To date only individual, case specific demonstrations and protests seem to take place. There is no concerted, widely embraced effort to rally support for the broader issues. Let's examine the question of whether a formalized advocacy movement can suitably address this situation. I propose a formula by which to determine if a collective effort is necessary and feasible.
2. Gather information: Find out all the information possible about the situation. This may involve making visits, talking with all sides’ involved and carrying out research to find details of:
- the problem and its implications;
- possible solutions that could be proposed;
- targets – these are organizations or people who are responsible for the situation or can influence it, such as local and provincial government or employees;
- opportunities for influencing the targets such as appointments, public meetings, newsletters, sympathetic individuals or personal contacts;
- supporters and opponents Who would join you with their support? the media, churches, NGOs? Who might oppose you? Organizations, officials, individuals?
- risks and advantages What risks are involved
if action is taken or not taken? What advantages might there be in
taking action, or in not taking action?
We may feel we need more information and research and more help before we can make such a decision.
4. Plan: Once a decision is made, we need to work out a clear plan of action. This should include:
- the main problem
- the objectives of our advocacy work – such as a change in the law or challenging bad practice
- people who have the power to change the situation – the targets
- the methods and activities that will be appropriate to use for this situation, i.e. how to liaise with other supporting groups
- time schedule
- possible risks
- measures of success – how will we measure the results?
- Direct influence - (lobbying) on the target This could include writing letters to officials, meeting with them, providing information and research findings that may be of interest to the target group, inviting officials to visit and learn more about the situation themselves or attending public meetings already arranged by the target group.
- Campaigning - Campaigning involves telling others about the situation in a way that encourages them to take action. It could include arranging public meetings, silent demonstrations or marches, writing newsletters, providing information sheets.
- Media work - Using the media to spread the message expands awareness of the situation though less directly than by campaigning. Media work can include writing an article or letter for a newspaper or magazine, producing a press release, talking on the radio, working with journalists to explain the situation.
It may be very helpful to make a list of things that have been successful and the things that have failed. For example:
After evaluating what has happened, what changes could we make? Is further action still required? If it is beneficial, repeat the cycle and work out a new strategy.
This Blog has been advocating the return of three children to their biological parents, Paul and Zabeth Bayne, for which a ruling is expected from Judge Crabtree within the next two weeks. Stay posted.