Since it was posted on Monday, more than 40 million people have now watched that short film "Kony 2012" online. The video was created by the Organization Invisible Children to bring attention to atrocities committed in Central Africa over the past thirty years by a small army of religious zealots called the Lords Resistance Army. Invisible Children has raised millions of dollars using social media and film in the U.S. to support charities for schools and education.
Critics have been questioning the group's financing and overall message. Invisible Children later released the following statement, addressing those concerns:
This statement is our official response to some of these articles and is a source for accurate information about Invisible Children's mission, financials and approach to stopping LRA violence.
Invisible Children's mission is to stop LRA violence and support the war-affected communities in East and Central Africa. These are the three ways we achieve this mission; each is essential:
1). Make the world aware of the LRA. This includes making documentary films and touring them around the world so that they are seen for free by millions of people.
2). Channel energy from viewers of IC films into large-scale advocacy campaigns to stop the LRA and protect civilians.
3). Operate programs on the ground in LRA-affected areas that provide protection, rehabilitation and development assistance.
As you will see, we spend roughly one third of our money on each of these three goals. This three-prong approach is what makes Invisible Children unique. Some organizations focus exclusively on documenting human rights abuses, some focus exclusively on international advocacy or awareness, and some focus exclusively on on-the-ground development. We do all three. At the same time. This comprehensive model is intentional and has proven to be very effective.
We are committed, and always have been, to be 100% financially transparent and to communicate in plain language the mission of the organization so that everyone can make an informed decision about whether they want to support our strategy.
You can read their full statement right here.