Farahway Global is a non-profit organization that engages the global public in action for human rights and mental health. It was founded by Farah N. Mawani (@farah_way), co-founder of Free the Hikers. It builds on Farah’s experience directing the social media and public engagement components of Free the Hikers, which played a large role in freeing Josh Fattal, Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd, held hostage in Iran for 2 years and 2 months.
In collaboration with the core campaign team, Farah developed a social media portfolio (Facebook, twitter, YouTube, community blog, etc.) closely integrated with the website, public event, media and diplomacy components of the campaign. She centrally organized global events for the campaign that peaked with 40 events around the world at the one year mark of captivity for Sarah, Shane and Josh. The global reach of the events grew exponentially through Farah’s creative use of social media to engage large numbers of people unable to participate in the events in-person. For example, at its peak, when Shane and Josh were released, the campaign Facebook page included 31 000 supporters. The number of YouTube views on the most popular campaign video reached 364 000.
Building global support within the incredibly complex and sensitive sociopolitical context of the Free the Hikers campaign was challenging on multiple levels. Farah applied her experience in leadership, community engagement and global social justice to carefully navigate the sensitive relationships. As a result, the campaign was successful at engaging and garnering the support of people around the world, including high-profile public figures and diverse members of the general public of all ages, through a sophisticated integration of website, media, social media, public statements and public events.
Farah has been interviewed about the campaign on CBC Radio’s As It Happens (during campaign and after release), CBC Radio News, CBC TV’s Connect with Mark Kelley, NBC’s The Today Show, NTN24 (upon release and after first seeing Shane and Josh). She has also been interviewed for articles about the campaign featured in The Atlantic. She has made presentations on the Campaign at McGill University, Montreal, QC and Rally, San Francisco, CA. She has also written about the campaign on the Huffington Post and Intent.com.
Farah’s expertise integrating social media and public engagement on a global scale is sought by organizations, businesses, political and advocacy campaigns, and leading publications in multiple sectors. Her expertise in global mental health is sought by organizations, policy makers, service providers, researchers and students. It is in increasing demand from organizations and professionals who need to enhance their understanding of trauma in order to better serve their clients.