Crisis Mapping & Conflict Analysis
Many remember KONY 2012 as a YouTube video that went viral overnight, a 30-minute film about a conflict once labeled “the most neglected humanitarian crisis in the world” that exploded to over 100 million views in six days and continued on to become the most viral video of all time.
But the legacy of KONY 2012 is more than just an internet sensation. The culmination of eight years of dedicated, groundbreaking offline organizing and movement building, KONY 2012 went viral because of the millions of Invisible Children activists already committed to the cause and helping to spread the word. Together, we moved world leaders to take historic action to end the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) crisis and raised millions of dollars for on-the-ground programs that continue to save lives today. (Read more)
Since 2012, we have never wavered in our commitment to justice and peace for LRA-affected communities. In 2021 alone, we sheltered and reunited 92 children, women, and men with their families after they escaped from the LRA. At the same time, we are using the expertise and community trust we have built over the years to help local peacebuilders across central Africa address other threats of violence beyond the LRA.
Today, our programs support more than 165 communities across central Africa with emergency care and family reunification for LRA escapees, locally-led violence prevention and peacebuilding initiatives, community-based trauma healing, and in-depth conflict analysis and advocacy.
We created the KONY 2012 campaign after more than eight years of demanding justice for LRA-affected communities. In many ways, KONY 2012 was an experiment. Could a movement of dedicated high school and college activists equipped with an online video make an obscure war criminal famous? And if he were to become famous, would the world work together to stop him?
More than 100 million views in just six days, 3.7 million pledges from citizens around the globe calling for the arrest of Joseph Kony, and multiple new commitments from international world leaders to help end LRA violence made the answer very clear. KONY 2012 yielded the fastest growing viral video of all time and resulted in unprecedented international action to end Africa’s longest running conflict.
Thanks to the overwhelming response to the film and subsequent outcry both online and in the offices of lawmakers and leaders, we have made historic progress toward ending LRA violence, reducing other threats to the safety of Central African communities and addressing longstanding challenges to peace and security in the region, such as intercommunal tensions and wide-spread unaddressed trauma that increases the risk of violent conflict.
Invisible Children’s community-based early warning and early response programs equip vulnerable communities to receive advanced warning of nearby LRA activity and employ local solutions that mitigate LRA violence. In addition, defection efforts made possible through KONY 2012 advocacy have helped significantly reduce the number of LRA fighters committing attacks against civilians. Combined defection and early warning and response programs have contributed to a dramatic reduction in LRA violence, including a 92% drop in attacks from 2012 (259 attacks) to 2021 (20 attacks).
Although Joseph Kony remains at large, Central African communities are undeniably safer from LRA violence today than they were in 2012. Yet the work continues, as we come alongside and partner with local visionaries who are constantly innovating, pushing past boundaries, and leading the way toward a safer future for their communities.
Make Joseph Kony a household name, and get as many people as possible to pledge their support for efforts to stop LRA violence.
Bring awareness to Kony’s human rights abuses and bring him to justice.
Have leaders from across the globe renew their commitments to stopping Joseph Kony and his LRA.
Significantly expand programs that counteract LRA violence and protect communities in central Africa.
Millions of people learned about Joseph Kony and the LRA through KONY 2012, and rallied together to demand justice. The global outcry for justice through online and offline activism helped to secure tens of millions of dollars in U.S. humanitarian aid to LRA-affected communities and new commitments from international governments to help end LRA violence. Those efforts all played a role in weakening the LRA, likely saving thousands of lives.
On April 24, 2012, we achieved a key advocacy goal of the KONY 2012 campaign when President Barack Obama publicly committed to maintain the U.S. government’s support to the African Union mission to arrest Kony and dismantle the LRA (support which ultimately continued through June 2017). The political momentum generated by KONY 2012 also helped to secure $10 million of humanitarian assistance for LRA-affected communities in the U.S. government's Fiscal Year 2013 budget.
KONY 2012 thrust the LRA crisis further into the international spotlight and enabled incredible progress toward bringing it to an end. With that momentum, Invisible Children continues to expand our programs in central Africa to support community-led efforts to end violent conflict and make communities safer.
The KONY 2012 campaign generated a wave of generous support for our work. The net proceeds from the Kony 2012 campaign amounted to approximately $12.6 million. In the 16 months following Kony 2012, Invisible Children invested more than $13.7 million directly to its on-the-ground programs in central and East Africa. These funds went to the expansion of a community-run Early Warning System in LRA-affected areas of DRC and CAR, "Come Home" radio campaigns to encourage LRA fighters to peacefully surrender, the construction of a trauma healing and reintegration center for formerly-abducted children in DRC, and education scholarships for war-affected youth in northern Uganda.
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