Advocacy is a difficult process to define; there are no internationally agreed upon definitions of advocacy so therefore defining advocacy is often a process in itself.
In the context of international development, organisations often give their own definitions of advocacy which range from broad to specific definitions. However, general advocacy activities in the context of development typically relate to a process where individuals, groups or communities try to influence policy and decision-makers. These groups aim to change policy, procedures and/or practice by focusing upon and minimising the structural causes of poverty and disadvantage. Advocacy is a means to achieving equity and social justice through the empowerment of disadvantaged groups, including people with disabilities, so they actively participate and are directly included in decision making processes affecting their lives. Advocacy activities typically cover a broad range of activities such as awareness-raising, lobbying, public relations and influencing specific legislation.
Advocacy is key to challenge barriers to inclusion and improve policy, environmental and attitudinal factors so people with disabilities are fully supported, enabled, included and empowered to participate fully on an equal basis in society. This is supported by the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), with a particular focus on article 8.
This key list draws together a selection of advocacy resources that highlight information about how to initiate and manage advocacy campaigns, implement awareness-raising activities, engage in lobbying and/or public relations, and influence specific legislation. The resources feature both mainstream and disability-specific strategies and tools. We welcome your feedback: please send comments or suggested additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"In development processes, participation of civil society organisations (CSOs) is a critical factor for the promotion of sustainable development. In a democratic society there are many different groups, often with competing interests. In order to make the voices of a group heard - and to bring specific opinions and needs to the attention of policy makers and development organisations - advocacy can be an effective tool." This key information sheet explores the importance, purpose and goals of advocacy and outlines ten practical steps to successful advocacy
Key information sheet 4
This comprehensive action guide provides an approach for building people’s participation and collective power that goes beyond influencing policy and politics to transforming public decision-making. It offers easily adaptable 'modules' for NGOs trainers, activists, grass-roots organisations, who wish to develop ideas around advocacy. One of the strengths is that it focuses on peoples participation and explores ideas relating to power and politics in citizen-centred advocacy. It emphasises power and constituency-building discussed through the lens of gender/race/class and is based upon the concrete experiences of social change worldwide
It also offers facilitators tips, sample exercises and easily adaptable handouts, along with core information to support anyone through the learning process. Based on long-term experience of a range of practitioners, the guide provides well-tested methods for promoting citizen participation and practical ways of realising a rights-based approach.
The contents, chapters 1, 3, 5, 10 and 13 can be accessed electronically
This second volume of Tearfund's Advocacy Toolkit is a step-by step guide to planning an advocacy activity, large or small, and consists mainly of tools and exercises. The introduction describes the planning process and outlines a Summary Advocacy Strategy. The following sections describe five parts of the planning cycle in detail
This is the first volume of Tearfund's Advocacy Toolkit, which covers advocacy's links with development, and the biblical basis for advocacy. It is Tearfund's main advocacy training resource, and is aimed primarily at local communities, and their churches and NGOs
"The Community Advocates training manual is a curriculum developed by Population Council, Nigeria under the HIV Prevention Project for Vulnerable Youth in Northern Nigeria funded by USAID/Nigeria. The curriculum was developed as a tool for training community advocates to conduct advocacy activities on the issues of early marriage, HIV/AIDS and reproductive health. The curriculum is developed on the premise that community representatives can speak out on issues concerning their lives and community, if given the necessary skills"
"The Training Guide was developed as a tool for ‘Mobilising Communities for Young People’s Health and Rights: An Advocacy Toolkit for Programme Managers’, which is designed to assist programme planners and managers in designing, conducting, and evaluating advocacy campaigns to advance the implementation of existing policies, with a specific focus on young people’s sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and rights. The Training Guide was developed with the view that community-based advocacy is a crucial intervention, and that much more needs to be done to equip grassroots groups, networks, and organisations with the information and advocacy skills to demand that community needs and priorities be addressed. The Training Guide is specifically designed for use with community-based organisations, youth groups, and other grassroots partners that are interested in improving access to SRH information and services for youth. The five-day training leads participants through the essential steps in designing and planning an advocacy campaign. The Training Guide includes a number tools specifically designed to help grassroots partners formulate advocacy goals and objectives, and map out a comprehensive advocacy plan"
Disability-specific advocacy guides/tools
This manual is a training resource to further the understanding of the meaning of inclusive development, and to provide useful tools for designing, planning, lobbying and advocacy actions. The manual is divided into six topic chapters that follow a developmental logic. This manual is useful for DPOs, and other individuals and social organisations that are interested in the issue of inclusive development in Central America
"This toolkit is designed as a practical resource for disabled people's organisations (DPOs), particularly those working in the global South, on how to use research knowledge in their programmes, campaigning and advocacy work"
Note: contact publisher to request copies of this toolkit in alternative formats
This guide provides self-help advocacy advice for people with disabilities. It includes explanations, exercises and resources that provide clarity on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and outlines how to advocate and influence legislation. This resource would be useful for anyone with an interest in human rights, advocacy and influencing legislation
"This TOT training manual was developed by HI Laos to facilitate the process of effective and meaningful inclusion, empowerment, promotion and protection of the rights of people with disabilities." Practical exercises, cases studies, questionnaires and checklists are provided
Based on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, this comprehensive educational tool is designed to promote awareness and encourage national and community organisations to integrate disability issues into their advocacy work
“This practical guide outlines the Making it Work methodology. Making it Work aims to mobilise a group of organisations around a specific issue, document good examples of good practices and then support specific target groups to replicate or scale-up these practices...It provides a straightforward and flexible methodology that can be adapted to different organisations, topics, settings, strategies and available resources”
"This toolkit is has been developed to guide advocacy efforts for groups of people with mental disorders at local and national level. Its activities are participatory by nature so as to add flavour to every group meeting. It uses the term "activity leader" to promote shared leadership, and provides a variety of activities for the groups to choose from as they plan for and execute their advocacy campaign"
Examples of advocacy methods, tools and strategies
DFID’s major advocacy activities focus on influencing agencies and governments to invest in infrastructure. However, it is hard to find concrete evidence of the contributions that advocacy makes towards poverty eradication. These guidelines describe an approach that many NGOs take to assess advocacy impacts. There are different types of advocacy impacts, known as different dimensions of change, and these guidelines describe some indicators for the following dimensions: changes in policies and their implementation; private sector change; strengthening civil society; and aiding democracy and improving the material situation of individuals. Participatory monitoring and evaluation asks the people being affected by a project whether it has made a difference. However, this is often more complex than standard evaluation systems and it is necessary to be clear about the goals of the process and who should be involved. In order to assess impact, it is necessary to know the existing situation prior to advocacy, and to monitor progress against this. Once you have the information, it needs to be analysed. Lessons can then be learned and evaluation results used to demonstrate that advocacy works
"This guide offers a brief introduction to how to use cross-posting for online advocacy campaign. It reviews different web 2.0 tools, showcasing successful examples where cross-posting has been used for advocacy. The guide also includes the pros and cons of the cross-posting technique"
Advocacy 2.0 guide
"This manual offers an introduction to information design. It is intended to provide NGOs with a useful and powerful tool for advocacy and research"