Avaaz: A Voice for the World

Avaaz is a Non-Governmental Organization, which bills itself as a watchdog against various social evils such as corruption, human rights abuses, Global warming, poverty etc, on a global scale. As of today, Avaaz boasts of nearly 45 million members in 194 countries. Started in 2007 by a Canadian named Ricken Patel, he is still the Executive Director of Avaaz. Armed with a degree in economics from Oxford University and a Masters degree in Public Policy from Harvard, he worked for esteemed groups such as the International Crisis Group and Moveon.org, where he learned the ropes of activism on a global scale.
Working for these organizations, especially moveon.org, he learned how to use the internet for activism purposes. In this digital age, the world is more connected than ever and Mr. Patel succeeded in spades. The group operates in all six continents and the website is accessible in 15 different languages. This kind of connectivity between a group’s members is unprecedented. Wherever a problem exists, it is possible to bring it to peoples attention, in a very short time. However, it is not only helping people and communities in a broad sense. Even on the micro level, Avaaz is capable of bringing attention to matters and quickly resolve it.
This power of community is what sets Avaaz apart from other similar organizations. In most organizations who do similar work, there will be a hierarchy. You have the people at the top who are running things by setting agendas. Then they take these to the volunteers and start working on them. With Avaaz, it is just the opposite. Staff members talk to the volunteers and then decide on a course of action. After all, we live in a world where the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and Avaaz has helped thousands of causes squeak a little louder so that it gets noticed and dealt with.