, it is expanding. As we continue to pursue an end to LRA violence, we are harnessing the unparalleled experience and expertise we have developed to ensure that even more of our world‘s most isolated and vulnerable communities can enjoy the freedom from violence and exploitation that they deserve.
Hand-in-hand with resilient central African community leaders, we are adapting our most effective programs to address threats and regions beyond the LRA crisis and we are stepping onto the front lines of addressing the link between human insecurity and wildlife exploitation, which has reached critical levels in central Africa in recent years.
After ten years working in one of the most challenging and insecure corners of the planet, our expertise is sharper, our relationships with communities are stronger, and our plans for the future are even more ambitious. Our evolution and growth is the truest way for us to honor LRA-affected communities, our own journey, and that founding belief that our liberty is bound together.
I am more convinced than ever that this team will stop at nothing, and that, with your support, we are unstoppable.
Until all are free,