6. Activating and coordinating advocacy in CARE
To activate support for advocacy efforts, consider the following steps:
- Analyse the policy environment as a regular part of programming prior to a crisis, with particular attention to vulnerable groups.
- Monitor protection violations among the population they serve, bearing in mind that contemporary armed conflict takes its greatest toll on women and children.
- When issues requiring policy and advocacy action are identified, the Country Director or CO Advocacy Advisor (if present) should begin problem analysis.
- Contact the RAA or Lead Member Advocacy Advisor for support to explore the problem and develop an advocacy strategy.
- The Country Director should alert the Crisis Coordination Group (CCG) any potential advocacy issues (see protocols at Chapter Emergency management protocols).
- Request the CI Senior Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy Coordinator to assist with mobilising support from other parts of CARE International.
- If the CO decides to pursue advocacy, the CO Advocacy Advisor (or RAA or Country Director if there is no dedicated Advocacy Advisor) leads advocacy strategy and actions together with the CI Advocacy Coordinator in the Secretariat. The RAA, Lead Member and other interested members provide support as requested by the CI Senior Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy Coordinator.
- To help coordinate this support, the CO Advocacy Advisor (or alternative lead) should convene an ad hoc Emergency Advocacy Group (EAG) for the specific emergency advocacy initiative. The EAG should comprise 8-12 key stakeholders, including:
- Lead Member advocacy unit
- CI Senior Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy Coordinator
- CIUK Humanitarian Policy Advisor
- CI UN and EU representatives
- the CEG Media and Communications Coordinator and the Lead Member media coordinator for the emergency
- other members supporting the initiative.
- The EAG should keep the CI Advocacy Working Group informed of progress and developments.
- As the humanitarian crisis unfolds, the CO Advocacy Advisor (or alternative lead) monitors the situations, conducts analysis and develops advocacy materials with the support of the EAG.
- The CI Senior Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy Coordinator ensures that any necessary support from relevant stakeholders in CI is being provided for in the country and undertakes global-level advocacy.
- Media officers from the CO, CEG, the Lead Member and other relevant parts of COMWG should be involved in discussions about potential media strategies to ensure that media messages are consistent with advocacy messages (see the Chapter on Media).
It is important to recognise that influential advocacy targets are often based outside the country experiencing the emergency. An appropriate advocacy strategy may therefore require advocacy-related collaboration with the wider CARE membership. In such cases, the joint coordinated advocacy activities by CI Members, COs and the CI Secretariat toward international actors constitute a form of ‘global advocacy’ as mandated under the current CI Strategic Plan.
Through global advocacy actions, CARE can:
- influence governments to exert bilateral influence over the local and national authorities in the country where the crisis is taking place by providing information and advocacy messages for CI Members to take up directly with their governments, particularly with governments that have a particular influence in an emergency situation (for example, as donors, conflict mediators or contributors to peacekeeping forces)
- exert influence in multilateral forums-such as the EU, AU and UN-to give attention to CARE’s humanitarian concerns and recommendations through CARE’s advocacy positions in Brussels, Geneva and New York
- strengthen our collective advocacy impacts by developing common messages based on existing CI advocacy initiatives related to humanitarian issues (see Other key policy issues: humanitarian policy briefs)
- widely publicise an advocacy issue in the international media to increase pressure on officials at all levels. This is done by ensuring CARE’s media units and messages are properly aligned with the CO’s evolving analysis and advocacy messages.
Country Offices should contact the CI Advocacy Coordinator or CEG for assistance with global advocacy actions. Similarly, any CARE International Members engaging in advocacy should coordinate closely with the CI Advocacy Coordinator to ensure that CARE’s international-level advocacy is properly aligned with the CO’s needs, analysis and advocacy messages.