Looking closer at KONY 2012

Research | March 8, 2012

A link to the KONY 2012 video has been flooding my Facebook newsfeed in the last 24 hours. So while the video was a whopping 30 minutes, I watched it. It’s very compelling, so the time was well spent.

Essentially, the video is a rally cry to put pressure on the American government to help find and arrest Joseph Kony, an African rebel leader who abducts youth and turns them into soldiers.

It’s powerful stuff, and the video does a great job inspiring people to get involved. At the end, it suggest three things to do: Sign a pledge to support the video makers’ charity, buy their “action kit,” and/or sign up to regularly donate to their charity.

The charity is Invisible Children, but they refer to TRI in the video. TRI is the specific campaign IC is raising money for now, so that’s where any money raised will go.

It’s understandable why anyone would immediately want to get involved and give after watching the video. I’m not saying don’t give – just look a bit deeper first and figure out what the best way is.

Vice posted a blog questioning Invisible Children, including their financials. The Washington Post looks into the campaign as well.

If you decide to support the campaign, you can give here. They’re not a registered charity in Canada, so you can’t give to them through Chimp (right now).

But you can search for other charities doing similar work with child soldiers (War Child is one example, Hope for the Nations is another) through Chimp. Look at their programs and financials and choose one to support.

If the video really inspired you but you don’t have time to the do the footwork now, then just add some money to your Chimp Fund and figure out where to give later. It’ll give you time to consider the wider problem, which will take far more than the TRI campaign to solve. Maybe child soldiers are a cause you take to heart and want to commit to charitably for a few years. If that’s the case, it’s worth finding a charity that’s doing good, long-term work with them. (Near the end of this Justice in Conflict blog post, the writer gives more background to the problem.)

If you want to take a different kind of action, write Stephen Harper; his face came up as one of the 20 policy makers in the video who can affect change.

When digging deeper, don’t be discouraged or lose your inspiration for action. Learning more can sometimes leave you feeling overwhelmed by the vastness of the issue. Instead, it should empower you and help you make giving choices that have more impact and meaning.



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