In partnership with Praekelt.org, a tech non-profit, the social change platform Turn.io, and the global development community media platform, Devex, WhatsApp will be running the "Chat for Impact Summit" in May 2021. The initiative was devised to support and accelerate the work that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are doing to provide vulnerable, disempowered, and minority communities with easy and secure access to vital information and support via WhatsApp.
“We are honored that billions of people all over the world use WhatsApp to stay connected to friends and family, particularly during COVID-19. It’s been inspiring to see governments, NGOs and charities use WhatsApp to support people through messaging services that enable covid vaccine scheduling, fact-checking, and hotlines to help victims of domestic abuse. We hope the Chat for Impact Summit will inspire and support organizations to develop more ways to provide vital information and resources to people and advance social justice in communities around the world." said Victoria Grand, Vice President for Policy and Communications at WhatsApp.
Technology for good
Big Tech, such as WhatsApp's owners, Facebook, is nowadays often associated with invasions of privacy, exploiting user data for profit, and very little benefits for society. Added to that, social media and instant messaging platforms have been at the center of concerns and discussions around the polarization of modern society and the rapid spread of fake news (i.e. misinformation and disinformation).
It is thus refreshing to hear of a platform such as WhatsApp being used to advance work in social justice and equality.
“Our experience over the past few years has demonstrated the incredible impact of chat solutions using WhatsApp for organizations working in the social impact space. We’re excited to bring that experience to those social justice organizations whose impact will be significantly enhanced through the addition of scalable chat - as well as further expand the Chat for Impact community of practice that brings together social impact organizations from different spheres and locations around the world," said Gustav Praekelt, Founder of Praekelt.org and Co-Founder of Turn.io.
Advancing work in social justice and equality
The Chat for Impact initiative aims to support, empower and educate NPOs on how they can best connect with the 2 billion people using WhatsApp across the world, providing access to information and resources for the people who need it most.
According to WhatsApp, so far 3 billion messages have already been sent by governments, nonprofits, and international organizations to citizens through official WhatsApp messaging services regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the initial phase, 100+ organizations will be selected to join the Chat for Impact community, which will give access to resources and information from the Incubator. Thirty organizations will then be selected to participate in May’s Chat for Impact Summit for two days of training to advance their goals of addressing societal issues using WhatsApp as a communication tool.
Finally, ten high-impact organizations will be invited by a panel to join the Impact Accelerator. Each of the ten will receive financial support (of up to $50,000 each) and mentorship. The aim is to enable each organization to build and launch a WhatsApp messaging service that significantly enhances their work and advances social justice and equality.
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