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Monday, August 8, 2011

"SAY" Advocacy Training Review: Examples of Advocacy

Review of Examples of Advocacy

What is Advocacy?

“Advocacy is defined as any action that speaks in favor of, recommends, argues for a cause, supports or defends, or pleads on behalf of others.” (Alliance for Justice)

Activism and Lobbying are types of Advocacy:

· Activism – the action part of advocacy

· Lobbying – attempting to influence the decisions of officials

How to go about Advocating:

· Be gracious – always thank the person you are sharing with for their time

· Be professional – dress and act professionally

· Be focused – talk about one issue

· Do your homework – research the person’s position on the issue you will be speaking to them about

· Make a personal connection – let the person know if you have any friends, relatives, or colleagues in common; it is especially important to tell them if you are a constituent

· Consider yourself an information source – encourage the person’s questions about the issue and offer more information

· Tell the truth – do not provide false or misleading information

· Know who else is on your side – let the person know what other groups, individuals, state agencies, and/or legislators are working on the same issue

· Know the opposition – know the individuals and organizations that may be in opposition and be prepared to provide clarification and rebuttal

· Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know something – but if you don’t know something, get the information and provide it promptly

· Be specific in what you ask for – say what you want directly and make sure to get a yes or no response

· Follow up – send a letter that restates your opinion and thanks for their support or asks for an explanation if they did not support

· Stay informed – policy decisions and legislation are constantly changing and it is important to stay up to date

· Don’t burn any bridges – do not get into a heated argument, it is more important to maintain a good relationship

· Remember, you are the boss – do not be intimated, the government works for you


Examples of Effective Advocacy (for Family Planning and Reproductive Health):

· Kenya – Youth Initiatives Project developed a campaign to show leaders that providing youth with health information and services could address many reproductive health concerns.

· Turkey – 17 women’s organizations formed a coalition to promote equality for women. Together they were able to obtain new government funding for contraceptives.

· The Philippines – the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines provided persuasive information about the benefits of family planning to refute the criticisms of religious groups who claimed family planning is “anti-child, anti-family, and anti-life”.

· Bolivia – A coalition of Bolivian family planning organizations developed a campaign to make the topic of family planning less taboo and to promote public discussion.

· Jordan – the Jordan National Population Commission focused on reaching male religious leaders, physicians, social workers, and other community opinion leaders in an effort to increase men’s approval of modern contraceptives.

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