The Essential Report Archive Read the latest report

How many Konys are there?

3 Apr 2012

Tim O’Connor talks about the success of the Kony 2012 campaign but warns it must yield results or risk making Gen Y disillusioned.

For better or for worse, the Kony 2012 campaign represents the future of social activism.

The video that went viral with over 150 million hits has been alternately praised and slammed. Championed for highlighting the issues of child enslavement in conflicts and criticised for oversimplified and outdated information, Tim O’Connor from UNICEF Australia tells 3Q that aid agencies must learn how to engage the next generation.

O’Connor, who has worked with victims of Kony, says ousting him is merely the beginning with the most important work needed to assimilate children back into their communities.

But the Kony campaign doesn’t touch on the major child soldier recruitment going on in other regions closer to Australia. There are more than 250,000 child soldiers fighting in 20 conflicts around the world with several conflicts in South East Asia.
What do you think? Was Kony2012 a good thing or a bad thing overall? And should Australia be focused more on this issue in it’s own backyard?

Find out more
Tim talks about his work on the Thai-Burmese border with child soldiers who are either recruited to join militias at the age of 13 to fight the Burmese military or are conscripted by the Burmese military themselves.

Social media experts estimate that Kony 2012, is both the most popular and the fastest growing ad for a brand, cause or political campaign to ever hit the web.

Learn about Invisible Children spent years mobilising on the ground before the viral campaign

Check out five lessons aid agencies can take from Kony 2012 to promote their own cause

UNICEF is involved in demobilizing, disarming and reintegrating child soldiers back into their communities. Not an easy job when the children carry physical and emotional scars – some girls bring children borne as the result of rape and few have the skills to attain employment. Communities can also ostracise returning children. People outside the transit centres, including other children, often fear the former child soldiers or resent the special support they are given.