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Evidence-based Advocacy. Serghei Ostaf Brussels, 10 July 2008 for ILGA-Europe. Schedule. Session 1: What is Advocacy? Normative-based advocacy vs. evidence-based advocacy Session 2: What is evidence? Policy-evidence vs. advocacy-evidence! Session 3: Production of evidence

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evidence based advocacy

Evidence-based Advocacy

Serghei Ostaf

Brussels, 10 July 2008

for ILGA-Europe

  • Session 1: What is Advocacy? Normative-based advocacy vs. evidence-based advocacy
  • Session 2: What is evidence? Policy-evidence vs. advocacy-evidence!
  • Session 3: Production of evidence
  • Session 4: Stages for advocacy based on evidence
case study 1
Case study 1
  • 25% of population is an adolescent representing an ever-growing proportion of the population. Hospital treatment of teenagers for the consequences of unsafe abortion accounts for between 20 and 50 % of all such cases. Teens aged 15-19 years also constitute approximately 35 % of all reported HIV/AIDS cases in country. Still, the government prohibits the distribution of contraceptives to adolescents.
  • The Center for the Study of Adolescence (CSA) was established to conduct research on adolescent health issues and to advocate for policies that promote the well-being of young people. CSA encountered opposition to their advocacy efforts early on, but used this opposition to build a stronger and more creative force for adolsecent reproductive health. Religious organizations that had attended several conferences on adolsecent reproductive health in Kenya opposed CSA.s work.
  • They were so effective in their opposition to family life education in schools that the Ministry of Education threatened to eliminate the family life program from the curriculum. Against this backdrop, youth-serving organizations including CSA decided to develop a coalition to support adolescent reproductive health.
case study 15
Case study 1
  • In 2004, they established the Association for the Promotion of Adolescent Health (KAPAH), conducted advocacy trainings and developed an advocacy strategy. KAPAH developed and distributed fact sheets on adolescent reproductive health which helped to dispel myths and misinformation about adolescent reproductive health and programs such as family life education. KAPAH also worked closely with the press to educate the public about the true content of family life education programs and the extent of reproductive health problems facing country’s youth.
  • KAPAH paid the newspaper to print an overview of the family life education curriculum and explain the contentious issues. KAPAH.s media advocacy was so successful that they now regularly contribute views, opinions and advice to a column on adolescent health in newspaper . The column is sponsored by the Youth Initiative. KAPAH also reached out to the opposition and engaged them in consultations in order to understand their concerns and to find common ground. In addition, KAPAH met with individual policy makers and found that while these leaders supported adolescent health privately, it was difficult for some of them to take a public position on the subject.
  • The Association made an effort to support these decision makers both publicly and .behind the scenes. As a result, KAPAH developed better relationships with several ministries including the Ministry of Education. In fact, KAPAH successfully advocated for pregnant school girls to be allowed to stay in school while pregnant and to return to school after delivery.
case study 16
Case study 1
  • Now that you have read the case study, discuss how you would define advocacy.
  • Describe the advocacy strategies KAPAH used?
what is advocacy
What is Advocacy?
  • Advocacy is the pursuit of influencing outcomes – including public-policy and resource-allocation decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions – that directly affect people’s life.
definitions of advocacy
… definitions of advocacy
  • Advocacy is an action directed at changing the policies, positions or programs of any type of institution.
  • Advocacy is speaking up, drawing a community’s attention to an important issue, and directing decision makers toward a solution.
  • Advocacy is working with other people and organizations to make a difference.
  • Advocacy is putting a problem on the agenda, providing a solution to that problem and building support for acting on both the problem and solution.
  • Advocacy can aim to change an organization internally or to alter an entire system.
  • Advocacy consists of different strategies aimed at influencing decision-making at the organizational, local, provincial, national and international levels.
  • Advocacy strategies can include lobbying, social marketing, information, education and communication, community organizing, or many other tactics.
  • Advocacy is the process of people participating in decision-making processes which affect their lives.
advocacy dynamics
Advocacy dynamics
  • Stage 1 - identification of action issue, agenda setting. Unlimited problems, few get on the agenda.
  • Stage 2 - solution formulation. proposed solutions, selected one that is pol. econ. soc. feasible.
  • Stage 3 - building political will to act on problem, solution, centerpiece of advocacy, include coalition building, meeting with decision makers, awareness building and delivering effective messages.
  • Stage 4 - policy action, takes place when a problem is recognized, solution accepted and there is political will to act, all at the same time. “window of opportunity” to seize.
  • Stage 5 - evaluation, often not reached. Good advocates assess the effectiveness of their past efforts and set new goals based on their experience
types of advocacy
Normative based advocacy

Use of norms, standards, legislation (national, CoE, EU)

