STRATEGIES FOR EFFECTIVE ADVOCACY
Case one: the family law campaign, Ethiopia
Meaza Ashenafi, Executive Director, the EWLA
The EWLA’s public education on women programme offers free services. It has worked towards changing laws biased against women. This is advocacy work, which has a multiplying effect. Once the EWLA highlights an issue, others join in the cause. The use of media and film have therefore been one key advocacy strategy.
The successes of the ELWA are with respect to both civil law (family law, maternity leave law and pension law for women) as well as criminal law (regarding punishments for crimes against women). Lessons learnt are to:
- Advocate on the basis of our own expertise (for example, the case of Aberash, a woman who killed the man who had abducted her was used to highlight not only her case, but the plight of Ethiopian women in general through a British Broadcasting Corporation documentary);
- Assign tasks according to people’s attitudes and strong points;
- Provide clear information;
- Make strong alliances.
Case two: How the �secularist� and the �Archbishop� found common cause, Kenya
Atsango Chesoni, consultant, FEMNET
This advocacy case study relates to the reformulation of the Kenyan constitution.
In 1992, Kenyans realised they needed constitutional reform to make the government more democratic. The debates were controversial. And the advocacy effort was unusual in that organisations which do not normally work together joined hands (including human rights organisations as well as religious organisations from different faiths and sects).
In 1997, the government expressed its interest but only wanted to engage with the religious organisations. This was naturally dangerous for women organisations. They began coordinating different women’s organisations and recommendations reflecting the women’s position were drafted. The organisations own media, as well as the mainstream media were used to show that the religious organisations did not necessarily represent all sections of the citizenry. In addition, a religious women’s order, the Sisters of Kenya, were approached to join the women’s constitutional effort. By working with the Sisters of Kenya, the position of the women’s organisations was difficult for the government to dismiss.
The strategy was successful. Discussions were held among the different religious and secular organisations, resulted in an amendment to Article 82 of the Kenyan Constitution, including sex as a protected ground on which discrimination cannot occur.
Lessons learnt were that it is key to:
- Be creative about using issues and/or situations to our advantage;
- Make contacts with the appropriate people;
- Develop trust to enable honest discussion and negotiation;
- Find common ground.
It is important to note that all advocacy efforts take time to achieve results. And it is also important to acknowledge the contributions of all individuals and organisations to a successful advocacy effort.
Building alliances is critical and coordination of those alliances is important. It helps to bring ‘experts’ on board. It also helps to work with relevant and sympathetic government bodies, particularly those removed from government politics.
Planning for advocacy
Planning helps us to identify issues, as well as our aims and objectives. It helps us develop our strategy (what issue to raise, when, to whom and by whom, what alliances to make and with whom, what resources we need and from whom, etc). It helps us keep our direction as well as monitor and evaluate our progress.
Planning therefore helps us make the maximum use of our resources (budget, labour, time, etc). It helps us to identify why advocacy is sometimes not sustained, as has happened to some advocacy in Ethiopia.
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ROLE OF MONITORING AND EVALUATION
Monitoring is important. It should be a continuous process as it can be done at four stages, in assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation.
In assessment stage, problems are identified, and discussed with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that a holistic view of the problems has been achieved. Planning is then done based on identified problems, seeking out additional information on the issues. During implementation, monitoring analyses weaknesses and strengths of the activities planned and help the implementers to improve. Evaluation is done at the conclusion of activities planned and adjusted.
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GENDER RESPONSIVE INDICATORS
Dr Konjit Fekade, gender consultant
An indicator is a pointer, which is used to measure changes in a specific condition over a specified period of time. It can provide a look at the results of actions and initiatives. It is an instrument to monitor and evaluate development work.
Input indicators measure the delivery of resources devoted to a project’s activities. They are measures to monitor achievement during implementation, and serve primarily to track progress towards the intended results.
Output indicators measure intermediate results, for example, at a point when a funder’s involvement in a project is close to complete.
Outcome indicators relate to the longer-term results of the project, after a funder’s involvement is complete.
Input, output and outcome indicators can be either quantitative or qualitative. Quantitative indicators are numerical measurements of change, such as the number of women visiting a pre-natal counselling centre. Qualitative indicators relate to people�s perceptions, such as opinions regarding alterations in authority, social relations or status. They can be quantified.
To develop a work plan with indicators:
- identify objectives;
- identify external factors as enabling or potential risks;
- decide which types of indicators are appropriate to measure achievement of the objectives and over what time frame;
- develop qualitative analysis.
Objectives must be clearly developed if indicators are to be used, and indicators should follow objectives closely. There are two types of objectives:
- Objectives of which the results are relatively easily quantifiable (for example, to increase gross enrolment rates by 50 per cent at the primary school level in the project area);
- Objectives of which the results are less easily quantifiable and which will require greater emphasis on qualitative analysis to measure them (for example, to ensure gender equality in the project area).
Quantitative indicators will tell you, for example, how many people participated in a project, but will give little information about the degree, nature and effects of their participation. Qualitative analysis is therefore used to understand of social processes, why and how a particular situation came into being, and how this situation can be changed in the future. While quantitative indicators will tell you how far your project has succeeded or failed, qualitative analysis will tell you why this result took place, and whether the result was a good one or not.
In developing indicators for objectives, the following guidelines can be used:
- Each stage of the project cycle needs indicators;
- Indicators must fit with objectives;
- Indicators of enabling/risk factors should be included;
- Both quantitative and qualitative indicators are needed;
- Indicators should be developed in a participatory fashion, involving all stakeholders wherever possible;
- All indicators should be gender desegregated.
Why gender responsive indicators?
- Since mainstream indicators (for example, gross national product) have been used to obscure or undervalue women�s contribution to society, quantitative and qualitative gender sensitive indicators illustrate women�s and men�s participation in different aspects of social life;
- Gender responsive indicators measure gender related changes in society;
- They point out how far and in what ways development programmes and projects have met their gender objectives achieved results related to gender equality.
Examples of gender responsive indicators include:
- Women’s control over fertility decisions;
- The number of women in local organisations (for example, women�s associations);
- The extent of training among women, as compared to men;
- Women’s mobility within and outside their residential locality, as compared with men’s mobility.
- The enforcement of legislation related to the protection of women’s human rights;
- The number of cases related to women�s human rights heard in local courts and the results of such cases;
- The decrease or increase in cases of violence against women.
- The percentage of women in the civil service;
- The percentage of seats held by women in decision-making bodies;
- The percentage of women in decision-making positions in government.