I’ve seen a lot of people posting / forwarding / retweeting Invisible Children Inc.’s KONY 2012 video over the past day or so. It’s a horrible issue, and one well worth highlighting. Something needs to be done to stop it, and that will require money.
The problem is the Invisible Children Inc. are nowhere near the best people to give that money to. As a charity they have been criticised more than once for their lack of transparency over how much of the money they raise actually goes towards action for their cause. As a registered not-for-profit their financial information is publicly available, and makes for interesting reading.
The expenses listed on page 6 show that in the year to June 2011 Invisible Children spent $8,894,632; a not insignificant sum. However, only $2,810,681 (32%) of that amount went towards direct services (i.e. the cause). Which means that for that 12-month period they incurred expenses of $6,083,951 - 316% more than they spent helping the children of Uganda. In my opinion that’s pretty despicable.
And that’s not to mention the fact that they want to use whatever money that actually does make it way to Uganda to help fund the Ugandan army, who are very nearly as dangerous to the women and children of Uganda as Kony’s LRA are.
It’s not much of a solution, is it?
If you do feel moved enough by the video, and the plight of the Uganda children, that you want to do something, I would recommend you donate money to a more worthy charity such as water.org. Whilst they don’t get involved in the fight against Kony themselves, their efforts are focussed on actually improving quality of life in the area, which in the long run is a much better goal.
And as for Kony and the LVA? Supporting Uganda’s army is not the answer. As responsible nations it’s up to us to step in and do something. So write to your MP. Express your concerns, and state that as a responsible country, with a senior position in the UN, Britain should not let this happen. Tell them you want the UK government to back the US’s efforts to hunt down Kony. Either by providing our own military support, or pledging financial support to match that of the Obama administration. Make sure they bring it up in Parliament. And if they don’t, then write to them again. And again, and again.
Above all else, do your own research. Don’t just give your money to the people who have the most effective video. It might not be going where you think it will.