March 9, 2016 —
“The lessons and evidence from this case study on collective advocacy show how critical grassroots advocates are to decision-making…. I feel the excitement and the enthusiasm many grassroots organizations have expressed about collective advocacy and the potential it holds for helping us attract the attention of UN decision-makers.” — William Kudzo Gati, CEO of JS Fund for Hope in Ghana
In September 2015, the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 4, which ensures “inclusive and equitable quality education and promotes lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
For nearly four years leading up to September, Women Thrive and members of our Alliance for Women’s Solutions working on girls’ education mounted a collective advocacy campaign to ensure this language was adopted. Our new report profiles this work and presents a blueprint for grassroots advocates to be able to successfully advocate at the highest global levels, including at the United Nations.
Key Lessons Include:
- Take the time to build relationships, not just the number of coalition members.
Only by cultivating relationships between advocacy partners can there truly be power in numbers.
- Evidence-based messaging counts and works.
When messages link high-level policy to community level empowerment and participation, decision-makers listen and incorporate recommendations in policy development.
- Diversity is the foundation of effective collective voice.
The more diverse the advocates, the more relevant the collective voice.
- Advocates should have access to multi-dimensional advocacy capacity strengthening.
To be effective, collective advocacy research, training, coaching, tools, and engagement should be collaborative, representative, and hands-on.
- Whose message and the messenger matter.
Messaging and capacity strengthening efforts must prioritize the importance of advancing the priorities and solutions of people living in poverty (especially women and girls) if development policy is to work for everyone.