I met three incredible young men named Jason Russell, Laren Poole, and Bobby Bailey almost seven years ago.
CAPTURED: Lord's Resistance Army commander Caesar Achellam is presented to the media in Djema after he was captured by Ugandan soldiers.
MOST WANTED: The Kony 2012 documentary was created as a means to make Ugandan guerilla leader Joseph Kony 'famous' so that he might be brought to justice for alleged atrocities. Uganda has captured one of the top five members of the Lord's Resistance Army, bringing it a step closer to catching Joseph Kony, the notorious rebel leader accused of war crimes, the military said overnight (NZ time). The Ugandan army said it caught Caesar Achellam, a major general in Kony's outfit of about 200 fighters, in an ambush along the banks of the River Mbou in Central African Republic (CAR) on Saturday (Sunday, NZ time).
Achellam was armed with just an AK-47 rifle and eight rounds of ammunition, a spokesman for the Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF), said. The UPDF, which has a force hunting for Kony full-time in the jungles of CAR, backed by US troops, said the capture of Achellam would encourage other fighters to abandon the LRA. Achellam, who was paraded before media, walked with a limp, which he attributed to an old wound. Analysts said Achellam was a close ally of Kony and had masterminded the group's relocation from northern Uganda. Kony, a self-styled mystic leader who at one time wanted to rule Uganda according to the biblical Ten Commandments, fled northern Uganda in 2005, roaming first the lawless expanses of South Sudan, then the isolated northeastern tip of Congo. In December 2008, Uganda launched Operation Lightning Thunder against the LRA, dispersing the rebels and pushing them north into CAR. The rebels live in the jungles of CAR surviving on wild yams, stolen cattle and drinking from rivers. The International Criminal Court at The Hague has issued arrest warrants for Kony and his top commanders for several counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes, although Achellam is not among those charged by the ICC. Kony is accused of abducting children to use as fighters and sex slaves and is said to have a fondness for hacking off limbs. A 30-minute YouTube video by California-based film-maker Jason Russell calling for the arrest of Kony swept across the Internet in March, attracting tens of millions of views, bringing the LRA's atrocities to the attention of many people previously unaware of the group's existence. The Ugandan government, the African Union and the United States all stepped up their commitment to the hunt for Kony in the wake of the outrage caused by the video, "Kony 2012".
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Just out of college, they had decided to use their newly acquired film-making talents to go to the Sudan and document the atrocities of a distant war. He was returning from the Democratic Republic of Congo when he walked into the soldiers' ambush. What they weren’t expecting was to get there, find the war to be over, and end up uncovering child abuse, abduction, murder, rape and torture in Uganda. When they returned, Jason was incensed, frustrated and angry, and told me about their plans to use storytelling to save the lives of children who were suffering at the hands of a man known as Joseph Kony. The motives and focus of Invisible Children are exactly the same as they were in 2006: to end the abduction and abuse of children in Uganda. They created a movement of people who didn’t just give money they gave their time, they took a stand, camped out, and marched on Washington. The storytellers at Invisible Children inspired the country to have a connected conversation about something of real substance. It’s got people everywhere thinking about communities they have never met, people on the other side of the world. This story has got kids,  teachers, parents and peers talking to each other about an issue with substance and groups mobilizing to join the story and to change the lives of these abused children in Uganda. The lesson here is not in social media, but in the power of the story and the hope that lies in human good.
These three young men decided they needed to do something about a problem, and, almost 10 years later, the world at large is finally hearing the story loud and clear. This week, Invisible Children gave our country something compelling to watch and a way to do something about it. Imagine if this happened with other issues we have in this world? Imagine if we told the Palestinian and Israeli story differently?Countless college classrooms and business publications will undoubtedly analyze Invisible Children’s Kony 2012, breaking it down to be studied in its parts. The power of social media is undeniable, and while the real fascination here might be the speed, scale, and size of participation, I’d like to suggest this is really all about the story and how it has been told.
Jason, Laren, and Bobby became engaged in the tragedy because they could see themselves in the faces of these Ugandan children living in fear of their lives.
Social media’s time is definitely now, but it was making the story relatable that drove this level of viral success. This week, it’s landed them in conversations with Piers Morgan, The Today Show and Anderson Cooper.


In their first video, Jacob cries as he tells Jason he would rather die than continue to live in the conditions he is currently forced to live under. Jason made a promise to Jacob that day that he has risked nearly everything to bring to fruition.
They released their first video and quickly began touring college campuses and launching unique guerilla campaigns that targeted the youth in this country. Their focus on the issue and the way in which they have conducted themselves has created a powerful Millenial-lead movement. For years, they’ve toured the country visiting hundreds of school campuses, packing gyms, sharing their story with anyone who would listen, inviting people of all ages to engage and connect with the plight of the children in Uganda through their story. They gave out their DVD, raised money and awareness, and invited the kids on campus to hold parties to share the documentary, becoming part of the story and the solution.They have been committed to this for more than seven years. The Invisible Children team have rolled up their sleeves, shown commitment over time and changed lives both here and in Uganda.
Make it compelling and easy for others to get involved.Invisible Children meticulously examined their audiences and thought through the different ways that those audiences would be compelled to get involved.
Invisible Children is also good at creating clear calls-to-action so that their supporters understand what they can do next to help advance the mission. It is also critical to convey how a single person's contribution, whether large or small, can help move the needle. But whether you’re a foreign policy expert, a member of the media, a professor or an average Joe trying to critique these guys, guess what?
And if you want to be a critic, have the courage to share your own positive contributions to a cause for good.
Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, CleanWell, The Honest Kitchen, and World Vision.



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