How Avaaz supporters are helping to drive the global education message

A World at School, Up for School or #upforschool campaign

People power influences our decisionmakers – and global campaign organisation Avaaz has people power in the millions. Ricken Patel and the team at Avaaz is one of the partner organisations backing the #UpForSchool Petition calling on world leaders to get every child in to school.

Maybe one of the reasons Avaaz is able to mobilise people globally to support education is that one in five of its supporters is a teacher or student. This is a huge percentage of its network and maybe a factor behind the survey headline showing that 59% of Avaaz supporters chose education as a top Global Campaign Goal where they would like to invest more deeply. This is followed by climate and sustainable development goals.

The priority given to education mirrors the MYWorld survey of more than 7.4 million people people around the world who also said education is the top priority for them. This is a clear mandate for action to get every child into school and learning.

Avaaz supporters’ top global campaign goals for 2015

So what drives this network of 41 million activists from around the world? In recent weeks Avaaz surveyed its supporter base and discovered some interesting insights. Without a doubt this is a network of people that wants to see action on climate change. Avaaz led the global climate change rallies last year in New York and around the world and is forcing world leaders to step take climate change seriously. This is people power in action.

After the horrific attacks on the Army Public School in Peshawar, Avaaz immediately mobilised its global network of passionate supporters and within days more than a million people had signed the #UpForSchool Petition calling for action to protect schools. In recent weeks the Pakistan government has supported a new 15-point plan to make safe schools.

The Avaaz community is hopeful. Nearly half of its supporters believe that Avaaz is capable of changing the world “a lot” or “a massive amount”. This confidence shines through much of what they do together. Another aspect is that people see themselves as part of a movement. This is an important step in the age of “clicktivism – people clearly feel part of something bigger than each individual campaign.

The votes so far from the MYWorld 2015 survey

One of the areas suggested by the network as a “new direction” for Avaaz is to do more offline campaigning to help drive forward action on key issues. The #UpForSchool Petition led by A World at School in partnership with Avaaz bridges both online and offline campaigning together – depending on what actions can have most impact and what people want to do to show their support.

More offline campaigning would be an interesting step forward for Avaaz but could also add challenges to a well-run machine. The climate change rally in New York in September showed one example but sustained support for local campaigners takes a lot of resources and attention.

Ricken Patel of Avaaz at #UpForSchool launch in New York

Avaaz tries to unpack the principles and values that unite its movement. These are a far cry from corporate values that are dreamt up in boardrooms and dumped on organisations but come across as organically-created values that mirror the community, such as interdependence with our natural world, transparent and accountable governments, honest and consultative politics and virtues such as courage, compassion, integrity and honest whilst recognising we are all imperfect.

You can make your voice hard by signing the #UpForSchool Petition now.

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