Nairobits attended a partners workshop organized by Terre des Hommes from 7th to 10th May in Musoma Tanzania. The workshop was facilitated by Donald Kosangi who has wide experience in Advocacy and Policy Work and currently works with Governance Links.
The main objectives of the training were:
- Partner organizations become actively engaged in advocacy and policy influence
- Partner organizations become an active part of civil society in their respective regions and sectors
- Partner organizations improve representation of their target groups
- Partner organizations actively engage their target groups in decision making and in local committees
Public policy is a course of action, authorized by Government, to achieve certain goals. Such a course of action may take many forms for example a law, a strategy or a program or even a speech made by a President or Minister. Public policies are not created in a vacuum. Many people affected by these policies. Policies can also be seen as processes as they change as they are implemented and rarely conform to plan. Policies also have intended and unintended outcomes.
There are three levels at which human rights have something to offer in development:
- International level: global governance
- National level: improving systems of justice and legal protection
- Local level: rights-based development
Human rights provide a platform based on a conception of justice. Local actors will often be motivated by justice issues and convene on human rights issues. They give legal, and not only moral, legitimacy; they often open avenues for civil society advocacy and networking for example India, where campaigns against cast discrimination are organized around the human rights agenda.
There is an important role for human rights in accountability. They give citizens an avenue for control and also commitment from the state. Human rights have something to offer a pro-active state conscious of its obligations. ‘Collaborative activism’ can be used to describe a proactive community making claims, coupled with a state that is actively trying to address its duties on rights issues.
It is important to note that change is a process, not an event.Further, the process of change and development has never been regular, linear or distributed evenly.Hence, policy and Practice changes are departure points in advocacy.
Policy change is the area of human rights that is particularly challenging, as it is seen as a ‘political’ area. Though there is an internationally agreed human rights framework, with legally binding conventions and institutionalized monitoring mechanisms through the United Nations, human rights remain a controversial topic.
Advocacy is defined as a systematic succession of actions designed to persuade those in power to bring a change to a specified issue of public concern.It can also be viewed as efforts and actions which successfully influence decision makers to act on interests of stakeholders by effecting meaningful and acceptable policy change. Its a process to bring about change in the policies, laws and practices of influential individuals, groups and institutions.
Advocacy is NOT: community mobilization, networking and partnerships, awareness and behavior, building capacity of communities
Types of Advocacy
- Case Advocacy: Intervening to address an individual child or family problem
- Administrative Advocacy: Creating new policies, revising guidelines and resolving program problems through activities directed at administrative and governmental agencies with authority and discretion to change rules and regulations
- Legislative Advocacy: Working with elected officials to educate them about policies or programs and to inform them of the impact of the program in their home district including lobbying on specific bills or requested funding levels.
- Media Advocacy: Using media to increase public awareness and influence broader public debate about early childhood issues
Advocacy levels on the other hand include: Local / Grass root, National, Regional and International
The following are key Steps in an advocacy process
- Identify an issue
- Analyze the issue
- Define objectives and Outcomes
- Develop strategy
- Identify alliances /Opponents
- Identify &mobilize resources
- Implementation &Monitoring
- Evaluation and Learning
Advocacy as a process needs to engage with policy “duty bearers” and “right holders”, make evident the depth of study, stress arguments and perspective which attract the greatest number of allies, project issue rather than the organization and carefully involve, direct and guide the media.
Challenges experienced in advocacy on the other hand include:
- Organizational capacity and strategic vision
- Building alliances and coalitions
- Engagement not obvious
- Resources readiness
- The Policy dynamics
- Governance commitment
- Mapping advocacy results.
CIVIL SOCIETY INDEX (CSI)
This is an action-research project that aims to assess the state of civil society. It was developed by CIVICUS, an alliance of civil society organization with members in over 100 countries. The index uses a standard framework to assess the health and vitality of civil societies and then employ a graphical device-the ‘civil society diamond’. The Civil Society Diamond is shown below:
- Enhance the strength and sustainability of civil society
- Strengthen civil society’s contribution to positive social change
- To generate and share useful and relevant knowledge on the state of civil society
- To increase the capacity and commitment of civil society stakeholders to strengthen civil society
The approach taken by the CSI is to map civil society according to how close it is to being a healthy civil society, characterized by tolerance, human rights, gender equity, sustainable development, social justice, democracy and transparency.
Sources of Data Include: secondary data, media review, stakeholder consultation, fact finding and community samples
Scoring Methodology are indicator scores (ranging from 0 to 3)
Indicators are scored by using a “citizen jury” approach (Jefferson Center 2002), in which a group of citizens comes together to deliberate and make decisions on a public issue, based on presented facts.
Analysis is both qualitative and quantitative. However, the scoring exercise and the resulting Civil Society Diamond is only one part of a larger analysis of civil society that is captured in a comprehensive country report on the state of civil society.
Terre Des Hommes will organize a Child Protection Workshop that will run for four days. They will also run two CSI workshops: one on violence against children and the other topic will be decided at a later date. Terre Des Hommes will also be assessed at the end of the year thus they want all the partners to understand CSI.
Written by: Naomi Ragai – Project Manager, NairoBits Trust