The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

Special Project

Special Project
From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards


Entered in LGBTQ Community Engagement


The objective of the campaign by the World Health Organization (WHO) was to address the public health emergency of mpox outbreak (formerly known as monkeypox) in non-endemic countries by providing accurate, timely information through social media channels in multiple languages. 

Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms similar to smallpox, although less severe. While smallpox was eradicated in 1980, mpox continues to occur in countries of central and west Africa. Since May 2022, a high proportion of cases were also reported from countries without previously documented mpox transmission outside the African region. 

The campaign aimed at informing the critically affected population - men having sex with men - so that they are able to take steps to better protect themselves and their loved ones. A key mission of the campaign was to also mitigate all forms of stigma, discrimination and misinformation on mpox so that the affected communities are able to access the prevention,  testing, care and treatment they need, feel supported and are able to report their symptoms. The campaign was curated by listening to the affected communities so that information is timely,  transparent, clear, community and country-specific, coherent and authentic. We created social media products that our offices across the globe could use for concerted outreach and amplification, including combating any form of misinformation.

Strategy and Execution

In May 2022, the WHO saw the start of an outbreak of mpox (monkeypox) in twelve countries that were not endemic for the monkeypox virus. The outbreak in many regions continues to mainly affect some communities of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. By mid-May 2022, the situation evolved rapidly. And on 23rd July 2022,  it was declared to be a public health emergency of international concern. While cases were registered in six regions, most were found in Europe and the UK. Currently, the maximum number of cases are registered in the Americas.

In any emergency, time is of the essence. Accurate and timely information, therefore, becomes essential in controlling an outbreak. This outbreak was primarily due to close skin-to-skin contact - including sexual contact. The tone and messaging of the campaign had a rights-based approach. We addressed stigma and discrimination throughout the campaign so that the health, human rights and dignity of the affected communities are protected.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s Director General, says “Stigma and discrimination can be as dangerous as any virus”. The lessons from the global HIV epidemic have been that stigma and discrimination must be actively tackled.  Not only is stigma dangerous it also causes great harm to communities, stopping people from seeking treatment. 

We barely had a few weeks to pull together the campaign. We engaged patients, at-risk affected populations, LGBTQI+ community organizations, and advocates. WHO’s mpox campaign was curated by actively listening to their testimonies.

 Our campaign addressed:


We created - 


WHO’s mpox social campaign was on all WHO channels across regions and country offices. The material was also used by partners, stakeholders, event organizers, public health agencies, ministries of health, local clinics, LGBTQI+ advocacy groups and more.  Our outreach was phenomenal. The campaign raised awareness about the mpox outbreak, especially among the at-risk population i.e. men who have sex with men. 

The campaign reached 63 million users (of which organic reach was 23 million users) across Facebook and Instagram. The engagement across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok was 534,848. The videos produced for this campaign garnered 5,619,798 views across all platforms, while some videos from the WHO Europe and Africa region were boosted via ad credits.

Our campaign was based on extensive consultations with at-risk communities. Roundtables were organized in Montenegro, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and the Czech Republic. This helped our messages to be targeted, and timely. While we cannot cite direct evidence as to how many people changed their behaviour, based on our messages, we do know that the cases of mpox decreased substantially in the European Region. The WHO content was cited across public health channels and in the media. Also, event organizers embedded our messages on their respective platforms. Events in Lithuania, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Malta added information on mpox to their channels. 

The campaign's success resulted from a fruitful collaboration between WHO’s various teams working on social media, emergency communication,  risk communication and community engagement. 



Entrant Company / Organization Name

World Health Organization


Entry Credits