1. Role of advocacy in an emergency

Advocacy is the deliberate process of influencing those who make decisions about developing, changing, and implementing policies. Advocacy is one of the strategies available to CARE to respond to the humanitarian needs of people affected by emergencies. Advocacy may be an appropriate way to make positive changes to the policy decisions or conditions that are causing or maintaining a situation of acute humanitarian need. Humanitarian advocacy during an emergency is usually primarily directed at ensuring people’s access to life-saving assistance and protection in line with core humanitarian principles. It aims to uphold people’s rights in crisis, which are codified in international humanitarian and human rights standards.

Despite global humanitarian advocacy being an increasingly crowded space that needs better coordination, CARE’s gender expertise and demonstrated experience advancing gender equality across the Humanitarian, Development, Peace Nexus (HDPN) adds significant value to the humanitarian advocacy community at all levels, from local to global, and horizontally in various relevant thematic and sectoral groups. Compared to CARE, few INGOs are able to speak to our same level of authority over, and generate evidence for, most key humanitarian policy issues with a consistent gender lens and focus on women and girls’ rights and needs.  Our legitimacy as advocate for a gendered humanitarian response is firmly embedded in our partnerships with women’s organizations on the frontline, including in FCA settings, as well as our ability to convene and connect our partners in strategic humanitarian national, regional, and global spaces and across the HDPN. Though our practice does not yet entirely reflect our vision for equitable partnerships and our commitment to feminist principles, the growing Confederation-wide political will to redistribute power from inside CARE to our partners and to have the difficult conversations on discrimination and racism in our sector, can add significant value to our advocacy on localization and decolonizing aid, particularly if we are able to humbly share our lessons, progress, and challenges on our own organizational transformation.


Position  Key responsibilities
CO Advocacy Advisor- AA or equivalent (where the position exists) Is part of CO ERT and supports ERT to identify humanitarian problems that potentially require advocacy, then supports the collection, of evidence and information, the development of an advocacy strategy with key messages, and supports the roll out of  advocacy activities in the country and, where relevant, in coordination with colleagues and partners from the region and Confederation at different levels.
Country Office Emergency Response team (including Country Director) Identify humanitarian problem that potentially requires advocacy, leads on evidence and information collection, ideally through joint assessments / analysis and with partners, on analysis and on developing an advocacy strategy and key messages, and carry out advocacy activities under its remit.
Country Director Determine if advocacy is appropriate based on key criteria and risk analysis, and approve advocacy strategy and messages (See the Global Advocacy Sign-off Procedure)
Regional Advocacy Advisor- RAA (where the position exists) Support CO analysis, research and advocacy strategy development, especially incorporating any regional dimension, impacts; and, where there is no CO AA in place, coordinate communication between the CO, Lead Member and CI.
CARE Lead Member Advocacy Team Support policy analysis and research, participate in strategy development, and carry out advocacy activities where necessary.

Obtain relevant Lead Member/ line management approval of strategy and key messages, as per the Global Advocacy Sign-off Procedure.

CARE International Advocacy Working Group on the specific crisis with other interested CI Members, CI offices (e.g. Brussels, New York, Geneva) (those groups exist for priority crisis as per CEG typology) Create such group (with the CO, region, interested CIMs, CI Secretariat Staff in New York, Brussels, Geneva). Oversee the implementation of CI’s advocacy around rapid-onset crises, and maintain an overview of new and ongoing joint advocacy within the CI confederation. The AWG in place are different from one context to another. (Please contact Delphine Pinault if you need more information on how to create such a group.)
CARE International Humanitarian Policy &

Advocacy Coordinator and UN Representative, Geneva

Coordinates global humanitarian advocacy, develops global humanitarian advocacy strategy and policy advocacy positions on priority issues.   Support CI Members in coordinating CI advocacy around rapid-onset emergencies and large scale protracted crisis, including clarifying advocacy messages, strategies, sign-off on behalf of CI, and resolving disagreement in liaison with CI-head of advocacy, CI-CEG, CO, RO, national directors, CI Secretary General, and CI Media and Communications Coordinator, as relevant (refer to Annex 28.2 TOR for Humanitarian Policy & Advocacy Coordinator and UN Representative).
CI policy and advocacy staff in Brussels, New York and Geneva


Support analysis, research and advocacy activities where the issue is aligned with CI advocacy priorities (for large scale priority crisis). Lead advocacy directed at EU, UN and member states located in Brussels, New York and Geneva
Emergency media staff including:

CO Media Officer;

CI Media and Communications;

COMWG members

Ensure CARE’s media messaging is aligned with and actively supports CARE’s advocacy strategy.

In many situations, a dedicated policy and advocacy advisor will not be available in the existing CO or emergency response team. In the absence of a specific policy and advocacy advisor or equivalent, analysis and advocacy strategy will fall to the Country Director and other senior programme staff (often the Program Director) with the support of regional, lead member and global advocacy staff. However, without specific policy and advocacy capacity at individual country level, CARE’s ability to engage seriously in advocacy activities will be limited.

In complex situations where the CO wants to engage substantially in advocacy, adequate policy and advocacy capacity and expertise is essential. The CO should request the deployment of a policy and advocacy advisor via the CARE’s Roster for Emergency Deployments (RED) to form part of the emergency team. In small scale emergencies, this role may cover both media and advocacy (see Chapter 22, Media). Alternatively, the RAA or a policy and advocacy advisor from a CARE International Member may be able to provide short-term in-country support for emergency advocacy. The role of a policy and advocacy advisor in an emergency team would be to:

  • monitor and analyse humanitarian and political developments in the country, especially as they influence principled access to people in need, in order to identify issues that require advocacy support;
  • map actors and spaces (NGO fora, UN coordination spaces, etc) where relevant discussions are taking place and support CARE and partners to be represented in these spaces;
  • lead the development and implementation of an appropriate advocacy strategy, in coordination with relevant actors (peers, national and local partners, especially women’s organisations);
  • coordinate with CI advocacy focal points working in support of the response
  • assist in writing briefings, policy papers and key messages, developing sign-off tables based on global sign off procedures;
  • formulate policy positions linked to key humanitarian themes/ country situation and in alignment with existing global positions;
  • represent and advocate with policymakers at national and international levels and / or support CO leadership to do so;
  • assist in establishing effective policy/communication links with the humanitarian community in the country
  • share information on upcoming events, visits and strategic meetings in a timely and effective manner
  • liaise directly with policymakers, information officers and media representatives working on humanitarian and policy issues (if approved by Country Director).

Many of these roles will also already be covered by senior in-country managers in the course of their duties.