Friday, August 04, 2006

Are we in Agreement ?

Advocacy... Oh my god... We are not ready for it. We are a small organization concentrating on the issues in front of us rather than looking at the macro level matters and it’s the biggies who can do that. No staff to do that though we believe in advocacy and lobbying. These are the reactions of a typical non government organization when it comes to advocacy and lobbying. This is a disturbing scenario as Non Government Organizations get into relationships with their immediate surroundings like donors and agencies that they work directly rather getting into the scheme of things like policies or decisions that affect their interventions.


It’s the responsibility of any good Non profit to get into advocacy and size or age of the organisation doesn’t matter here!! So the challenge is how a small organization can drive advocacy programmes on issues they work with. The answer is - VOLUNTEERS getting into advocacy. It starts with the creation of an advocacy cell which can get into action whenever an issue comes up. The advantages of volunteers getting into advocacy roles are manifold and the prime reason being they are the ones who are emotionally attached to the issue and any policy decision affects their work environment directly. Also, volunteers add numbers to the advocacy campaign, and numbers are very crucial for the success of any advocacy programme.

It becomes absolutely essential when we work with the govt. system, as the premise of our work and relationships are decided by external agencies and if we cant influence these decisions its not worthwhile to work with the system. A good number of organizations focus on specific issues like education, health etc with the strength of their volunteers but shy away from the primary responsibility of studying the issues and align with advocacy efforts happening in the field across the country.

People are concerned about the status of a government school, the state of education and health etc and religiously doing their bit by volunteering by going to a school or a programme area and wonder why other fellow country men are not volunteering? Will that help? Even a large force of people, volunteering for a cause silently, without raising their voices against the injustice done in the sector, cannot bring about any lasting change in the system. Are they all in agreement or are they really avoiding any debate on the issues and the causes? Why cant people study the issues, think and act? Let there be a debate and discussion…. If it happens that’s the first step to advocacy !

Sabu

1 comment:

vinay_ks said...

Sabu,

Completely agree with this.
As Ive been saying...we need to get into advocacy..and get as many volunteers in as well.