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Response to Invisible Children Criticism
What is charity?
If your answer is “providing money to bring about good” that’s fine, but you have ruled out lots of groups that are saving lives and changing the world.
Since the launch of Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 film, there has been some criticism of the organization, which is probably to be expected of anyone who can share a message millions of times within a 24 hour period. Today, an article from The Daily What calls Invisible Children into question, essentially saying that they mis-manage donated funds and support the wrong people in Africa.
This brings me back to my original question, “what is charity.” If charity is wanting to see your money go directly to the field, then there are some great organizations like the World Food Programme where about 90% of donated funds go directly to providing food (last time I checked, don’t quote me on that number). However, the WFP has been around since 1963 and there are still about a BILLION hungry people in the world. Please hear me, I am not criticizing the WFP, they are a great organization and save countless lives. I am just saying, maybe it’s time for a new strategy.
Invisible Children was created about 9 years ago by three guys from the San Diego (one of which, I was fortunate to meet around that same time). They now have the influence to trend multiple topics on Twitter, gather huge crowds to demand action form the government in Washington D.C., and (oh yeah) they have successfully brought international attention to child soldiers who were unknown a few years ago. Joseph Kony, the man they set out to stop, is on the run and effectively unable to enslave children and terrorize villages at anywhere near the scale that existed 10 years ago.
How did Invisible Children do this? They traveled and made films. So why do we criticize an organization that has brought about huge, tangible change in the world for spending money on the methods by which they have accomplished this change.?
I acknowledge that there are decisions made by the organization that perhaps could have been better, but I cannot help but having a ton of respect for an organization that created millions of advocates for victims of injustice in the world in such a relatively short period of time. We must acknowledge that in order to bring about big change in the world, we may not be able to watch our money go directly to a starving child. In our media-driven culture, supporting organizations that also put their resources into avenues that will reach our world’s leaders just might be the new recipe for change.