Awareness into Action

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I loved reading Amnesty International‘s article entitled ‘Kony 2012: How Can We Turn Awareness Into Action’

This is the biggest question Health Communicators attempt to answer everyday.

We, in the field can learn so much from the Invisible Children group and their Kony 2012 Campaign.

I am convinced that they have effectively used social media and social marketing tools, namely Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, for good: to raise awareness, spark interest, heighten our emotions and advocate for this important cause – to find and arrest Joseph Kony, a war criminal and leader of the Lord’s  Resistance Army (LRA), thereby bringing justice to over 30- 000 children who have been his victims.

For more than two decades, Amnesty International has documented crimes committed by the LRA and their horrific impact on the lives of thousands of civilians in Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Uganda. Thanks to Invisible Children, the world is now becoming more aware of the devastating atrocities these children are facing.

Megan Ernst writes in a student newspaper for the University of Georgia and interviews students and their responses to the film. Teman Worku’s response stood out for me. He’s a freshman and a broadcast journalism major whose family is from Africa.

He said that “the good work Invisible Children are doing in Uganda is important, whether or not Kony is still active there. Just like Haiti was forgotten after the earthquake, Uganda is in danger of being forgotten just because Kony has moved on. If he’s not in Uganda, there are probably still children and families affected by what happened,” Worku said. “Do you think Haiti is still suffering? I would assume there are still problems in Uganda and this campaign can help to shed light on what we can do.

To date, 84 661 758 people have seen the full 29-minute film. See the 1:19 trailer here if you have not seen it yet.

The video urges everyone to sign a pledge to bring him to justice in 2012 and to ‘cover the night’ by plastering his face across the nation on April 20th.

On that day, I look forward, with bated breath to see how the world and our governments will respond to people ‘covering the night’ as the video encourages. Despite the criticisms of the campaign, the success of using new media to raise awareness of this issue is indisputable.

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