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Overview

Campaigns that address violence against women and girls (VAW) through policy or institutional (advocacy) change rely on time-tested advocacy tools and creative new approaches to reach target audiences, i.e. those who can make the change the campaign calls for (primary targets) and those who can influence decision-makers and their decision-making on institutional change, e.g. voters (secondary targets). One set of tools focuses on presenting facts and policy alternatives to primary targets, i.e. the decision makers, through lobbying, open letters, model policies and research reports, for example. Another set is designed to mobilize public support and pressure for the campaign goal, e.g. through demonstrations, public hearings, and petitions.

If the campaign focus is change in laws and their enforcement, see also the Module on Legislation.

Issues to note when deciding on communications tools for policy/institutional change campaigns:

  • Situational analysis, particularly in terms of the legal climate and legal frameworks, and the existence or lack of policies and institutional structures related to ending VAW, is a critical exercise both before and during a campaign (to reflect any contextual changes as the campaign progresses).
  • When advocating for change in laws, and institutional policies and practices, dialogue should be sought with the decision-makers to be influenced, both before and during the campaign. Allies within institutions can provide advice on effective tactics, channels and tools to influence targets, or can publicly support the campaign and enhance its chances of success.
  • Do not launch any advocacy campaigns without prior consultation with the institutions that can make the change being campaigned for – unless there is no other choice. In some countries for example, there may be at least one institution, such as a Ministry of Gender or other national women’s machinery that may be willing to partner on an institutional campaign, even if other institutions seem less keen.
TOOLS:  

Advocacy and Lobbying Manual, Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2006 – this manual was developed for use in their advocacy and lobbying workshops and includes a step-by-step plan for engaging in advocacy work in any field.

Civil Society and Advocacy Manual (Advocacy Expert Series), Pact Tanzania – this manual, developed by Pact Tanzania's Advocacy Partnership  Programme (TAPP), outlines ways in which civil society and individual citizens can be involved in political processes and ways for them to work in partnership with government to create policies and laws. It also looks at the role of advocates in the political process and outlines steps that can be taken to initiate an advocacy campaign.