ALISON, the online learning platform, has been selected by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) as the best Irish candidate for the EU Civil Solidarity Award.
ALISON received the award for its free online course, Coronavirus: What you Need to Know, developed and published in February 2020 to educate as many people as possible about COVID-19, its spread, and its effects.
The course is based on guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the content is continuously updated to include the latest data. The course has given people all over the world access to potentially life-saving information.
Coronavirus: What you Need to Know was translated into more than 70 languages in less than four months, with the help of 5 000 volunteers, many of whom were immigrants. The course is certifiable, which means people can assess how much they have learned at the end. Approximately 350,000 people had completed the course by September 2020, with some 100,000 people signing on in one single day.
Presenting the awards, EESC’s vice-president for communication, Cillian Lohan, said:
“The EESC has repeatedly stressed that solidarity and targeted shared action are key to surviving such a pandemic. The only effective response to a crisis such as this pandemic is to act quickly, decisively, and together. There are lessons here for dealing with other crises whether they are social, economic, or environmental.
“Civil society has been at the forefront of all solidarity actions and without their help on the ground, the price paid for this pandemic would be much higher. All the projects we received are proof of selfless citizen and grassroots engagement, showing the contribution of civil society in this fight to be enormous. With this prize, we are acknowledging the people and organisations making a difference in these unprecedented times. It is an honour to be able to celebrate together.”
Mike Feerick, CEO and Founder of ALISON, said:
“As Europe’s largest free learning platform, we understood the opportunity and responsibility upon us to disseminate information and advice about the threat of COVID-19 in January 2020. A learning platform like Alison has the potential to spread certifiable information for the public good extremely quickly in multiple languages.”
“We particularly welcomed the help of ALISON’s volunteers from Europe’s immigrant population, who helped with translations across the world. We see our work, and that of our volunteers, as not just part of an effort of Europeans helping fellow Europeans, but Europeans making a very positive civil society contribution across the world.”
ALISON’s project is one of 23 from the EU and the UK that have received awards for their outstanding contribution to fighting COVID-19. Among the winners was a project with a cross-border focus, and another by an organisation from the United Kingdom, showing that the EESC wishes to keep close ties with UK civil society despite the fact that the country has left the EU.
Each award winner received a prize worth €10,000.
SOURCE: Materials provided by ALISON
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