Avaaz Leveraging Technology to Redefine Activism

The advent of the internet has enabled activists from all over the globe to join forces in advancing progressive causes. Avaaz, a civic organization based in the U.S, now boasts of over 46 million members across the world. Because of the group’s online registration mechanic, people from all walks of life can access Avaaz’s website and sign up to become members. And with such an enormous following, Avaaz can influence governments, corporations, and other relevant bodies to make decisions in the interest of humanity.The most progressive thing about Avaaz is a feature that allows all its members to start a petition (s). Any member of the group, including non-members, can initiate a petition(s) by visiting Avaaz’s website. With many people able to launch a petition(s), Avaaz’s team of specialist moderates petitions from members, picking only urgent petitions at a time. Selected petitions are emailed to 10 thousand Avaaz’s members, and their inputs determine whether a petition can be pursued further or neglected.

Avaaz is a principled civic organization hell bent-bent on promoting global activism and is a headache to corporations, which are unwilling to tore the line. Take Monsanto, for instance, a multinational agrochemical manufacturer, whose glyphosate-based herbicides are “probably carcinogenic,” according to the World Health Organization. Based on the WHO’s conclusion, Avaaz called for a total ban on glyphosate-based herbicides. Avaaz’s petitions, media push, multiple meetings with relevant authorities, etc. , created a huge debate concerning the use of the herbicide and its detrimental effects on human health. It was at the height of the discussion when Monsanto was seeking to renew licenses permitting it to market glyphosate-based herbicides in Europe. Avaaz’s push, however, led to many EU countries refusing to back the relicensing of Monsanto.

Were it not for the EU commission, which allowed the use of glyphosate-based herbicides until a new scientific review is complete, Monsanto would have lost its bid to continue the production of glyphosate-based herbicide.Avaaz’s leadership, made up of forward-looking professionals, has been instrumental in promoting activism in progressive causes. The organization is currently under the stewardship of Ricken Patel, who is also a member of the board consisting of Ian Bassin and Sam Barratt. Ricken Patel, alongside Tom Pravda, Tom Perriello, and David Madden among other professionals advocating for good governance are the founding members of Avaaz. Organizations such as MoveOn.org, Res Publica, and Service International Service Union also played a part in establishing Avaaz.