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.