How Social Media Can Help Resolve Refugee Crisis?
The refugee crisis that we experience today is the worst crisis since WWII. Hundreds of thousands of refugees arrived in Greece last year in order to find a safer place they can call home. And what does social media have to do with it?
Well, BeyondCSRNet, a social startup from Greece, saw its potential in bringing people together to engage in a meaningful solution-oriented debate.
The startup organised the 1st grass root Public Diplomacy awareness campaign “Twitter Resolution Call” where individuals and organisations were selected to engage in an open social media dialogue on this critical and sensitive topic.
- Academia institutions – Universities of Nantes, Karachi and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, University of Arts London
- Social entrepreneurship
- One Young and World Merit Ambassadors
- Representatives of Middle East Institute in Washington
- Media organisations – Ansa/AnsaMed, Athens News Agency, SKAI-Kathimerini
- NGO’s – Solidarity Now, Starfish Foundations, StartupAid, Startupboat
The team behind BeyondCSRNet created a number of Twitter hashtags – #refolution, #globalsouth #refducation #refugeechildren – as a way of connecting people, ideas and solutions on Twitter so people could openly engage in discussions.
— Vasili Sofiadellis (@Vasili16) March 20, 2016
Flying them over as temporary refugees,so their cases can be examined, will prevent them from risking their lives on boats.#refolution
— Nikos Simeonidis (@simeonidisniko2) March 20, 2016
— Eliza Vozemberg MEP (@vozemberg) March 29, 2016
— StartupBoat (@startup_boat) March 25, 2016
Simple, but effective. What other better way to tap into the curious and innovating minds of the entire Europe than by engaging in a public and accessible dialogue?
Outreach Digital – What Else Can Be Done
Outreach Digital was one of the organizations that consulted this initiative by organising a pro bono event in London – a Social Media Challenge – aimed at generating new social media strategies maximising engagement. Even Pavlina Proteou, the Founder & CEO of BeyondCSRNet, joined us via Skype from Greece to talk us through the idea behind the campaign.
Two of our volunteers gave presentations on social media use at events and afterwards the audience was split into teams and were tasked with coming up with the strategies driving the most engagement during Twitter Resolution Call.
All ideas were shared with the organisers of Twitter Resolution post-event.
Twitter resolution call ended on 8th April resulting in lots of ideas, interactions with highly influential people, articles and referrals in Greek newspapers and news websites
Pavlina, the organiser of BeyondCSRnet, speaking about our collaboration and the results of the campaign, said:
“Outreach Digital has been a massive output to Twitter Resolution Call on Refugee Crisis the first grass root Public Diplomacy campaign, with participants from leading international organisations. The Social Media Challenge has been a turning point as it provided with most precious feedback on how to built an efficient social media campaign”.
What’s Next For BeyondCSRNet?
Twitter Resolution Call was the first initiative of its kind and has been endorsed by the European Parliament in Greece, TIF-Helexpo and Talkwalker, who provided the campaign analytics as well as connected with some highly influential people and supported with articles and referrals in Greek newspapers and news websites.
In addition, BeyondCSRNet will collate all ideas from Twitter and publish a White Paper on possible refugee crisis solutions.
On 9 May 2016 (Europe Day), BeyondCSRNet and Visions2Ventures, under the auspices of the Mayor of Lesvos, will be hosting an event called “Coworking Spaces, Social Entrepreneurship And The Future of Europe: From Davos to Lesvos” at Lesvos Town Hall, to redefine a way forward for Europe.
According to BeyondCSRNet and Visions2Ventures:
‘The refugee crisis can only be resolved through the active engagement of ordinary European citizens, who “embrace” the humanitarian challenges and transform them from a perspective of seeing refugees as a problem to a perspective of opportunity. Refugees are first and foremost humans with dreams, talents, skills and potential. We want this initiative in Lesvos to catalyse the paradigm of social entrepreneurship and innovation as a major source of wealth and job creation, economic and technological growth and social transformation for refugees and their European hosts.’
Aimed at connecting Europe, the event on the 9th of May will be livestreamed across Europe with the support of a number of co-working spaces that are involved with the initiative. Find more details here.
What is truly fascinating about BeyondCSRNet and Visions2Ventures is their drive to bring all these multiple stakeholders and create a way for them to come together and create solutions to a massive humanitarian issue that cannot be really addressed by any one party on its own or in isolation.
The Social Media Challenge was one of the more interesting events for Outreach Digital as it allowed our members to apply their knowledge to a current issue and explore alternatives and innovative ways of using social media – we can’t wait until the next project!
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