Advocacy for inclusion

Advocacy is a difficult process to define; there are no internationally agreed upon definitions of advocacy so therefore defining advocacy is often a process in itself.

In the context of international development, organisations often give their own definitions of advocacy which range from broad to specific definitions. However, general advocacy activities in the context of development typically relate to a process where individuals, groups or communities try to influence policy and decision-makers. These groups aim to change policy, procedures and/or practice by focusing upon and minimising the structural causes of poverty and disadvantage. Advocacy is a means to achieving equity and social justice through the empowerment of disadvantaged groups, including people with disabilities, so they actively participate and are directly included in decision making processes affecting their lives. Advocacy activities typically cover a broad range of activities such as awareness-raising, lobbying, public relations and influencing specific legislation.

Advocacy is key to challenge barriers to inclusion and improve policy, environmental and attitudinal factors so people with disabilities are fully supported, enabled, included and empowered to participate fully on an equal basis in society. This is supported by the United Nation’s Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), with a particular focus on article 8.

This key list draws together a selection of advocacy resources that highlight information about how to initiate and manage advocacy campaigns, implement awareness-raising activities, engage in lobbying and/or public relations, and influence specific legislation. The resources feature both mainstream and disability-specific strategies and tools. We welcome your feedback: please send comments or suggested additions to

Selected resources

Advocacy : key information sheet 4

January 2012

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"In development processes, participation of civil society organisations (CSOs) is a critical factor for the promotion of sustainable development. In a democratic society there are many different groups, often with competing interests. In order to make the voices of a group heard - and to bring specific opinions and needs to the attention of policy makers and development organisations - advocacy can be an effective tool." This key information sheet explores the importance, purpose and goals of advocacy and outlines ten practical steps to successful advocacy
Key information sheet 4

The how and why of advocacy

LANEY, Megan Lloyd
FRASER, Alastair
March 2005

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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

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

MILLER, Valerie
March 2007

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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 : building skills for NGO leaders


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A three-day, six-session curriculum designed as a companion piece to 'Cairo, Beijing, and Beyond: A Handbook on Advocacy for Women Leaders'. This manual uses participatory methodologies and is based on CEDPA's experience in building the skills of NGO leaders to advocate for change in the reproductive health arena. While the background information and role play scenarios deal directly with reproductive health issues, a trainer can adapt the sessions for other contexts

Advocacy in action : a toolkit to support NGOs and CBOs responding to HIV/AIDS


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A comprehensive toolkit designed for people and organisations that support NGOs/CBOs responding to HIV/AIDS in developing countries. Introduces the concept of advocacy ('influencing people and organisations in power to create an environment which protects the rights, health and welfare of everyone'); provides a step-by-step guide to planning and implementing advocacy work; and provides information and skills-building activities. Includes 'A facilitator's guide to participatory workshops' and '100 ways to energise groups : games to use in workshops, meetings and the community'. All materials are on the CD-ROM, which is included in the pack, and on the International HIV/AIDS Alliance website

Advocacy toolkit : guidance on how to advocate for a more enabling environment for civil society in your context

TOMA, Costanza D

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This toolkit aims for civil society organizations (CSOs) to continue advocating for a more enabling environment for their work, capitalizing on the global momentum to improve their effectiveness as development actors. "This toolkit encourages advocacy among and between CSOs and towards external stakeholders. The toolkit is divided into three sections. Section 1 is an overview summarising the main points and key steps in advocating for a more enabling environment for CSOs. Section 2 provides essential information and documents on CSO development effectiveness and enabling environment. Section 3 provides step-by-step guidance and tools on activities and logistics to assist CSOs develop, implement, monitor and evaluate their advocacy for an enabling environment. A variety of advocacy tools are included throughout the toolkit and templates are available in the annexes. Each section also includes practical tips, case studies and quotes representing Open Forum members’ voices"

Advocacy toolkit : practical action in advocacy

GORDON, Graham

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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

Advocacy toolkit : understanding advocacy

GORDON, Graham

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This is the first volume of Tearfund's Advocacy Toolkit, which covers advocacy's links with development, and the biblical basis for advocacy. It is Tearfund's main advocacy training resource, and is aimed primarily at local communities, and their churches and NGOs

