SIX STEPS TO ADVOCACY
By Judyannet Muchiri
Social Media Editor, NAYD
Late last year I attended a session on advocacy that was within a conference focused on Alcohol Policy. These steps were given by Dr. Katherine Brown the director of The Institute of Alcohol Studies http://www.ias.org.uk/Home.aspx and though they were meant to address alcohol policy issues they can as well be applied in any area of advocacy that you can be involved with at the community.
Frame your issue and make your case
The main problem that you want to focus on must be stated clearly; build your case around the problem and your objectives. If the problem you want to address is the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among teenagers then you will state that including an aim to reduce the cases of teenage HIV/AIDS cases through a comprehensive sexuality education or policy change in the Ministry of Education to include Sexual education in the curriculum.
In any field there are a number of stakeholders who are affected by the problem at hand directly or indirectly, make sure to involve them. Stakeholders might vary depending on the issue at hand but they may include faith-based organizations, law enforcement, the civil society, trade unions and other institutions. In the case of the example mentioned above you might also include mainstream and informal schools. Reach out to this people and state you case to them their support will be important.
Include enforcement organizations early on in the campaign
As your advocacy kicks off you will need these organizations as you collect existing data that you will use to back up your rationale for the campaign. At an advanced stage when the campaign has reached momentum they will also come in handy in crafting policy language if your main focus was on getting a policy enacted. They will also be important in analyzing the responses the advocacy campaign is attracting.
Build power grassroots base for advocacy campaign
This statement couldn't be more relevant especially in the year 2015 which is characterized by the Post 2015 Development Agenda and has initiatives such as Action/2015 which is aimed at leaving no one behind. This means that everybody will play a significant role in the attainment of the SDGs, including people at the grassroots who might have been excluded before. In advocacy it is also important to have a strong connection with the people on the ground; identify and approach individuals who will speak out on behalf of your campaign, individuals who can also influence decision makers.
Influence policymakers to support your advocacy campaign
These are the people with a substantial amount of power to determine policy. Here you will need to do a power analysis by determining who the most important individuals in this area are, how to approach them, how to influence them, what their self-interest is and the best person within your advocacy campaign team to approach them. Answering these questions will place you in a better place with the people who will directly determine the outcome of your campaign.
Evaluate efforts and the advocacy campaign
After you have successfully conducted your campaign you need to do an evaluation to determine the challenges encountered; things to improve on next time, the successes; these are your strengths and they will influence your next campaign and also to communicate your success to the people, organizations and stakeholders who have supported you all along. Finally, keep the lines of communication between you and the stakeholders alive because they will come in handy in implementing the policy.
Good luck with your advocacy campaign.