Viral video from group Invisible Children aims to stop African warlord Joseph Kony

Published: Wednesday, March 7 2012 5:00 p.m. MST

"In their campaigns, such organizations have manipulated facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders, and emphasizing the LRA's use of innocent children as soldiers, and portraying Kony — a brutal man, to be sure — as uniquely awful, a Kurtz-like embodiment of evil," wrote professors Koen Vlassenroot of the University of Ghent and Mareike Schomerus and Tim Allenof the London School of Economics. "They rarely refer to the Ugandan atrocities or those of Sudan's People's Liberation Army, such as attacks against civilians or looting of civilian homes and business, or the complicated regional politics fueling the conflict."

Invisible Children has also come under scrutiny for how it spends donations. Charity Navigator, America's leading independent nonprofit evaluator, gave Invisible Children three stars out of four overall, but just two stars for accountability and transparency. Less than 40 percent of donations are spent on direct services, according to the organization's financial statements. The nonprofit's three founders collectively make $262,000 a year.

Jedediah Jenkins, director of idea development for Invisible Children, told the Washington Post the criticisms were "myopic." He said the organization received a low rating on Charity Navigator simply because they have too few board members.

He believes "Kony 2012" is already accomplishing good things.

"The film has reached a place in the global consciousness where people know who Kony is, they know his crimes," he said. "Kids know and they respond. And then they won't allow it to happen anymore."

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