Evidence-based advocacy

Evidence from quantitative data and information

Evidence from qualitative data and information

Types of advocacy
what is evidence
What is evidence?
  • Data - facts or representation of facts about situations, incl. statistics, capacities and else,
  • Information - datathat has meaning, arranged into logical or empirical categories (comparative, etc),
  • Evidence – information, affects beliefs of important people (icl. you) about significant features of the problem and how to solve it
what is evidence for
What is evidence for?
  • Necessary to produce realistic projections of possible policy outcomes:
    • Assessing the nature and extend of the problem
    • Assess particular features of concrete policy
    • Assess policies that have been fought, worked successfully in situations similar to your own
  • Directions, programs selected by public authorities as a direct response of the problem(s);
  • Set of goals and proposals proposed by a political party;
  • Policies are expressed in regulations, laws, finances, institutions, concrete programs (but not laws only);
policies input output
Policies: input-output
  • Perception regulation application
  • Organization distribution respect
  • Demand redistribution interpretation
  • Support capitalization evaluation
  • neglect ethic procedure legitimacy,
  • modification
  • adjusting
political process public choice
Political process – “public choice”
  • James Buchanan “public choice revolution” Nobel prize1986;
  • “public policies will create value added and benefit only if interests of political actors will be in accord with the effective and efficient use of resources”
  • Economic model of political process: Voter-consumer, politician -supplier;
session 2
Session -2
  • What is evidence? Policy-evidence vs. advocacy-evidence!
    • Mapping constituencies of advocacy
    • Understanding what evidence is relevant
    • Methods to produce evidence
mapping audience
Mapping audience
  • One constructive way to separate audiences into groups is to identify primary and secondary audiences.
  • What is a primary audience? The primary audience includes decision makers with the authority to affect the outcome for your objective directly. These are the individuals who must actively approve the policy change. These decision makers are the primary targets of an advocacy strategy.
mapping audience20
Mapping audience
  • What is a secondary audience? Individuals and groups that can influence the decision makers (or primary audience). They affect the opinions and actions of the decision makers.
  • May contain oppositional forces to your objective. Address them as part of your strategy.
advocacy audience
Advocacy audience
  • Policy-makers I (legislative bodies)
  • Policy-makers II (ministerial bodies)
  • Policy-implementers (agencies, service delivers, regulators)
  • Political parties
  • Mass-media
  • Opposing parties
  • Judiciary
advocacy audience preference for evidence
Advocacy audience preference for evidence
  • Based on slide above, what kind of evidence would actors prefer?
role of policy community network in shaping agenda
Role of policy community/network in shaping agenda
  • Actor interest:
    • Maximize resources
    • Additional control of resource
  • Interest dimensions:
    • Financial resources;
    • Political resources;
    • Human and technological resources
    • Bureaucracy resources;
research method for audience
Research method for audience
  • Observation This is the most common way to gather information about audiences cheaply and quickly.
    • Talk with people who are familiar with the group/individual;
    • Gossip: talk with other advocates and colleagues. This is especially helpful in learning what audiences really think about issues; their true opinion may be different from their .official. position;
    • Read speeches or other documents written by the key organizations or individuals;
    • Review the results of recent polls, surveys or focus groups;
    • Attend open meetings where the individual or group will be speaking or participating.
role of policy community in agenda or policy shaping
Role of policy community in agenda or policy shaping
  • a) Public policy community (Ministry, Department, Parliament, Agency, parties);
  • b) Administrative network (territorial agencies, representatives in the territory)
  • c) Opportunity groups (any of the above)
policy agenda shaping
Policy agenda shaping
  • Actors:
    • President: most powerful, can change agenda
    • Staff of president: important in determining president opinion and alternatives.
    • Cabinet ministers, prime-minister: important to establish subject on the agenda
    • Civil servants: technically determine the alternatives, have expertise, link to interest groups, long live,
    • Parliament: ability to change agenda and alternatives
    • Staff of Parliament: contributes in shaping the alternatives
public agenda shaping
Public agenda shaping
  • Outside government:
    • Interest groups: various degree of influence on alternatives;
    • Type of business groups: business (important), professional (important), trade unions (important),
    • Academics, researches, consultants: impact on alternatives, can have impact on long-term perspective;
    • Media: report on achievements and failures
    • Public opinion: important only to some extent, affects to some extent institutional agenda and some alternatives;
session 3
Session 3
  • Production of evidence
    • Problem analysis
    • Problem analysis approaches
    • Research methods
advocacy problem definition
Problems -- > Subjects -- > Advocacy Strategy

Substantive problems

Process problems

Participatory (constituency based) problem definition

Causes-problem effects

Problem tree analysis

Causes: economic, political, socio-cultural

Advocacy problem definition
identify the key factors first
Identify the key factors first




Promoting inclusionof children withspecial needs inmainstream extendedservices




analyse each of the key factors main bones in turn
Analyse each of the key factors (main bones) in turn



