In whose interests do NGO's work? -Invisible Children #Kony
I asked this question last year over at Africa on the Blog following a report in The Guardian about the number of NGO’s working in Karamoja a province on NE Uganda but that people there were so hungry they had taken to eating very old animal hides. The post generated such interest that there was a spin off NGO’s:Who benefits?
I find myself asking the same question this following the release of a video this week by the charity Invisible Children (IC). The video KONY 2012 tells the horrors suffered by children in Northern Uganda who were abducted and forced to kill. You can watch the video here. I have discussed my feelings about the release of this video over at Ethnic Supplies Blog and I wondered what IC’s motivation in releasing that video were.
The video has gone viral and I bet Invisible Children can’t believe their luck!
But the unintended consequences of this video are also beginning to surface.
For Invisible Children we now know that of the $9M they received last year mostly in donations 25% was spent on travel and film making and only 33% actually goes to the people the purport to represent. This has raised questions about their credibility amongst their peers to say the least.
For the people of Northern Uganda it has opened up old wounds
For us at Let Them Help Themselves Out of Poverty- well where can I start. As most of you know we take in overseas volunteers at the project in Ruhanga SW Uganda and the money they pay has enabled us to provide piped water , mosquito nets, business skills training, a free school and jobs for the community. But this video has threatened all this.
The video was watched by over 5o Million people world wide and amongst them are the volunteers we are expecting this summer. The message they got from this video is that there is a war in Uganda and that is not a place they would like to go. At this stage it is unclear how many if any will actually pull out but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. We need to raise at least £50,000 for our capital projects which include a school Kitchen, 3 more classrooms, a school health centre and a staff room.
Did Invisible Children consider the harm this video could cause?
Would they consider using some of their wealth for our girls in Ruhanga? Some how I don’t think so!
Uganda isn’t without its problems but how do we move forward when those that should know better are intent on holding us back?
Uganda was voted by Lonely Planet amongst the top destinations for 2012 but has this NGO just undone the potential for Uganda’s tourism? After all the tourism industry provides a real opportunity for Ugandans to work their way out of poverty through providing services that tourists want to consume.
I ask a lot of questions here because I am confused as to the real intentions of Invisible Children so please help me out with this one