- December 15, 2014
- From the Team
Today our friends and partners at Invisible Children announced that they will soon be significantly downsizing their US-based operations and programming. The decision, necessitated by funding challenges, and guided by a deep commitment to their mission of seeing a permanent end to the LRA crisis, will allow IC to invest their remaining resources on sustaining their most critical political advocacy efforts and field programs in LRA-affected areas of DR Congo and CAR. You can get more details directly from Invisible Children here, including how to support their Africa-based programs by donating to the Finishing Fund.
Resolve has worked closely with Invisible Children over the past ten years, and we’ve spent countless hours with IC staff during that time in advocacy meetings in the halls of Congress, brainstorming sessions with local civil society leaders, and in small Congolese and Central African communities listening to civil society leaders. We are deeply saddened that so many of our long-time colleagues at IC will be moving on soon, but we’re thankful and proud that their essential Africa programs will continue on for the coming year. We’re also incredibly grateful for the opportunity to partner with IC on so many advocacy campaigns, field research trips, and programs in LRA-affected areas.
Today’s announcement will likely spark a wave commentary about Invisible Children’s legacy, much of which will weave IC into broader narratives about activism in the digital age and the role of Western NGOs in relation to crises in Africa. Such debates are important and useful, as long as the discussion is constructive. Like every ambitious pioneer into unknown territory, they have occasionally stumbled and course-corrected along the way to their goal. But we believe, on the whole, the IC team should be tremendously proud of the groundbreaking work they’ve done on grassroots mobilization and targeted advocacy campaigns over the past ten years.
But most of all, we hope that in the next few weeks people commenting on Invisible Children’s legacy don’t forget to explore and discuss what they’ve helped accomplished in LRA-affected communities. Too often attention on IC’s work in the field has focused exclusively on the backlash in Uganda to the Kony 2012 film. That dynamic is important and shouldn’t be ignored, but it represents just a small slice of IC’s ten years of partnerships with local civil society and programs in Uganda, Congo, South Sudan, and the CAR.
The story that we hope gets told in the next few weeks is how Invisible Children staff spent years building relationships and trust with community leaders across four countries, listening to their ideas for addressing the LRA crisis and working with them to turn hopes into reality. This story can be seen in the civilian early warning network that stretches across nearly 100 remote communities in Congo and the CAR, which has empowered civilians to improve their day-to-day safety on their own terms. Invisible Children is also a thread in the story of each of the dozens of LRA abductees that have bravely escaped with a defection leaflet in hand or Come Home radio program in their memory that IC helped produce and disseminate. IC’s impact can also also be seen on the Community Defection Committees that it has funded and trained — together with local partners — across Congo, CAR, and South Sudan, helping their members become more active participants in efforts to reduce LRA attacks through defections and reintegrate abductees once they have escaped.
Such stories cannot be as easily articulated in a tweet or news article as a pithy reference to Kony 2012, but we think they’ll resonate more deeply with people living in LRA-affected areas.
-Paul & Michael