The Innovation for Change (I4C) Africa Hub was launched in November 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa with thirty (30) participants across Africa. The Hub is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of seven (7) members representing the five (5) African sub-regions, the diaspora and young activists. The Hub is managed by a Secretariat based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Even though the African continent is growing economically, human rights defenders are facing increased operational, legal and financial constraints. Rampant corruption and clawing back of democratic principles and respect for human and civil rights is leading to conflicts between civil society and the state, politicians, institutions and the private sector, mitigating good governance, and shrinking civic space. Africa Hub is working to provide tools and strategies to increase the capacity of CSOs to effectively respond to these regressive trends with a focus on influencing government policy.
Advocacy refers to a broad set of techniques used by civil society and other actors as a means to influence decision making and behaviour – mostly aimed at government, private sector, or general public. Policy advocacy then is specifically targeted at achieving broad changes in the principles or systems that are in place around a particular issue such as laws and guiding principles – better known as policy. For CSOs often this means government regulations on key issue areas such as rights of marginalised groups, discriminatory policies, restrictions on freedoms, equitable access to resources and services, etc.
Advocacy usually requires interactions at the decision-maker level with government and applying a wide range of possible techniques, including mobilizing public pressure. Policy advocacy runs across a wide variety of tools from external advocacy techniques such as social media campaigns, lobbying and policy analysis. Improving the impact of advocacy efforts can as well entail institutional strengthening such as skills in monitoring and evaluation of advocacy campaigns and management of CSO networks. Our experience has shown that CSOs on the continent are often lacking capacity in these techniques.
For these reasons we have developed a compendium of resources on various approaches to policy advocacy. A capacity assessment tool is provided to ensure that participating CSOs are able to receive relevant resources to address their specific capacity gaps.
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