Were you one of the 100 million people who watched the KONY 2012 video? Have you at least heard of it? Sure you did! It has almost been 3 years since the release of the video; but have you ever wondered what happened since then? Did you ever ask yourself where did the donated money go? I decided to look for everything that happened since “the Invisible Children became visible.”
Firstly, we’re going to refresh your memory. KONY 2012 was uploaded on YouTube in March 2012 and quickly became the most viral video of all time with more than 100 million views. This short movie, narrated by Jason Russell, was “an experiment. Could an online video make an obscure war criminal famous? And if he was famous, would the world work together to stop him?”.
The Invisible Children website explain their goal: to make Joseph Kony famous and bring him to justice; as well as expanding programs to protect the community, having an international support and getting as many people as possible to pledge their support.
The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) operates in Uganda, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic by abducting children, forcing them to kill or mutilate others, and transforming girls into sex-slaves. No one knows how many victims there were, but thousands of people were killed and thousands more now live with scars of mutilation on their lips, ears, fingers, nose, and eyes.
The problem with that situation: 99% of the world didn’t know about it. So the aim of the video was to raise awareness worldwide on the goal of this organisation: finding Joseph Kony and bringing him to justice. That was their goal in 2012. But 3 years later, what happened since its buzz? What was achieved?
While it is true that Kony hasn’t been arrested, it does not mean nothing has changed. Indeed, out of the 5 main leaders of the LRA, 2 are dead and out of the 42 known senior commanders 12 have already been killed or captured. In their last videos, the Invisible Children said, “In 2003, 40 thousands of children spent each night hiding in fear of being kidnapped, raped or killed. Now the tables have turned Joseph Kony is the one hiding from an international coalition pursuing him”
But because of everything he has done, bringing back peace in the four countries suffering from Kony’s actions just arresting him isn’t enough. Protection and rehabilitation programs have been conducted to improve the population safety and to improve their lives. Now let’s go to the facts: despite all critics that were made towards this organisation, they took actions:
First with the donations, loads were done. 16 million dollars were invested in the protection and rehabilitation programs. What did they do concretely? They rebuilt 11 Ugandan schools and more than 6 000 Ugadan scholarships were awarded. The Early Warning Radio Network covers now 80 communities. More than 1 million “Come Home” leaflets were dropped.
Talking about the soldiers and the abducted, 2659 abducted men, women and children were able to escape and return home safely. Out of the 2500 soldiers in the army in 2003, there were only 200 left 11 years later.
What did governments and organisations do? Alone, The US government passed 2 bills redefining international justice and strengthening efforts to arrest Kony. But the USA are not the only one who acted. 8 international government and institutions joined their forces during the Invisible Children’s Global Submmit in DC by finding strategies, which would lead to Kony’s arrest. And even if, as mentioned previously, Kony hasn’t been arrested yet, there has ben a 92% reduction in the LRA killings and a 67% reduction in abductions in the last 3 years.
Here are some of the videos: