MeTA - communicaton for advocacy

Advocacy is a communication process through which individuals, groups or communities influence their social environments at local, provincial, national and international levels. For some, it is about influencing policy makers and opinion formers to bring changes to policy and practice; others strive to address attitudes, social relationships and power relations to effect social change. This list draws together practical guides on communication skills and methodologies, with an emphasis on building the capacities of NGOs to plan and manage advocacy activities. Many draw on participatory methodologies and some focus on specific health issues such as medicines, HIV, sexual health or disability rights. Others build specific skills such as videography, or working with the media.

Please send suggestions of additions to the list to

Selected resources

Books, reports, etc

'A' frame for advocacy


Expand view

This booklet offers a six-step approach to public policy advocacy - analysis, strategy, mobilisation, action, evaluation and continuity

A new weave of power, people & politics : the action guide for advocacy and citizen participation

MILLER, Valerie
March 2007

Expand view

This comprehensive action guide provides an approach for building people’s participation and collective power that goes beyond influencing policy and politics to transforming public decision-making. It offers easily adaptable 'modules' for NGOs trainers, activists, grass-roots organisations, who wish to develop ideas around advocacy. One of the strengths is that it focuses on peoples participation and explores ideas relating to power and politics in citizen-centred advocacy. It emphasises power and constituency-building discussed through the lens of gender/race/class and is based upon the concrete experiences of social change worldwide
It also offers facilitators tips, sample exercises and easily adaptable handouts, along with core information to support anyone through the learning process. Based on long-term experience of a range of practitioners, the guide provides well-tested methods for promoting citizen participation and practical ways of realising a rights-based approach.
The contents, chapters 1, 3, 5, 10 and 13 can be accessed electronically

Advocacy for immunization : how to generate and maintain support for vaccination programs

January 2001

Expand view

A step-by-step guide to advocacy for immunization. Covers preparation (building a plan, gathering information, creating messages and materials), outreach (building a coalition, engaging policymakers, working with the media, involving the public) and monitoring and evaluating. Includes a brief section of further sources of information (manuals, guides and websites) as well as useful examples and case studies

Advocacy guide: HIV/AIDS prevention among injecting users : workshop manual


Expand view

This useful, accessible manual provides an overview of advocacy and describes advocacy processes, methods and approaches in detail, including strategy development, community-based approaches, and working with the media. The final section provides advice on developing arguments and provides a wide range of question-and-answer style stances on controversial issues (eg 'needle programmes send the wrong message'). The final chapter is a comprehensive list of further resources. This focuses mostly on advocacy and HIV, but includes some materials addressing harm reduction and injecting drug users

Advocacy impact assessment guidelines


Expand view

DFID’s major advocacy activities focus on influencing agencies and governments to invest in infrastructure. However, it is hard to find concrete evidence of the contributions that advocacy makes towards poverty eradication. These guidelines describe an approach that many NGOs take to assess advocacy impacts. There are different types of advocacy impacts, known as different dimensions of change, and these guidelines describe some indicators for the following dimensions: changes in policies and their implementation; private sector change; strengthening civil society; and aiding democracy and improving the material situation of individuals. Participatory monitoring and evaluation asks the people being affected by a project whether it has made a difference. However, this is often more complex than standard evaluation systems and it is necessary to be clear about the goals of the process and who should be involved. In order to assess impact, it is necessary to know the existing situation prior to advocacy, and to monitor progress against this. Once you have the information, it needs to be analysed. Lessons can then be learned and evaluation results used to demonstrate that advocacy works

Advocacy toolkit : practical action in advocacy

GORDON, Graham

Expand view

This second volume of Tearfund's Advocacy Toolkit is a step-by step guide to planning an advocacy activity, large or small, and consists mainly of tools and exercises. The introduction describes the planning process and outlines a Summary Advocacy Strategy. The following sections describe five parts of the planning cycle in detail

Dealing with advocacy : a practical guide


Expand view

A basic guide on why NGOs need advocacy, in the field of reproductive rights (but easily applicable to other contexts). Defines advocacy as a process that leads to broader access to services (increased capacity). Describes the components of a succesful advocacy campaign and how to integrate advocacy into your NGO's daily work

Disability awareness in action : campaigns


Expand view

This resource kit focuses on campaigns run by organisations of disabled people, which promote independence, equality of opportunity and full participation. It proposes that taking part in campaigns will increase members' skills and confidence and show disabled people as active participants in their communities, who have ideas and abilities that can be of benefit to everyone

Giving voice to the voiceless : a communicating for advocacy publication

September 2007

Expand view

Using a rights-based approach, this project sought to develop the capacity of poor and marginalised groups in South and South-East Asia both to influence practice and policy, and for information exchange and skills transfer by health and development agencies. The project focused on four main themes: training, advocacy, communication and networking, and the lessons learned from it are set out in the report

