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KONY 2012 and Invisible Children

There has been quite a lot of buzz about KONY 2012, a campaign to stop Joseph Kony the head of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a militia that has terrorized Uganda and said to have abducted 60,000 children to turn into children soldiers. The campaign, launched via a viral video which now has over 55 million views, has been initiated by Invisible Children, an activist non-profit-organization based in San Diego, California. However, even though there are many notable public figures in support of KONY 2012, the Invisible Children organization behind the campaign has been peppered with criticism and called into question

Three of the major critiques that have been launched against Invisible Children are listed below:

  1. Lack of accurately portrayed information
  2. Lack of transparency and misuse of donations and funding received by Invisible Children
  3. Ignoring the fundamental problems in Uganda and the area of central Africa, including a corrupt government, and detracting from the most important issues there and the organizations that are in existence today addressing them

Invisible Children has responded promptly to the critiques leveled against them:

  1. The charity has sourced the information from the film and campaign
  2. In Invisible Children’s response, the organization provides a lot more detail around its numbers. The charity has been forthcoming with its financials, explaining that they have spent 80.5% of its expenses on the program mission
  3. The Invisible Children has several programs in place in the area of central Africa, including the HF Early Warning Radio Network, Rehabilitation Center, Legacy Scholarship Program, Schools for Schools and Livelihood Program

Each individual will have to make his or her own decision about whether or not to support KONY 2012. With issues like this in the limelight, what we find important here at NPI is the thorough diligence of information. That means being educated and informed to the best of your ability before you support a charity, whether through touting it via social media or making a charitable donation. There are over 1.2 million charities and foundations worldwide and NPI’s goal is that the dollars donated are maximized by making it to those who put it to its best use.

Sites referenced
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h5-eQ_hrT8kaO9J6aNdHs_vx1Zjg?docId=b4eb7776f218494eb51184b6022d2e75
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/reality-check-with-polly-curtis/2012/mar/08/kony-2012-what-s-the-story
http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/03/07/guest_post_joseph_kony_is_not_in_uganda_and_other_complicated_things
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/invisible-children-founders-posing-with-guns-an-interview-with-the-photographer/2012/03/08/gIQASX68yR_blog.html
http://s3.amazonaws.com/www.invisiblechildren.com/critiques.html

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NPI Research: Books for Africa (HOLD Rating)

Books for Africa (“BFA”) is the largest shipper of donated text and library books to the African continent, shipping over 23 million books to 45 African countries since 1988.

While BFA enjoys scale benefits of distribution, material inconsistencies in key metrics such as cost per book shipped and shipping cost per book diminish the credibility of reported information.

Read the full report here: Books for Africa.org (HOLD Rating)

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Craig Newmark on "Help finding good effective nonprofits"

Aside from being the founder of Craigslist, Craig Newmark is very involved in social issues (which I suppose is a category you could put Craigslist itself in).

Here is a post from him on resources currently available to help find effective nonprofits: Google+ Craig Newmark Post

I also replied with some of my thoughts on the existing approaches out there.

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