Clarity offuture budgetprovisions


Wheelchairaccess limited

Need forspecial equipment& materials

Reliance onvoluntaryagencies

Unreliableestimates ofcosts

Need totrain upmainstreamstaff

Stairs limitaccess tofacilities

High costs ofspecial medical& social support

Promoting inclusionof children withspecial needs inmainstream extendedservices

Limited No.of speciallyqualified staff

Specialisttransport required

Low awareness and toleranceamongmainstream

Staff work-life balanceissues

Dependent onexisting LAcontract

Higher staff

to pupil ratio


Need toadjust traveltimes




advocacy problem definition39
Advocacy problem definition
  • "deficit-excess",
  • "existenceof unfairness“, "discriminationunjustified",
  • “market failure",
  • “nonfunctioning of systems, processes";
  • “failure of government to exercise obligations";
  • absence of the system,
  • “factors that cause the problems also constitute a problem";
  • “too much, many”, “too little”, “rapid growth”, “not working”, “bad”;
quantitative evidence
Quantitative evidence
  • Surveys assisted by operators
  • Surveys (self-completion questionnaires) not assisted by operators
  • Exit polls
    • Hypothesis, questions, answers
evidence from qualitative research 1
Evidence from qualitative research -1
  • Interviewing and semi-structured interviewing,
  • Focus-groups (interview of group on a topic, experts, beneficiaries, etc),
  • Case study of a particular situation, phenomenon, occurrence (or a number of cases),
  • Discourse content analysis (politicians, experts, etc),
  • Review (meta-review) of secondary sources and information,
evidence from qualitative research 2
Evidence from qualitative research -2
  • Analysis of information on budgets, finances (administrative, policy),
  • Institutional analysis (procedures, allocations),
  • Secondary analysis of statistics (regular, administrative, etc)
case study 2
Case study 2
  • Evaluation of LGBT mental health policy in Moldova
    • What research methods have been used in the paper?
    • What specific evidence you can find in the paper?
    • What are the conclusions, recommendations of the paper?
session 4
Session 4
  • Stages for advocacy based on evidence
evidence strategy
Evidence strategy
  • What evidence is needed and for whom?
  • Schedule evidence production process!
  • Evaluate internal and locate external resources!
advocacy strategies tactics
Advocacy strategies (tactics)
  • Monitoring & reporting
  • Media awareness and public education
  • Policy lobby
  • Strategic litigation
  • Partnerships/constituency building
  • Empowerment
  • Nonviolent resistance
general advocacy strategy
General Advocacy Strategy
  • Strategy approach
    • Offensive
    • Defensive
  • Driving Forces (what changes the whole situation)
  • Key Success Factors (KSF)
advocacy swot analysis
Advocacy SWOT analysis
  • Outward looking
  • Inward looking
  • Advocacy issue
  • SWOT analysis (force field)
outward looking assessment
Outward Looking Assessment
  • a.       political parties, who are they, orientation (relate to main stream definitions or doctrine orientation if possible, name leading individuals, get some facts about them), are there any international links?! – research what is their attitude towards LGBT
  • b.      What are important civil society groups (human rights, resource centres, media based, think tanks, youth, etc), specifically what is their attitude towards LGBT
  • c.       Type of democracy of your country – presidential based, parliamentary based, government led
  • d.      Mass-media actors – main papers, influence, links to parties or other groups, get facts of chief editors
  • e.       Are there specific human rights bodies – ombudsman, etc
  • f.        Assess the degree of awareness on human rights in the country and critical it is for the country
  • g.       Are there any polls on LGBT attitude from the population
inward assessment
Inward Assessment
  • a.       Describe experience of advocacy (types of strategies: media work, reporting, litigation, lobby, etc)
  • b.      Types of experts in the organization (legal, political science, journalist, human rights backgrounds) or links to experts outside
  • c.       Describe what organization does now (services, activities)
  • d. Describe Leadership capacity in the organization
inward assessment51
Inward Assessment
  • Local level
    • Organic ties between popular-movement leadership and support orgns
    • Long track record in the regional/local area
    • Using paraprofessionals for outreach or locals with technical knowledge
    • Ability to identify and provide support for local grass-root orgns
    • Knowledge, ability to explain regional, national, international decision-making processes to help local groups navigate through them
    • Ability to frame issues in the larger socio-economic-political and human rights context, stimulate reflection, help formulate analytical capacity
    • Listening closely to people’s issues, fears, hopes and desires.
inward assessment52
Inward Assessment
  • Regional/national level
    • Knowledge of bureaucracy and decision-making process to know where the key points of intervention are
    • Personal contacts and social political networks to open up access to power arenas
    • Ability to use highly technical skills as entry into issues (legal skills, legislative, economic, environmental expertise)
    • Playing a broker role in opening doors, getting orgn members a seat at the table at higher levels of power
    • Ability to identify and cultivate receptive subgroups within the bureaucracies
    • Finding “campaign vehicles” that resonate deeply, but also get at the core issues (paradigmatic human rights issues, domestic violence, etc)
inward assessment53
Inward Assessment
  • International level
    • Physical presence, personal ties, other connections in this arena
    • Knowledge of the systems, doctrines, laws, procedures and so (EU, UN, CoE)
    • Special competency (policy knowledge, technical skills, legal skills)
    • Friends and allies who can open doors and provide guidance on skills needed to act at this level