rise of advocacy
Advocacy campaigns by those with less power attempting to influence those with power over them have existed as long as the power inequalities themselves. Trade Unions and Labour movements commonly engage in lobbying and advocacy of different types. Support for such movements on the part of better off ‘advocates ‘ with specific expertise, knowledge or contacts in the existing power structures has also generally been part of such movements.
From the mid 1990s the increasing openness of many government and international systems to democratic processes and the increasing recognition of citizens’ rights advocacy was increasingly seen as an effective means of bringing about pro-poor change. There was a growth in specialist advocacy organisations, particularly international NGOs which increased the number and range of campaigns undertaken and levels of international organization and visibility. The World Bank set up a Community Empowerment and Social Inclusion Learning Program (CESI). Advocacy became an important element in the programmes supported by USAID, AUSAID, CIDA and DFID.
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Advocacy issue/objective: Does the vision and goal of the advocacy promote gender justice? Very often advocacy campaigns do not include gender issues as part of their goal. On the other hand feminist advocacy is often seen as adversarial rather than bringing men on board.
Who is involved? Are women as well as men intended to benefit? Are women as well as men seen as leaders and advocates? Which women? There is often a split between the intended beneficiaries and the advocates which can undermine the advocacy process.
Information and research: Most advocacy requires research and information to support the campaign. The advocacy process itself also requires monitoring of the effectiveness of the activities. Are gender dimensions included in the research and monitoring priorities?
Negotiation and communication: Who is involved in advocacy activities? Awareness-raising, capacity-building, organising, lobbying?
Who is involved in decision-making on all the above? Are women adequately represented on the decision-making bodies?
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