Lecture 5. Advocacy campaign evaluation
In addition to setting advocacy objectives, it is important to focus right from the start on what outcomes you want to see for the following reasons:
  • Outcomes reduce the danger of being too activity-focused, i.e. objectives can sometimes become a list of `things we intend to do’. This can lead to an M+E process that only looks at ‘whether we did the things we said we’d do’.

  • If you are ‘outcome-focused’, you are much more likely to look at the impact of the activities, rather than the activities themselves.

It is useful to compare actual outcomes against the anticipated outcomes – changes are not always predictable.

Since large-scale change is rarely immediate and very difficult to achieve, you need to identify significant shorter-term achievements.

Some factors to measure as outcomes are:

  • Policy gains: Specific changes in policy, practice and/or institutional reforms;

  • Implementation gains: the extent to which stated policies are implemented and how these have changed and what impact (or lack of impact) the change has had on the people and communities;

  • Political and democratic gains: civil groups gain increasing recognition as legitimate actors, access to governments and other institutions improves;

  • Civil Society gains: improved cooperation between civil groups;

  • Partnership gains: advocacy leads to the formation of regional and international networks that can effectively address international institutions;

  • Organizational gains: increased profile, respect as a credible source of information, increased funding, etc.

Now, powered by the knowledge about advocacy campaigns planning, implementation and evaluation stages, some tools and techniques that we have discussed in our course, lets sum up the knowledge we gained and try to put together a complete advocacy campaign roadmap.

Let’s imagine that we have a 2-year-long advocacy project aimed at developing and adopting the State Educational Standard of Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools nationwide.

The first 6 months of our project would be spent on:

  • Carrying out an assessment of the issue, including root cause analysis, issue analysis and visioning that would lead to formulation of advocacy aims and objectives. Based on the established goals, the plan of actions can be developed and necessary alliances built

The second half of the year will be devoted to:

  • Establishing dialogue with decision-makers and other key stakeholders, building relationships with them, conducting media work, seminars and events to raise awareness of the target groups. We will turn the issue to be part of the public agenda for debate and carry out more communication work and campaigning to highlight the issue. Then the time will come to start lobbying key influencers and decision-makers. Note that lobbying activities are postponed until the time when the issue has become a topic for public debate; so policy-makers have more reasons to pay attention to it.

From the 13th to the 18th month we will:

  • Continue our lobbying: convene a major stakeholder seminar and expect decision-makers to begin to recognize the importance of our cause. Then we produce a Draft Educational Standard for the Ministry of Education to consider.

From the 19th to the 24th month we expect that:

  • A New Educational Standard would be agreed with the Ministry and signed into the force to positively change people’s lives.

This concludes our course on advocacy. I hope that you learned new concepts, acquired new tools and heard useful tips. More importantly, I hope this course provided you with some new insights about the power of advocacy. To wrap up, here are the four key lessons from this course: First, advocacy is not just about influencing public policy, but also and first of all about influencing public opinion. Second, the issues we select as our advocacy goals need to be weighed against our expertise, capacity and experience. In other words we need to make sure that the issue we face can be solved with resources that we will be able to mobilize. Third, it is important to identify the players that can impact the initiative and those who have the power to influence the solution and find the most efficient way to reach out to them through power mapping. Fourth, we need to select our advocacy tools carefully and conduct our communication with full understanding of the intended audience in a language appropriate for that audience and content that is short, specific and to the point. There are many courses in advocacy that will examine this powerful influence tool in more detail and I encourage you to read, learn and constantly develop your advocacy skills for better results.

Thank you for participating in this course. 

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