Advocacy tools and guidelines : promoting policy change


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This manual provides "a step by step guide for planning advocacy initiatives, as well as advice for successful implementation. They are intended for country office program managers who wish to include advocacy in their programs. These guidelines will help you to: Learn about advocacy concepts and advocacy vocabulary; Analyze policies that lie at the root of poverty and discrimination; See how advocacy can help you increase your impact; Devise a strategy to achieve your advocacy aims; Acquire essential skills to help you become an effective advocate"

An introduction to advocacy : training guide


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Sets out the purpose and methods of advocacy; builds basic advocacy skills; promotes the use and impact of information through advocacy. Designed for anyone who wants to influence policies through advocacy. Sections can be adapted for use in training at meetings or conferences, or can inform research dissemination or communication strategies

Community advocates training manual : the HIV/AIDS prevention project for vulnerable youth in northern Nigeria


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"The Community Advocates training manual is a curriculum developed by Population Council, Nigeria under the HIV Prevention Project for Vulnerable Youth in Northern Nigeria funded by USAID/Nigeria. The curriculum was developed as a tool for training community advocates to conduct advocacy activities on the issues of early marriage, HIV/AIDS and reproductive health. The curriculum is developed on the premise that community representatives can speak out on issues concerning their lives and community, if given the necessary skills"

Mobilising communities on young people’s health and rights : an advocacy training guide

June 2008

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"The Training Guide was developed as a tool for ‘Mobilising Communities for Young People’s Health and Rights: An Advocacy Toolkit for Programme Managers’, which is designed to assist programme planners and managers in designing, conducting, and evaluating advocacy campaigns to advance the implementation of existing policies, with a specific focus on young people’s sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and rights. The Training Guide was developed with the view that community-based advocacy is a crucial intervention, and that much more needs to be done to equip grassroots groups, networks, and organisations with the information and advocacy skills to demand that community needs and priorities be addressed. The Training Guide is specifically designed for use with community-based organisations, youth groups, and other grassroots partners that are interested in improving access to SRH information and services for youth. The five-day training leads participants through the essential steps in designing and planning an advocacy campaign. The Training Guide includes a number tools specifically designed to help grassroots partners formulate advocacy goals and objectives, and map out a comprehensive advocacy plan"

A basic manual for inclusive development

GATJENS, Luis Fernando Astorga
February 2007

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This manual is a training resource to further the understanding of the meaning of inclusive development, and to provide useful tools for designing, planning, lobbying and advocacy actions. The manual is divided into six topic chapters that follow a developmental logic. This manual is useful for DPOs, and other individuals and social organisations that are interested in the issue of inclusive development in Central America

Change your life with human rights : a self-advocacy guide for people with disabilities

STEIN, Michael

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This guide provides self-help advocacy advice for people with disabilities. It includes explanations, exercises and resources that provide clarity on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and outlines how to advocate and influence legislation. This resource would be useful for anyone with an interest in human rights, advocacy and influencing legislation

Creating successful campaigns for community living : an advocacy manual for disability organisations and service providers

November 2008

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The aim of this resource is to aid individuals and organisations who advocate for the changes that are required to ensure that people with disabilities are included in community life activities as equal citizens. It provides information and advice on how to conduct campaigns and other activities to attain inclusion for all people with disabilities

Disability rights TOT training manual


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"This TOT training manual was developed by HI Laos to facilitate the process of effective and meaningful inclusion, empowerment, promotion and protection of the rights of people with disabilities." Practical exercises, cases studies, questionnaires and checklists are provided

The self-advocacy toolkit for mental health services users

NTULO, Christian A

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"This toolkit is has been developed to guide advocacy efforts for groups of people with mental disorders at local and national level. Its activities are participatory by nature so as to add flavour to every group meeting. It uses the term "activity leader" to promote shared leadership, and provides a variety of activities for the groups to choose from as they plan for and execute their advocacy campaign"

Advocacy impact assessment guidelines


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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

Good practice database


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This database contains individual good practice case studies that were collected using the Making it Work methodology. Making it Work is based on documenting examples of good practices and analyzing these practices to understand how they can be replicated or scaled up. The good practice case studies highlight what practice was achieved and how changes were achieved. Users can search for case studies by CRPD article, region, country, language, keyword or general search option

Monitoring government policies : a toolkit for civil society organisations in Africa


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This toolkit is designed to help African civil society organisations analyse and monitor government policy implementation. High-quality research, accompanied by strong campaigning and lobbying is a key way for local organisations to hold their governments to account. The tools included in this document are based on a two-year participatory project, including three workshops, with partner organisations in Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and Malawi. This resource is also available in Portuguese and French