maandag 30 maart 2009

Advocacy & Policy Influencing
Last week (23-27 March 2009) I followed a very inspiring course at the International NGO Training & Reserach Centre (INTRAC) in Oxford in Advocacy & Policy Influencing.

It was inspiring both for the diversity of the participants as for the content of the course.

The participants were all very experienced in the field and came from a variety of countries: Niger, Benin, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, a Zambian stationed in Fiji, Moldava and Slovenia. But also from different types of organisations: Unicef, UNDP, a Farmer Organisation, a health NGO, an umbrella NGO in citizen's participation and two consumer NGO's.

Key concepts
Although it is difficult to share the practical experiences of the different participants, I am able to share the key concepts of the course:

* Advocacy is more than only public campaigning. It contains research to produce evidence, lobbying, media coverage, working with allies in combination with public campaigns. But for a successful policy change you don't need all strategies always for all issues.

* The opposition matrix: Analise the arguments of your opponent thoroughly and use this in your campaign. If you only use your own arguments, you only convince people who are already convinced.

* Use unexpected allies: Do not look only for like minded NGO's in your coalition, it is more convincing if you have for example local government, companies and international organisations on your sight if you want to change government policy

* Use parliamentarians to put pressure on ministers. If you can persuade people in parliament to ask questions in parliament, this could accelerate the decision making process, because the minister has to react on questions in parliament

* Planning for success: advocacy does not stop when the desired change becomes policy. Plan for that time! You have to monitor the implementation phase and keep the pressure on the government, because sometimes policy is never implemented. Governments are not always sure how to implement and you might be able to assist.

* An effective campaign should pass the TEA test: it it should Touch people. It needs to make a connection with its target to prompt a response, but that is not enough. It convinces its target that there is a solution for the problem that touched the people, so it should Enthuse them. But the third part is the most important: the target should Act based on your message.

* For a good campaign you need to have a clear message, a simple solution, clear outrage, use of the media, political support, have good allainces and get people to act. You should be able to summarize your key message in 15 seconds for your elevator pitch.

* Rich picture: Use Rich picture as a tool: it illustrate the key factors of your issue, it could show the situation in all its complexity in the form of a cartoon type representation.

* The importance of M&E: measure the success of your activities in terms of output, outcome and impact. Impact assessment is the most important and this should be participative to include the end users. But that is something what we at IICD already clearly understood and have incorporated.

* The fun to design a campaign: With a small group we had to present a campaign against illegal dumping in the rivers of Anylandia that causes health problems for our children

Links for further reading

* BOND (British Overseas NGOs for development)
* Communication Initiative
* The advocacy toolkit from Tearfund
* Campaign Effectiveness Programme
* Advocacy Source Book Wateraid 2007

woensdag 18 maart 2009

Educator an Zambia HIV/AIDS prevention game

Who could support the conversion of the Educator HIV/AIDS prevention game into an online game?
During my last trip to Zambia in February 2009 I had a meeting with Mr Benson Mwembeshi, an enthusiastic advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention. He has developed a game that will help people to discuss taboo issues around HIV/AIDS during the game in their local language. Mr Mwembeshi is looking for support to reach a larger audience. His game is endorsed by the Ministry of Education in Zambia and the National AIDS Counsil. He would like to reach out to 30,000 students, he has an agreement with the minister of Education, but they don't have the funding. He also would like to convert it into an online game. The prototype looks fine and is well tested. Any ideas where he could look for funding?

See the video he produced about the "Educator"

vrijdag 13 maart 2009

GINKS Focus Grouop

Key results analysis questionnaires

Margaret Kyiu gave a presentation of the key results:

  • Annual review 2008 based on 115 questionnaires, 77 online and 44 filled on paper

  • 24% who filled in were female (26% of the members of GINKS are women, this is almost same)

  • 83% had education up to the tertiary level as against 100% in 2007 and 85% in 2006

  • 45% live in the capital city as against 69% in 2007 and 75% in 2006

  • 74% of respondents said the objectives of the network are clear

  • 37% said they had not achieved their goals for participating

  • 67% of respondents experienced awareness

  • Knowledge sharing is 69% (up by 19%)

  • Lobbying and advocacy and policy participation is 52%

  • Gender impact is 51%

  • More female (64%) see gender impacts than male (47%).

