7 Campaigns You Should Donate To Instead Of Kony 2012

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Invisible Children, creators of the widely shared and now widely critiqued Kony 2012 video, are accepting donations for their organization through their viral Kony 2012 campaign. They are careful to promise nothing more than to continue bringing attention to Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony, who over the past couple of decades kidnapped and forced tens of thousands of children into becoming soldiers or sex slaves. Unfortunately, Invisible Children's messaging is seen by many as self-serving, patronizing, insulting, or at the very least, woefully naïve. There is more scrutiny and criticism of foreign aid today than ever before, and humanitarian organizations are adjusting accordingly. But if foreign aid isn't working and campaigns like #StopKony are misguided, where do you go if you genuinely want to help make the world a better place? Consider the seven campaigns below, each benefiting a variety of locales and issues throughout Africa.

  1. Eastern Congo Initiative

    Responding in part to the Kony 2012 campaign, actor Ben Affleck, founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative wrote in the Huffington Post, "Westerners are not and will never be the 'saviors' of Africa." ECI is the first U.S.-based advocacy and grant-making organization solely focused on funding Congolese-led, community-based initiatives benefiting the people of eastern Congo. Their work includes rescuing child soldiers and providing them with "education, medical assistance, job training, and counseling."

  2. Africare

    Founded in 1970, Africare is, in addition to being the oldest charitable organization on this list, one of the most successful. Since its founding, Africare has provided more than $1 billion in assistance and support to millions of people across the African continent in the interrelated areas of food security, clean water, health care, and emergency response. Education about HIV/AIDS and sanitation are both recent and major areas of focus for the organization, which is still going strong.

  3. Yehri Wi Cry, Inc.

    Yehri Wi Cry, Inc., which translates as "Hear our cry," was founded in December 2010 by three college students to improve the birthing experience of women of West Africa's Sierra Leone. The maternal and infant mortality rate for poorer women in Sierra Leone is disproportionately high. Yehri Wi Cry provides "birthing kits" and incentive packages designed to aid in a full-term pregnancy and successful delivery to these women. The three U.S.-born founders of Yehri Wi Cry are each second-generation Sierra Leone immigrants.

  4. The GEANCO Foundation

    Founded in 2005, The GEANCO Foundation seeks to improve the lives of poor and vulnerable people in Nigeria. The foundation is in the process of raising funds for the construction of a non-profit, 100-bed, modern hospital in Anambra State, which will serve local and international communities throughout West Africa. Once completed, there are plans for further expansion of the building and its range of care facilities. You can check on the current progress of their project and donate to it if you like at the GEANCO Foundation's website.

  1. Acumen Fund

    Acumen Fund founder Jacqueline Novogratz believes that small-time, well-funded entrepreneurs hold the key to ending global poverty. By investing in entrepreneurs whose mission it is to provide affordable water, health care, and housing to impoverished people, the Acumen Fund, a non-profit created in 2001, is financing innovative and sustainable solutions to an overwhelming crisis. Novogratz's memoir, The Blue Sweater, chronicles her transformation from a young idealist on a quest to understand and combat poverty, to an advocate of this relatively new form of philanthropic investing.

  2. Water.org

    Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related illness. Ben Affleck's buddy, fellow actor Matt Damon merged his organization H2O Africa with the innovative group WaterPartners to create Water.org. Water.org's mission is to find solutions for providing safe, clean water to impoverished people in Africa, Asia, and Central America. The organization's WaterCredit initiative is utilized by populations in need of water and sanitation services so that they may invest in the creation and maintenance of those services. It's a different approach than relying on money from foreign aid and philanthropy. "A community has to invest in the project themselves to manage it," says WaterPartners founder Gary White. "It's bottom-up, not top-down."

  3. Survival International

    Survival International is a unique organization, the only one of its kind working for the rights of tribal people in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Australia. They do not accept money from national governments or companies that might be abusing tribal people, only individuals and foundations. Information and updated news about injustices suffered by tribal peoples, including tribes in Botswana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Central Africa, is available through Survival International website.

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