How to improve the use of medicines by consumers

et al

Expand view

This manual focuses on selecting, testing, implementing and evaluating interventions to improve the use of medicines at community level. Two broad strategic areas are identified: communication strategies and strategies to create enabling environments. "What has become clear over the years is that there is no single model or approach that is the solution to all health communication challenges. Different techniques are appropriate in different contexts to deal with different priorities and problems. This manual will help you to build skills and experience to make that selection more effectively"

Intellectual property rights and access to ARV medicines : civil society resistance in the global south|Brazil, Colombia, China, India, Thailand

REIS, Renata
TERTO, Veriano Jr
PIMENTA, Maria Cristina Pimenta

Expand view

This book looks at "...the recent history and the many struggles related to advocacy for access to [antiretroviral] medicines of engaged civil society. Through the experiences of five middle-income countries - Brazil, China, Colombia, India, and Thailand." It presents "...the perspective of local civil society organisations about the national impact of intellectual property protection and access to medications. "These five countries were chosen due to their accumulated experience in this field, their capacity to produce generic medication, their activist efforts, and the exchange of ideas and information that already exists between them"

Manual for the planning, organising and implementation of an awareness building campaign (ABC) for disabled persons' organisations

et al

Expand view

This manual is based on the experiences with planning, organisation, implementation and evaluation of the awareness building campaign (ABC) in Malawi in 1999-2001, which was jointly carried out by the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD), the Federation of Disability Organisations of Malawi (FEDOMA) and the Federation of Disability Organisations of Norway (FFO)

Mapping political context : a toolkit for civil society organisations

NASH, Robert
July 2006

Expand view

This comprises of a range of tools that civil society organisations (CSOs) can use to understand and map political context, in order to engage more effectively in policy processes. The tools have been selected because they cover a wide variety of political dimensions. As such, they provide a menu of different approaches to mapping political context; CSOs and others can select from this menu and make use of the tools according to their own needs

Monitoring and evaluating advocacy : a scoping study

CHAPMAN, Jennifer
WAMEYO, Amboka
January 2001

Expand view

This scoping study has attempted to identify and document how various agencies and institutions have approached the assessment of advocacy. It sets out a number of frameworks that look at similar issues from different perspectives and, instead of promoting one framework as the 'correct' one, allows the reader to pick and choose what elements are most useful to them. The work was limited in scale, and focused in particular upon the approaches of NGOs. The insights and ideas from this study will contribute to a three-year action research project to be undertaken by ActionAid and partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Networking for policy change : an advocacy training manual


Expand view

This training manual was prepared to help representatives of NGOs and other formal groups of civil society form and maintain advocacy networks and develop effective family planning/reproductive health advocacy skills. The manual's tools and approaches can be used to affect FP/RH policy decisions at the international, national, regional, and local levels. It identifies three building blocks of advocacy: the formation of networks, the identification of political opportunities, and the organisation of campaigns. The manual includes a section on each of these building blocks, with specific subjects presented in individual units. Units within each section contain background notes, learning objectives, and handouts. While the manual can be used in its entirety, it is designed to be used in sections depending on the particular needs of the network

Overview of health communication campaigns

March 2007

Expand view

This guide provides a hands-on 12-step process to developing health communication campaigns. Each chapter is created according to the steps, with information on what the step is, why it is important and what is required to carry it out

TB advocacy : a practical guide 1999

OWENS, Becky

Expand view

Using tuberculosis as an example, this guide goes through the stages of documenting the situation, packaging the message, working with the media, and mobilizing others to effect change through advocacy

Telling stories, understanding lives, working toward change

HAYLOR, Graham
SAVAGE, William
December 2005

Expand view

This paper considers the importance of listening to people's stories when working towards improving the lives and livelihoods of individuals and communities. "Stories are helping us learn more about the livelihoods of the fishers and farmers with whom we work in eastern India. We are engaged with these communities in processes and activities aimed at improving their lives and promoting changes in government policy and service delivery in aquaculture and fisheries. Stories are told in several languages by women and men who fish and farm, about their lives, their livelihoods and significant changes they have experienced. We also record stories as narrated to us by colleague-informants. The written and spoken word, photographs, drawings and films - all are used to document the stories of people’s lives, sometimes prompted by questions as simple as 'What do people talk about in the village?' Through the power of language, stories can be an entry point into livelihoods programming, monitoring and evaluation, conflict transformation and ultimately a way of giving life to a rights-based approach to development"

The how and why of advocacy

LANEY, Megan Lloyd
FRASER, Alastair
March 2005

Expand view

This information was collected for an introduction to advocacy training course. It looks at what, why and where to start and includes sessions on participatory advocacy, and monitoring and evaluation


Journal articles

Communication skills [whole issue]


Expand view

This issue describes why good communication is important for health workers. Giving advice is key, but finding out information and gaining people's trust has to come first. Unless you have gained people's confidence by communicating well with them, then your advice may not be followed. Articles explain how to select key messages to give people, how to explain points clearly in appropriate language and how to check if people have understood what you have said. This issue also provides ideas and examples for training others in communication skills