Monday, April 16, 2012

What if anything Can VOA and HRW Learn from #Kony2012?

Human Rights Watch posted a six-minute video on the urgent need to arrest Bosco Ntaganda three days ago; so far it's gotten 2,500 hits. The Voice of America posted its latest video on rape in eastern Congo, part of a series it's been working on for over a year. So far, it's been seen 74 times.

How depressing. It's numbers like these that remind me of just how remote the Congo is for most Americans; how distant from our concerns. I wonder if there's something to be learned from #Kony2012 after all, in spite of everything that we found objectionable about it.

1 comment:

  1. It is depressing but not surprising.

    Remember, the Kony video was a tactic of a broader campaign strategy. I'm fairly certain this wasn't the case with HRW and VOA-Congo.

    As a political campaign consultant who also is deeply concerned about the Congo/Great Lakes, my suggestion is to really think through how to gain supporters and what to do with them once you have them.

    Invisible Children was able to locate a villain, create a simple and powerful story about why we must stop him, layed out a "theory of change" about how, and told us what we had to do to "win".

    All great campaigns do this whether its organizing factory workers, passing healthcare reform, electing Obama, or Kony2012.

    I think you could come up with a great campaign around Kabila and his autocratic ways fairly easily that could lift up Congolese voices, entertain and inform without dumbing things down, and encourage consistent action from Americans.

    The key, I think, would be figuring out:

    -who is the target of such a campaign (Obama? Congress?)
    -who is the audience (young people? African Americans? evangelicals?)
    - what is the goal? (stop Kabila? demand aid accountability?)
    - what is the message?
    - what is the best and most efficient means of spreading the message?
    - what is the strategy or theory of change (ie, how do we believe we will win)
    - what are the tactics

    As I have counseled clients, I always like to say to them that if they were standing at a busy intersection in downtown Peora, IL with just a clipboard and a petition, what would you say in 3 minutes or less to get someone to sign up for your cause/campaign?

    Once you clearly figure that out you can then answer some of the questions any campaign must answer (what's the goal?, what's the message, etc) and you are mostly on your way.

    The folks at IC worked with a few well-regarded campaign consultants in San Fran and DC and it would behoove those of us who desire real and meaningful change for the Congolese to, perhaps, do the same.

    If you want to exchange more ideas about this let me know.