When we began the year in January 2020, we were looking forward to another exciting year. Many of us had vacation plans, some of us were looking to get married and impactful projects were seemingly on the horizon.
Then news flashes of a virus emerged from China and it continued flashing with an alarming nature, but not too much that it would affect our daily lives. We still went about our business in the week and had weekend barbeques celebrating the chilly month of February.
When the world descended into a complete lockdown in March, it was a surreal moment for many of us. Fear of uncertainty, fear of protecting our loved ones, and a hovering question mark about what lay ahead is how we spent our days.
Someone once said you fear what you don’t understand and the world has yet to fully understand COVID-19 and its long-term impact, but it doesn’t mean we give up. It doesn’t mean we have to let go of our resolve and passion to make a social impact.
What we learned:
Remote work is the future
When COVID-19 hit no one in the world was prepared to fully make the transition of managing their operations online. There were so many daunting challenges and each one of us struggled to make things work. But we persisted. We invested in digital tools to make collaboration easier (we love our Zoom meetings now), made sure we have comfy spaces to work from at home (mostly our beds!), and helped each other along the way as a team.
We are still by no means perfect at this delicate digital dance, but we are confident enough that we have made the transition to a fully digital, remote organization for the future!
Digital creates explosive social impact
Digital has often been treated like a neglected child in the social impact and development space. Traditional development programs that reached out to communities often paid lip service to digital platforms, but with COVID-19, the entire process was slipped on its head and digital communications are now here to stay.
Staying at the forefront of innovation, White Rice expanded its digital operations significantly in 2020 and is now ready with a tailored solution that increases the Return of Investment (ROI) for social impact and gets measurable results.
Raising awareness for #RuralWomenFarmersofFAO
We worked on a special campaign for FAO, where we created an amazing Public Service Message (PSM) for them that highlighted the plight of rural women farmers in Pakistan.
We also launched a campaign around that to raise awareness, using a tailored Influencer strategy that resulted in 13 Million impressions, 20,000 views on Twitter, and endorsements by leading media names such as Hamid Mir (6.2 M Twitter followers).
Mobilizing a 50,000 strong community for Clean & Green Punjab in a pandemic
During the pandemic, Front-Line Workers (FLWs) for UNICEF’s Clean & Green Punjab project were unable to work. We devised a remote monitoring system that not only enabled them to return to the field but managed the project in a socially distant manner. Furthermore, we built a 50,000 strong community on Facebook that was highly engaged during the pandemic and was even used by the Government of Pakistan for raising COVID-19 awareness. Ultimately, the campaign was a huge success and gathered 34 Million Impressions and reached 12.6 million people.