Avaaz means “voice” in many different languages around the world. Avaaz is based in the United States and is a website that is devoted to promoting global activism. Some of the issues that Avaaz strives to bring a voice to include human rights, corruption, conflict, climate change, animal rights, and poverty. Founded in 2007, it is considered the most powerful and largest activist network online by The Guardian in the United Kingdom.
Avaaz’s co-founders were MoveOn.org and Res Publica. MoveOn.org is an advocacy group centered around progressive policies while Res Publica is devoted to preventing corruption in the government. It is headed by several professionals in the public sector. The president of Avaaz is Ricken Patel who also serves on their board with Sam Barratt and Ian Bassin. Ricken Patel is a Canadian-British graduate of Oxford University. In the past, he also has experience working with the International Crisis Group. He earned a Masters degree from Harvard University in Public Policy.
Avaaz is very dedicated to its donation process that was designed to prevent corruption in the organization. Since they began in 2009, they have yet to take any donations from businesses or foundations. On top of this, their donations are limited to $5,000 or less from their individual contributors. The campaigners at Avaaz work in more than 30 countries to spread their messages. Some of these countries besides the United Kingdom and the United States include Brazil, Lebanon, and India. Some of the campaigning methods that Avaaz uses include online petitions that are available to the public, tools to email the representatives in government of the users, and informative videos to watch and share on social media.
Some of the events that they stage include rallies, phone-ins, media stunts, and sit-ins to name a few. To protest the outbreak of Swine Flu near giant pig farms, they took several cardboard pigs and put them outside of the doors of the World Health Organization. Another stunt included a 3-mile long chain of people that stretched from London’s Chinese Embassy to the Dalai Lama.