TED Conversations

Carol Harnett

Chairperson, Health & Performance Innovation Institute


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How can the TED community help inform people about some of the issues associated with Kony 2012 & Invisible Children?

Maybe I've been under a rock somewhere but, until today, I had never heard of Joseph Kony. That was until I saw this YouTube video: http://youtu.be/Y4MnpzG5Sqc.

Kony 2012's mission is to make Joseph Kony famous by using social media and targeted famous people with reach. Their hope is that by making Kony famous, he will be captured and brought to justice.

It's been brought to my attention that there are questions around how "Kony 2012" and Invisible Children are using the money they're raising. That said, they're creating momentum. How do we capitalize on that and bring awareness to a global audience about the issues in central Africa?

This is an effort that the TED community can support - to spread the word and to inform about qualified non-profits that are trying to help.

I believe this is an idea worth spreading.


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    Mar 9 2012: Most of the information in Kony's video is fictitious due to out of date data.

    The children militia slaves is not as serious as it was 10 years ago and those militants are not even in the same area today. Seriously, a popular video on youtube starts people thinking these thoughts are original and special and I have to hear about it all day "Kony for president" like presidents DO anything in the first place.....

    Non-profits... Sure... Because the C.E.O of Red Cross is a middle class American.

    When we donate rice, clothing and other trade items to Africans, you can destroy their ability to grow in this capitalistic world. Free food means those who do produce the food are not getting paid, same for all other trade items.

    You want to help? Send teachers to make teachers there - do missionary work for more than a month (not to just vacation and "feel" altruistic) - self-irony here, just going to vacation in Africa will feed their economy money as well. Just giving necessary rations to people doesn't help them; computers, internet, education and businesses that feed into their communities do.

    This Kony crap has to stop - don't say, do.

    Here is a REAL organization http://tech4africa.com/ spreading awareness of Africa's place in the world... We should support the up and rising companies that want to help others, while providing jobs and resources to both those who are helping and employed.

    The world will get help, when we actually HELP not preach about helping. Like posting an already huge video with enough coverage between Facebook and Twitter on TED.
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      Mar 9 2012: Thanks for your note, Nicholas. In less than 24 hours, I've become much more informed about this topic. While I can and did write a dissertation on health care, I am not as well-versed on the political topics in central Africa. But, today, I stand better informed.

      That said, I like the approach Kathryn is taking. She is using the Cover the Night event to better inform people. It's a positive way to take the momentum Kony 2012 is creating to give people a way to help. I will do the same.

      This morning, I went out to FB and posted the information I gleaned from this TED exchange and others. I also went out to YouTube (over 52 million views so far), disliked the video and wrote a short post as to why. I also shared the positive information with links on Twitter.

      Here's what I've learned from trying to change human's health-related behaviors. Don't make people feel shame. Work with their emotions to bring them to a better place. And let them choose how to get involved.

      Personally, I've been to Africa. I also do work with education and Charity : Water. This experience with Kony 2012 has made me more committed to do even more.

      While I now agree that bringing Kony to justice is the wrong focus, I appreciate that people seem to need succinct rallying points. Maybe what the TED community can do is to help inform people in a positive way.
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        Mar 9 2012: "Here's what I've learned from trying to change human's health-related behaviors. Don't make people feel shame. Work with their emotions to bring them to a better place. And let them choose how to get involved."

        There can be no greater truth when dealing with groupthinking I'm afraid. However people are too easily distracted with a person or one idea that they attach themselves to rather than investigating the whole matter.

        Any publicity is good publicity, let's not give this part-time politician anymore of your thoughts and spend more time on focusing the actual help.

        Teachers to make teachers is the best help you can do... setting up workshops about home engineering, basic school subjects, internet skills, etc. In a world where surviving is increasingly supervening into the "mental hunt" we must provide everyone with education, so they can provide themselves with the means to help themselves.

        Want to do something really amazing? (Anyone) Set up websites that tell people where to go for their interest of study: Khan Academy for example. Teaching people where to look for information, to me, is far more helpful then just teaching them - but, teaching in Africa also is greatly needed.

        Sorry if I was rude in my first response, but TED is no place for mindless reporting and if it does become that, they will have one less advocate.

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