Invisible Children

Elon Contact: invisiblechildren@elon.edu
Fall 2014 Meetings: TBA

Story

Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army have been abducting, killing, and displacing civilians in East and central Africa since 1987. We first encountered these atrocities in northern Uganda in 2003 when we met a boy named Jacob who feared for his life and a woman named Jolly who had a vision for a better future. Together, we promised Jacob that we would do whatever we could to stop Joseph Kony and the LRA. Invisible Children was founded in 2004 to fulfill that promise.

Ethos

We believe in the equal and inherent value of all human life. We believe that a worldview bound by borders is outdated and that stopping injustice anywhere is the responsibility of humanity everywhere. We call this ethos Fourth Estate.

Model

Invisible Children focuses exclusively on the LRA conflict through an integrated four-part model that addresses the problem in its entirety: immediate needs and long-term effects.

1. Media

  • Film – document LRA atrocities, introduce new audiences, inspire global action.

2. Mobilization

  • Artist Relations – partners with musicians to introduce new audiences to the LRA conflict.
  • National Tour – brings films and speakers to schools, community centers, and other places around the country. IC “Roadies” talk about the LRA conflict in East and central Africa and what the average student can do to help.
  • Grassroots Advocacy – political advocacy plays a crucial role in bringing a permanent end to LRA atrocities, so IC provides opportunities for young people to engage their political leaders through letter-writing, phone calls, rallies, and inperson lobby meetings.
  • Fourth Estate Summit– stopping injustice everywhere is the responsibility of humanity everywhere
  • International Events – organize large events to educate supporters, engage political and cultural leaders, and bring people together.

3. Recovery

  • Mend — improves the quality of life for women in Gulu, Uganda, who were directly affected by the LRA conflict. This social enterprise produces high-quality handbags while providing advanced training in tailoring, finance, and personal development to the women it supports.
  • WASH — provides rural communities in northern Uganda with access to safe drinking water and improves the sanitation and hygiene of group members, their households, and the community.
  • Adult Literacy – Functional Adult Literacy (FAL) provides adult literacy training for members of IC’s Village, Savings, and Loans Associations.
  • Village Savings & Loan – encourages people in rural communities to take control of their personal finances. They have once a week meetings to maintain loans in order to save money for their children’s education, invest in livestock, start a small business, or other investments.
  • Teacher Exchange — the program allows Ugandan and international educators to form teaching partnerships while exposing their students to a world outside their borders. International educators team-teach in northern Uganda each summer for six weeks, and, in a reciprocal exchange, Ugandan educators visit the schools of the international educators each winter.
  • Schools for Schools — builds and renovates school structures while also improving the school’s educational climate through career guidance, curriculum, and teacher training. The program currently works with 11 secondary schools in northern Uganda that have been affected by the LRA.
  • Legacy Scholarship Program — provides merit-based scholarships and mentoring to motivated and talented secondary and university students from northern Uganda who were affected by the LRA conflict.
  • Rehabilitation Project — provides holistic care for children who have been abducted by the LRA and have suffered high-levels of trauma. Children receive psychosocial support as they return to their families and reintegrate with their communities.

4. Protection

  • LRA Crisis Tracker – a crisis-mapping social web platform that broadcasts in real time the attacks perpetrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The tracker makes this information publicly available through a digital map, a breaking newsfeed, regular data-analysis reports, media documentation, and a mobile application. Reports come in through IC’s Early Warning Network, the UN, local NGOs, and first-hand research by organizations.
  • Early Warning Network – high-frequency, two-way, long-range radios that give communities in DR Congo and the Central African Republic the ability to report LRA activity to one another. It warns nearby communities with security calls of LRA movement and alerts security and humanitarian groups who can provide services.
  • Defection Filters – sends “come home” messages directly to LRA groups. Many LRA have a strong desire to escape and return home; IC provides instructions for safe surrendering.
  • FM Radios – constructs locally-run FM radio stations in DR Congo, CAR, and South Sudan that operate in areas of high LRA activity. They provide isolated communities with a system of communication for news, security and humanitarian broadcasts. They also provide safe reporting sites for the LRA to surrender.
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