Publication Date
March 1, 2014

"A ...toolkit for young people who are passionate about advancing HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights through national advocacy in the post-2015 agenda."

This toolkit supports the project ACT! 2015 (discussion on formulating the worldwide agenda following the 2015 end date of the Millennium Development Goals), which, in its first phase, initiated community dialogues to set advocacy priorities, organised by young people, with 187 registered on crowdoutaids.org. (See Related Summaries below.) The advocacy toolkit signals the beginning of phase two. It is a workbook for young people engaged in advancing HIV and SRHR through national advocacy in their countries in the post-2015 agenda. The toolkit was developed by a partnership of Restless Development, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), and PACT for social transformation in the AIDS response, a coalition of 25 youth organisations and their collective networks.

The focus period of advocacy is from April-October 2014. The toolkit is designed to give background information on the project, a timeline for action, and modules to: "set your priorities, map your networks, build your timeline, pick your targets, make your case, choose your activities, take stock and review progress, and develop your roadmap."

Appendix 2 summarises communication-related "advocacy hot tips":

“USING MEMORABLE COMMUNICATION:

Did you know that when it comes to remembering information, people recall 7% of verbal information (what is said), 38% of vocal information (how it is said) and 55% of visual information (what you look like and how you behaved)? In order to communicate effectively:

  • say only the minimum - less is more (verbal);
  • say it well, with passion and enthusiasm (vocal);
  • try to help people to see what you want them to understand (use visual props and handouts); and
  • smile!

WORKING WITH THE PRESS:

  • Build a list of relevant media contacts and relationships. You could adapt the partner tracker on page 79 to stay up-to-date.
  • Prepare press releases about your planned activities and events in advance.
  • Think about a news angle or a media hook, like International Youth Day.
  • Find opportunities to write newspaper articles, comment pieces or letters to the editor. It is very likely that your decision-makers will read the mainstream newspaper regularly, so this is a good place to target!
  • Community radio is a great way to build public support and send messages to decision-makers. Why not start a regular show?
  • Create your own media using posters, street art, photography, street theatre, social media or self- published magazines

FACILITATING AN EFFECTIVE MEETING:

  • Give participants a couple of minutes to prepare ideas before anyone speaks.
  • To get maximum participation from the group, try going around the room to give everyone a chance to speak, or ask quieter members for ideas first.
  • Ask participants to be specific in their statements and avoid generalizations.
  • Summarize or repeat ideas and points frequently.
  • Focus on the facts. Feelings need to be acknowledged, but future recommendations have to be based on agreed-upon facts.
  • When trying to identify the root cause for a problem, ask “why?” several times.
  • Make sure discussions of stumbling blocks don’t become witch-hunts or finger-pointing exercises.
  • It is okay to let people have their say, but you may have to keep pulling them back from the problems of the past to ask “so what would you do differently next time?”
  • During this segment, good and bad points will be raised. Try not to pass judgment - it will stifle participation. Let everyone be heard and move on to the next participant or topic.

LOBBYING YOUR DECISION-MAKERS:

  • Establish a rapport /communicate regularly;
  • Be friendly;
  • Find out what they want;
  • Present solid evidence and get it right;
  • Speak clearly and concisely - avoid jargon;
  • Always leave a handout to help them remember your key points;
  • Present a solution for every problem; and
  • Thank them for their time

SUSTAINING YOUR WORK:

  • Have a clear timeline.
  • Collaborate with other organizations: by spreading responsibility for your project across several different groups, you’re building a stronger support structure for the future. If one group discontinues their support, at least there are others who can take on more responsibility.
  • Build strong alliances with adults and mentors: adults and mentors can be a vital source of wisdom, financial resources and technical expertise that is often required to take a one-time project to a more long-term venture.
  • Plan for leadership transition: you may not always be the person in charge of your project! Leaving the right information so that a new leader can take over is essential. Put together a package of useful information for the next project leader.
  • Keep good records and manage knowledge: keeping good records of your contacts, how you do things and your achievements will help you to sustain the effect of your project in the future. This includes documenting what you have learned through the process of evaluation."
Source: 

AWID Resource Net Announcements, May 22 2014 and email from Youth ACT! 2015 to The Communication Initiative on May 28 2014.