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Advocacy – two approaches

Advocacy aims to alter the ways in which power, resources, and ideas are created, used and distributed so that people and organisations have a better chance of controlling their own development.

The opportunities for CSOs to effect policy are increasing for three main reasons

bulletthe rise of participatory development and participatory democracy
bulletworking with partners in a rights-based approach gives a more powerful voice,
bulletCSOs are increasingly expected to become service providers as a means of compensating for cuts in government expenditure and therefore have a more direct involvement in policy development.

There are two approaches to advocacy

Abolitionist approach{Radical and Revolutionary}

Target the political level.

This approach attempts to influence high-level processes, structures and patterns of thinking. It takes on massive interest groups and requires a huge base of support if it is to achieve its aims(eg debt campaign and Jubilee 2000}. It is likely be critical of the way things are normally done and therefore to be confrontational and possibly opposed by the established powers.

Reformist approach{Evolutionary,Gradual and Constructive Engagement}

Target the technical and regional levels.

This approach tries to influence specific policies, programmes or projects often at a local or district level. It involves talking with people who are open to change but it needs a high level of technical knowledge based on practical experience if the views of the CSO are to be taken seriously(eg gender and treatment of old people). Advocacy in this form is likely to take place behind closed doors and is co-operative.

Target particular people

Spend time developing relationships with the people who are key to the success of your campaign. Think about targets in terms of individuals rather than institutions. ‘The Ministry of Education does not exist’. Find out as much as you can about the individual, and about the aims, objectives and plans of their organisation.

Define your primary targets as those people who are in the best position to achieve what you want done. If your chosen route to that particular person is not working, take a step back and look for a new 'way in'.

bulletWho are the primary targets for your organisation?
bulletWhat do you need to know about them, and/or their organisation, that you do not already know?
bulletWhat have you learned from past experiences that did not work?

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