In the online firestorm that has erupted since Invisible Children launched their viral video aimed at bringing African strongman Joseph Kony to justice, there's been no shortage of blacklash from various media outlets on how the charity has gone about their business.
Many who have worked with charities in Uganda—where Kony unleashed most of his fury—or have spent time living in the central African country say Invisible Children's film oversimplifies problems that have waned since Kony left the country six years ago, and that many Ugandan residents have moved on to other pressing needs with the help of charities that have been working there for years.
"People are starting businesses, sending their children to school and trying to rebuild a sense of normalcy," says Laura Seay, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Morehouse College who has studied and worked in central Africa since 1996.
While the hunt for Kony hasn't been conducted in Uganda for some time, there are still daily struggles for those that were affected by the LRA's crimes. For several years several charities and organizations outside of Invisible Children have been helping the warlord's victims get back on their feet.
For example, Women of Kireka is a business co-op for women founded by Swedish-Canadian journalist Siena Anstis. The organization helps women who fled northern Uganda during Kony's occupation to find jobs and send their children to school in the southern part of the country.
Anstis believes Invisible Children's campaign is more about profit than philanthropy.
"What I find most damaging about IC's campaign—aside from commodifying human rights violations—is that they have made no effort thus far to encourage everyone (not just those who will do it on their own) to learn more," Anstis says via E-mail.
Anstis explains that the film does not address is the reign of current Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, who's been ruling the country for decades.
Museveni has long been at the center of conflict in central Africa, from a military coup in 1986 to accusations of election fraud and corruption during his rule.
"We should be drawing greater attention to Museveni," Anstis adds. "He's been in power since 1986 and each year I return to Uganda, basic services like electricity and running water are not improving."
Seay says the focus should be on the lack of functioning government in the region.
"The [Democratic Republic of Congo], South Sudan and [Central African Republic] governments have very little to no effective control over these areas, meaning that there is little to stop any armed group that wants to wreak havoc," she says. "Solving that problem will require a decades-long state rebuilding process."
While activists admit that Kony should be brought to justice for his crimes, the problems facing the region are larger than the Lord's Resistance Army.
"No one should be deluded into thinking that an awareness-raising campaign will make it easier to catch Joseph Kony," Seay says. "The real issues are rebuilding and helping those who need to be intregrated back into the community, including former child soliders."