If you are in anyway connected to the digital or print world, via social media, youtube, or the news, then you have heard of the viral sensation KONY 2012. Powered by Invisible Children, a non-profit organization that aims to bring awareness to the conflict in Central Africa. The organization’s main concentration has been to stop long-time rebel leader Joseph Kony. Since the 1980s, Kony been abducting children to make them into child soldiers and sex slaves.
In response, filmmaker Jason Russell alongside Invisible Children created a 30 minute viral video documenting the terror Kony has brought to the children of Uganda. Released on March 1, the video has now reached 71 million hits. In the video, Russell urges young people to spread the word by reaching out to celebrities and political figureheads, buying the $30 press kit, and spreading posters and stickers around their communities.
While the main message of the KONY 2012 campaign has been admired worldwide, there are critics of the Invisible Children campaign. Some feel that the campaign will only be a temporary fix, and that the main concentration should be in efforts to rebuild Uganda. Others are more critical of the organization Invisible Children, rather than the campaign. According to Charity Navigator, which rates charitable organizations on a variety of platforms, Invisible Children ranks 3 out of 4, scoring especially low in Accountability and Transparency, earning a 45. In comparison, the Red Cross earned a 70, while the American Heart Association earned a 59. As with any non-profit, critics are concerned with whether donations are being spent wisely by Invisible Children, or whether the organization is pocketing substantial amounts.
If you have yet to see the video, feel free to watch below. Do you think KONY 2012 has Uganda’s best interests at heart? Or do you think that the digital campaign is over-simplifying and abusing its power? Let us know!