Avaaz: Largest Online Activist Network

Avaaz is a civic organization that mobilizes people to campaign on various issues via online petitions. Avaaz mostly supports progressive causes such as animal rights, climate change, promoting support for refugees, human rights, conflict, poverty and corruption. Even though Avaaz’s leadership claims to have no ideology it mostly supports groups that champion western ideology. During Iran’s presidential election in 2009, Avaaz configured proxy servers that allowed activists and protestors in Iran to upload videos of protests onto blocked websites such as YouTube. Avaaz also supported the no-fly zone in Libya which led to the toppling of the Gadhafi regime in 2011. Avaaz was also a crucial player in civil demonstrations that preceded Syria’s Civil War. Avaaz trained Syrian activists and provided them with internet communications gear worth $1.5 million. Later as the civil war intensified and the refugee crisis in Syria became worse, the group sent $2 million in medical equipment to Syria. The group has also partnered with journalists in Syria. It helped smuggle 34 journalists into Syria, who gave first hand reports on the atrocities committed by the Assad regime. During the 2016 US election Avaaz campaigned against the Republican candidate Donald Trump. The organization also created a software tool that simplified voter registration for individuals who were overseas.

Avaaz was created in 2007 by individuals from organizations such as Moveon.org, the Service Employees International Union and Purpose.com. The group’s management team is led by Ricken Patel who acts as executive director and president. In 2009, Avaaz stopped receiving funds from companies and organizations. The company decided that it would be funded by individual members only. This action was taken so as to minimize influence from a single organization. Additionally the group limits donations to $5000. All campaigns initiated by Avaaz must first be approved a significant percentage of the members. This helps unite the members who come from diverse backgrounds.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/avaaz

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