It’s been nearly four years since Jason Russell sat down for a talk with his then-five-year-old son Gavin and sparked an international discussion. The father-son chat sets up "KONY 2012," a half-hour-long advocacy video for Invisible Children. Russell co-founded the group after a 2003 trip to northern Uganda exposed him and two friends to the atrocities the warlord Joseph Kony was perpetrating in the region. The video’s unexpected success catapulted Russell to global fame, but also cast Invisible Children as an archetype in an emerging debate about the nature of humanitarianism and the possible harms it might cause.
Even now, nearly a year after the organization handed control of its programs in northern Uganda over to local staff members and left the region, the community there is still grappling with the questions raised in the wake of the video’s release. There is deeply felt gratitude for the work the group did, but an uncertainty about what legacy they leave behind.