7. Issues identification and prioritisation

Emergencies raise a large number of potential advocacy issues, at a time when capacity is often stretched. The CO must carefully identify and prioritise a few issues, and determine whether advocacy would be an appropriate and feasible response for the CO and others in CARE.

Advocacy is usually based on programmatic priorities as determined by the concerns of affected communities. In an emergency, issues may be identified based on response activities, programme experience, research, witnessing and observation.

The following questions can help issues prioritisation:

  • Does the issue affect a large number of people?
  • Does it have a significant impact on affected populations in terms of threats to life or welfare?
  • Does the issue affect CARE’s field work or response priorities?
  • Is the issue one that the CO has previously advocated?
  • Does the issue connect to or complement CARE’s global advocacy initiatives and overall mission?
  • Where does CARE fit into the policy landscape? Who are our likely allies and what level of effort is already being devoted to the issue?
  • Does CARE have credibility with beneficiaries and policymakers on this issue?
  • Humanitarian access: Gaining access to populations affected by a crisis is a paramount consideration for humanitarian action. Obstacles to such access may be rooted in the actions and decisions of policymakers, and may therefore require an advocacy response.
  • Protection: CARE recognises protection as a cross-cutting theme in its humanitarian response (see the Chapter on Protection). Advocacy can be a strategy to raise the protection needs of vulnerable people with policymakers.
  • Humanitarian space: Safeguarding the impartial and non-partisan nature of relief efforts is an increasingly important advocacy concern, especially because it is linked directly to the safety of humanitarian personnel (see the Chapter on Humanitarian space, and the Chapter on Civil-military relations).
  • Health, food security, shelter and other emergency programme areas also give rise to priorities for which an advocacy response may be necessary.

Adequate funding: Shortfalls in humanitarian funding can cripple an emergency response effort. Advocacy can be used to ensure that key policymakers prioritise the emergency, including allocating sufficient resources. That said, this is different from fundraising directly on behalf of CARE.