The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

A response to critics of Invisible Children

After discovering not all schools in the state were asking their students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, the Pennsylvania state Senate unanimously passed legislation last week requiring all state private and public school students to recite the pledge or sing the national anthem every morning.

By now, one would be hard-pressed to find somebody who has not heard of KONY 2012.

However, the majority of the people discussing the issue, both for and against, know little about the history of the non-profit Invisible Children and their latest campaign,
KONY 2012.

The first thing I’d like to address is the breakdown of the finances of Invisible Children.

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These have received criticism because they spend 80 percent on programs, and of that, 37 percent goes to projects on the ground in central Africa.

That means 43 percent of their programming expenses go to advocacy and awareness programs which are an integral part of Invisible Children.

They show over 3,000 screenings of their films every year for free to get the word out about the conflict and raise funds.

A direct result of these advocacy and awareness campaigns was the mobilization of people across the U.S. to lobby their congressmen to pass the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009.

The bill passed with full bipartisan support, and $40 million was allocated in direct services to help areas affected by the LRA. If you do the math, it’s clear that funds are being handled in the best way possible.

Another criticism of Invisible Children is that their movement perpetuates the “white savior” complex.

For anyone to make these claims, they must be completely unaware of the history of Invisible Children and of the intricacies of their projects on the ground.

The projects include:

The High Frequency Early Warning Radio Network: Radio towers that remote communities use to warn each other of LRA attacks and broadcast messages asking soldiers to defect from the army.

The Rehabilitation Center: Holistic counseling services and life skills training for former child soldiers.

The Legacy Scholarship Program: Merit-based scholarships and mentoring.

The Schools for Schools Program: School renovations, teachers and curriculum.

The Livelihood Program: Comprehensive program that includes the Village Savings and Loans Association and Functional Adult Literacy Program.

All of these programs are made up of over 95 percent native Ugandans in all staffed positions, including leadership.

Invisible Children works closely with local partners and all programs are designed and implemented by Ugandan and Congolese people.

For anyone to say that Invisible Children is operating under the “white savior” complex is not only insulting, but also completely inaccurate.

I understand that people aren’t going to agree on everything, but what I don’t understand is why people criticize things they know little about.

I appreciate and support the fact that people are not blindly following a movement that appeared seemingly overnight, but what makes me extremely sad is to see people blindly follow cynical, uninformed bloggers.

If there’s one thing I know we can all agree on, it’s that the LRA conflict in central Africa must come to an end.

Never is it OK for children to be kidnapped from their homes, forced to kill their own family, and then forced to take up arms with a rebel army as a child soldier.

If we sit back and constantly criticize movements that are calling for change, then we are doing humanity an astronomical disservice.

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  • K

    Know HOWMar 15, 2012 at 3:16 am

    –Speaking of children, are you aware our Oprah approved ‘fave’
    Nelson Mandela was himself put in prison NOT for being a ‘calm–you–nist’
    –but becuase he was blowing up schoolbuses filled with kids?

    AS for ‘KONY”—-

    —KONY’s a phony funded, in part, by the ever sinister Globalism and EUGENICS
    ultra rich, TAX FREE psychopaths at the Rockefeller Foundation.

    And BTW—speaking of children and EUGENISTS –CHECK OUT the specs
    on capstone Princeton EUGENIST Dr Peter Singer and his latest open calls for
    classifying children up to the age of 3 as —‘disposable’.

    Compared to the goings of the world EUGENICS and USURY banking borg UN
    —KONY –is yesterday’s baloney!

    Remember kiddies —-siezure of resources, EUGENICS and scientific exterminism
    lie beneath all the tweets and twitters for ‘KONY’.

    • R

      Rufus AltericMar 16, 2012 at 6:24 am

      What… what am I reading?

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A response to critics of Invisible Children