Avaaz has been one of the strongest voices in speaking out against Bayer’s anticipated purchase of Monsanto, a deal that Avaaz says European Union antitrust regulators should stop. The online campaign group has accumulated more than 1 million signatures in support of its call to prevent the pharmaceutical conglomerate from acquiring an even greater market share with the purchase of Monsanto. One of the major concerns that Avaaz has raised in drawing attention to the risks of this deal is that a single company would end up controlling more than one-fourth of the international market for pesticides and seeds, which poses a serious threat to global food security. Many farmers have joined Avaaz in protesting this expected acquisition because of the fear that biodiversity will be in peril.
Since Avaaz was founded in 2007, it has been actively engaged in some of the most important social, political and economic issues on an international scale. Many of the causes that Avaaz supports are considered progressive, although the organization generally avoids endorsing specific political candidates or embroiling itself in party politics. Under the vision and leadership of Ricken Patel, Avaaz seeks out individual donations and civic participation to raise its profile and pursue causes. Patel has drawn on his education in global public policy and work at MoveOn.org to create one of the largest global civic movement in the world. He is passionate about increasing transparency in government and rooting out corruption in political systems. Patel hopes to empower average citizens to take a more active role in the matters of their government, including holding their elected officials accountable for decisions that affect human rights. In addition to Patel, Avaaz also relies on the talents and expertise of Tom Pravda, Eli Pariser and Ben Brandzel.
One of the things that sets Avaaz apart from other charitable organizations or political groups is that it does not currently accept donations from foundations or other entities. This has been true since 2009, after the online organization was able to stand on its own feet without assistance from established groups. It prioritizes the engagement of real people and works to connect with concerned global citizens. Avaaz offers invaluable information to citizens who might not otherwise be aware of global conflicts or current issues. The information provided by Avaaz is accessible and relevant to citizens from all walks of life and only requires an Internet connection to find.
Avaaz relies on the power of the Internet to connect global communities and inspire change. Email is the primary means of communication between Avaaz and its loyal subscribers. Its online marketing campaigns have proven extremely effective at galvanizing groups of people to join their causes in person. There are countless ways that interested citizens can get involved in causes that Avaaz champions, including showing up for demonstrations at government buildings and posting videos of human rights violations to increase transparency in some of the most dangerous areas of the world. To date, more than 10 million people around the world have joined the online petitions started by Avaaz.