Invisible Children’s grassroots efforts to end the terror of Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army have led to an unlikely but effective coalition of governments, armies, nonprofits and philanthropists.
Much has happened since Aid for Africa member Invisible Children released its video Kony 2012 in March 2012. What was not known at the time was that much was already happening to capture Kony. Now we have learned that these efforts, which included collaboration among armies, diplomats, nonprofits and private philanthropists, have led to the near collapse of Kony’s army and a precipitous drop in kidnapping and death in central Africa.
Recent articles in The Washington Post and The New Yorker provide in-depth accounts of how a unique alliance behind these efforts has virtually shut down the LRA’s activities. They include Invisible Children’s approach and strategies, as well as its supporters, who have been an ongoing presence in Washington rallying for Congressional support of the effort; the armies of Uganda, South Sudan and Congo, which have come together to hunt for Kony under a regional task force led by the African Union; US Special Operations troops who work side-by-side with African soldiers; and American philanthropists Howard G. Buffett and Bridgeway Foundation’s Shannon Sedgwick Davis, who have provided funding for military training, a helicopter and tracking by a team of Belgium Malinois dogs.
In The New Yorker, Elizabeth Rubin sums it up: “Without all these actors working in tandem—without the defection programs inside Congo and the Central African Republic run by the Ugandans and Invisible Children, and without the youth support of the grassroots campaign conducted by Invisible Children and Resolve—it is unlikely that Congress would have passed the 2010 bill funding efforts against the LRA, and even more unlikely that the Obama Administration would have persuaded the Pentagon to send Special Forces advisers to assist the Ugandans on a mission with no national-security implications for the U.S.”
They haven’t captured Kony, but African troops have come close, and many believe it is just a matter of time. Invisible Children reports that since 2012 there has been a 57 percent decrease in child abductions and since 2010 a 93 percent reduction in killings by the LRA. Defections are at an all-time high. Great results for an effort started by young people who wanted to make a difference.
Aid for Africa is an alliance of 85 U.S.-based nonprofits and their African partners who help children, families, and communities throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Aid for Africa‘s grassroots programs focus on health, education, economic development, arts & culture, conservation, and wildlife protection in Africa.
Photo Credit: Aid for Africa
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