Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Fighting AIDS in Africa: Knowledge Sharing Works

Two recent references to the Red Campaign - designed to eliminate AIDs in Africa - drive home the incredibly critical role of KM/knowledge services in today's society.

In the latest edition of The Gurteen Knowledge-Letter, David Gurteen describes the strong emotional impact he had when watching the campaign's latest video.

At about the same time, SMR Int'l colleague Dale Stanley - remembering my affection for the people of Africa and my modest involvement with ICT and KM training and development for African youth - called the video to my attention.

My reaction almost exactly matched David's: "one of the most moving videos I have seen in a long time."

Watch the video - then come back and read on:

Could there be any better example of how we bring KM/knowledge services into the "real" world?

I see two things happening here.

First, by sharing what they know, the people in this film take a hands-on approach to knowledge development and knowledge sharing, that process we like to call KD/KS. Just by getting people to talk about AIDS, breaking down the resistance and getting them to recognize that there is value just in speaking about a subject that, if not confronted, will literally kill them, is an amazing accomplishment. The people shown here are managing and sharing knowledge to save lives. And they are all totally committed to what they are doing. Watch the film and try not to be impressed with how these people are moving forward. And pay attention especially to Constance Mudenda who is (in one way) the focus of the story as she describes her work in three clinics, distributing antiretroviral medication to AIDs victims. It's a powerful, very powerful paradigm we're seeing here.

At the same time, the film itself is an impressive example of just how much information and knowledge can be packed into a single vehicle, and shared with anyone who wants to see. I challenge anyone to view this film and say he or she didn't learn anything new; it is full of revelations and concepts that - I would assert - most people in Western societies don't even think about. So we have KD/KS alive and well in this work, and we could even go so far as to relate this to what we try to do with KM/knowledge services, if we can keep our professional jargon from overwhelming the message.

Take another look and then share this blog. This is what strategic knowledge management is all about and if it leads to tears before the film is finished, so much the better.

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