CARE International Advocacy and Influencing: A Review of Pathways to Success

Publication Date: 27/09/2019

This report constitutes a review of 208 advocacy and influencing initiatives that reported having successfully influenced policies, plans and budgets. A sample of 31 cases were included in for review. These comprised influencing outcomes across 16 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, North America and Europe. We estimate that outcomes these initiatives influenced have so far improved the lives of more than 4.2 million people, with the potential for future impacts for a further 116 million people. 20 cases were from national or local level policy, plan or budget influence in the global South, and 11 case from the global North, influencing donor strategies or international negotiations.

Overall, the top 4 strategies employed across the North and the global South were: (i) lobbying-decision-makers; (ii) coalition building; (iii) public forums and (iv) method replication. Twice as common as any other strategy was lobbying decision-makers. This was also judged to be the most effective strategy in both the South and the North. 23 initiatives employed some form of lobbying decision-makers, and in 19 of these it was ranked as the most influential strategy. This lobbying was commonly a form of “insider” approach where CARE and partners already had a good relationship with government line ministries, having built credibility and trust over a number of years. Particularly in the South, advocacy efforts were part of a strategy over more than five years. Such efforts demonstrate that long-term investment is required for policy change to materialise into impact. The main tactics or strategies which did not feature strongly were activism and campaigning such as marches, petitions and use of social media, and evidence for the use of research was also uneven. We consider why this may be the case in greater detail toward the end of the paper

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