  • Group discussions

    The participants were divided into 4 groups, with each group given a focus to deliberate upon and come up with recommendation which will form bases for the action plan.


    impressions of the Focus Group meeting

     Group 1 Lobby, Advocacy & Policy Influencing

    • In what areas should GINKS be able to advocate for or to influence policy?
    • How
      members could be more involved in Lobbying, Advocacy and Policy influence?
    • In which ways could we engage policy makers the more?

    On the first issue, the group said that GINKS must prepare and present paper (inputs) to parliament when passing a bill

    On HOW MEMBERS CAN GET INVOLVED, the group came up with the following:

    • Build capacity of members in lobbying and advocacy
    • Constitute committee on lobbying and advocacy for the network
    • Team up with organisers with ICT skills
    • Use of educational institutions
    • Collate views from members in the communities in the rural areas

    On WAYS TO ENGAGE POLICY MAKERS, the group said that GINKS should involve
    them in GINKS activities

  • Interact more and more with them to ensure their commitment
  • Pick and follow up on their statements (for GINKS)
  • Seek
    for their sponsorship (for GINKS)

  • Group 2 Low female participation in the network

    • Why is Female participation is still low in the network and How can we improve it; and
    • Why members feel that the viewpoint of men and women are not well integrated in activities and how it can we improve

    why female participation is low on the network, the members of group 2 gave the
    following reasons:

    • Non conscious efforts to involve women in ICT
    • Time of network activities
    • Socio-cultural factors
    • Techno
      centric nature of ICT

    They thus recommended the following as ways through which this can improve:

    • Conscious efforts to involve more women in activities of the network
    • Good
      timing of network activities
    • Education / awareness creation
    • Practical
      orientation on ICT tools
    • Activities / issues more beneficial to women

    On why members feel that the viewpoint of men and women are not well integrated in activities, they said that it is due to Lack of effective participation in the network by women. They thus
    recommended that

    • issues that concern and interest women should be raised; and
    • women
      participation should be encouraged

     Group 3 High educational level of members

    • Why there is a skew in GINKS towards tertiary education and how we can reach out to
      people outside tertiary education (Secondary, primary,) in terms of membership
      and services; and
    • How we should reach out to people who cannot read and write

    On the first issue, the group held the view that there is actually no tilt but a decline in the tertiary level, but that the secondary and primary level is a national problem. They thus
    recommended that:

    • Govt should build more conducive learning environments for secondary  and primary schools
    • GINKS and other private stakeholders should advocate for ICT policies friendly to
      primary to secondary schools, so that people that end up stopping at those levels will still have adequate e-literacy
    • Infrastructural issues should be dealt with also
    • GINKS
      should advocate that the school authorities in primary and sec school to give the students more access to computer labs and for trainers to be provided for the schools
    • Contact
      with organisations that work with SMEs (especially membership organisations) in order to set up trainings in the use of ICTs
    • Awareness is also necessary

    On reaching out to the people who cannot read and write, the group recommended the repackaging of information through mediums and languages they can understand – e.g, pictures, video, radio

    Group 4 Non achievement of goals

    • What kind of goals do members expect to achieve within GINKS?
    • Why do members don’t achieve their goals? How can we improve on it?
    • Why do so many people from rural areas not achieve their goals? How do we improve it?

    In answering these questions, the group 4
    members in analysing the fact that 37% of GINKS members are not aware of the objectives of the organisation, held that familiarity with GINKS objectives is a necessary foundation to whether or not the members achieve their goals. They based their assessment on the following thematic areas:

    • Information and knowledge sharing
    • Networking (through the networking, one can also meet his aspirations)
    • Knowledge and skills acquisition for local content development
    • Conferences and workshops

    Mismatch objectives

    • Unrealistic expectations (people’s intention to attend many conferences, programmes etc.)
    • Awareness creation – Raising the level of awareness and objectives of GINKS
    • Practicing on the skills we have acquired and sharing those skills with others

    Easy / regular access to ICT tools (infrastructure)

    • Low education level