The more I learn about the organization Invisible Children, the less I like them. I’ve known good NGOs who are on the ground and involved with communities in underserved areas – they are able to listen and react to the needs of the population rather than simply helicoptering in and ‘fixing’ whatever problem they (the NGO) thinks is worthy of their attention. There’s no quicker way to breed resentment than to walk into someone’s house and tell them how to fix their problems.
Unless of course you go into their house and just use them for a photo op:
Yeah… we probably could have called that.
The problem with the Invisible Children group is that they don’t seem to be all that interested in Uganda – they seem to be interested in Joseph Kony and in being responsible for killing him. The people who are actual victims of the Lord’s Resistance Army don’t seem to share IC’s zeal for single-minded justice at the expense of recognizing the plight of the victims.
Furthermore, it seems as though Invisible Children is in bed with some truly nasty people themselves:
Over at Alternet, Bruce Wilson digs in to the sources of funding for the group behind “Kony 2012,” and discovers 990 IRS tax forms and yearly financial disclosure reports from the nonprofit and its major donors “tell a story that’s jarringly at odds with the secular, airbrushed, feelgood image” it has cultivated.
The documents show that Invisible Children, Inc. received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the biggest financial backers of California’s anti-same-sex marriage Proposition 8, with links to James Dobson, The Family (see Jeff Sharlet’s excellent book on the subject), and ideologically similar Christian Right entities.
For those of you who’ve been paying attention, these are also the same people who are partially responsible for the internationally-reviled “Kill the Gays” Bill in Uganda. Far from being a benign, starry-eyed bunch of kids who made a ‘whoopsie’, this campaign has taken on a decidedly sinister turn. Now, it’s entirely possible that since IC and The Family (a Christian Right political group) are both “interested” in Uganda, the Family kicked them a few sheckels. I’d be surprised if that was the whole of it, but we don’t really know enough to do more than speculate. What we do know is that that flashy video of theirs cost in excess of $1 million to produce.
If you’d like to get a more informed perspective on what’s going on in Uganda, I suggest you read this article, which provides the impressions of 5 women who are, perhaps, a bit more knowledgable about the region.
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