There is an effective organization promoting honorable causes such as animal and human rights, climate change, poverty, corruption and war. Its called Avaaz; it is centered in the U.S. and was started in January 2007. It has been considered one of the largest and most powerful online activist networks on the globe by The Guardian, and its sole purpose is summed up best by co-founder, Res Publica, who said it is a “community of public sector professionals dedicated to promoting good governance, civic virtue and deliberative democracy.”
Avaaz (pronounced âvâz) cleverly obtained its name from the odd-looking Persian word, “آواز,” and literally means song or voice. This name sums up the essence of what this organization is all about and literally speaks life into the deadly challenges that face our lives and planet. In fact, Avaaz pushes its ideas so elegantly and poignantly, that its words seem to fall on the ears of concerned citizens like soothing music in a chaotic world.
The organization was started by, Ricken Patal, who was moved to create something that could make a difference in a world that needed changing. Patel has been all over the world through the International Crisis Group, and has had his heart burdened by places like Afghanistan, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Patal says that he “learned how to bring rebel forces to the negotiation table, to monitor elections (covertly), to restore public faith in once corrupt political systems and to spot when foreign forces were being manipulated.” Patel then came back to the U.S. with his heart aching, and was taught all he needed to know about online-activism with the help of MoveOn.org.
Avaaz maintains high integrity and places emphasis on running itself sincerely and honestly. According to The Guardian, Avaaz has refused donations from corporations and foundations since 2009, and to this day never accepts more that $5,000 at once from any doner. Previous to that, the organization had accepted donations from several foundations due to the initial start-up costs.
Avaaz has branched out globally, and works out of a total of 30 countries including: India, UK, Lebanon and Brazil. They make the most of social media and online tools for communication such as email, videos, and online petitions. It has also simplified the process of emailing leaders by a mere a click of a button. In addition, they also organize offline protests such as, gatherings, marches and media stunts. Avvaaz also values the opinions of its members and frequently polls them to see which causes should be opened; if they receive a positive response from 10,000 people, it is then labeled an open cause.
Avaaz is making a difference in this world. It is fueled by a passion to create unity from disunity, order from disorder, honesty from dishonesty, and love from hate. Nothing says this better than Director Ricken Patel who says “We have no ideology per se. Our mission is to close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want. Idealists of the world unite!”
Follow Avaaz on Twitter @avaaz.