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  • Making Advocacy Attractive to Grant-Makers

    Advocacy programmes are at times perceived as ineffective, controversial and hard to measure, making them less likely to attract funding and the interest of donors, which is unfortunate considering the invaluable contribution that advocacy programmes make towards sustainability.

    The following are key considerations that each organisation working in advocacy should consider:
    1. Solid research: whether you are raising awareness or arguing a specific position, your advocacy programme has to be based on rigorous research and objective evidence that supports your position. Even if advocating for a new, innovative solution to a development challenge, it must be grounded in a deep understanding of the context, key stakeholders and historical evidence of tracking past unsuccessful interventions. Remember you are not advocating your own opinion. 
    2. Know your advocacy: considering advocacy can mean different things to different people, as an organisation it is vital that you have a common understanding and definition within your organisation of what it entails. This will give grant-makers the ability to decide which parts they would like to fund, depending on their tolerance level to advocacy work. 
    3. Approach to advocacy: are you using the most suitable approach to the challenge you are addressing i.e. is it changing policy or changing behaviour? As an organisation, you should spend time thinking about which is the most effective and efficient approach, e.g. a direct or indirect approach; ‘inside track’ or ‘outside track’ (advocacy from within, working with decision-makers, or from outside by confronting or exposing). 
    4. Strong strategy and direction: your advocacy programme has to have an explicit programme theory of how specific activities targeted to certain people are expected to bring about change and when. It is important to be able to articulate this clearly with an awareness of the different power dynamics and spheres of influence. 
    5. Structured, yet responsive monitoring and evaluation (M&E): advocacy programmes deal with complex processes and M&E can be challenging, but is essential. There are many approaches, but what is required is to have a structured process for monitoring while being responsive to real-time data, and the unexpected effects of your interventions. The more rigorous the tracking, the more likely it is to track the effects of your interventions (outcomes and impact) and perhaps understand causes. It is also vital to collect information from various sources. 
    Structuring your advocacy programme with the above in mind will likely make it grounded, attractive and effective.

    Furthermore, remember that in many ways advocacy programmes are the answer to sustainable change, obviously depending on where the gridlock lies, and if successful they are likely to solve many of the challenges that are currently being addressed through unsustainable interventions.

    - Amira Elibiary is a monitoring and evaluation specialist at Tshikululu Social Investments. This article first appeared on the Tshikululu Social Investments website. 
  • WHO: Ebola Set to Explode Without Drastic Action

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that, the Ebola epidemic is set to explode unless the response is radically intensified, warning that hundreds of thousands could be infected by the end of 2014.

    In a report, the United Nations agency declares that new cases would surge from hundreds each week to thousands without ‘drastic improvements in control measures’, with the number of infections set to more than triple to 20 000 by November 2014.

    The research paper warns that the outbreak could drag out for years and become entrenched in West Africa, which has already seen almost 3 000 deaths.

    To read the article titled, “Ebola cases to explode without drastic action: WHO,” click here.

    Source: 
    The Citizen
  • Coalition Calls for Better Response to Mental Health, Addiction

    Health organisations have launched a new drive to address what some have called a ‘mental health pandemic’ fuelled by drug abuse in South Africa.

    During the Rural Health Conference in Worcester, Western Cape, the Rural Doctors Association of Southern Africa, Rural Rehab South Africa (RuReSA) and other health organisations launched the Rural Mental Health Advocacy Campaign which aims to advocate for mental health services, including those aimed at addressing drug and alcohol addiction.

    RuReSA’s chairperson, Kate Sherry warns that, "We are facing a mental health pandemic, it is everywhere, and the health system is not prepared to deal with it."

    To read the article titled, “Coalition calls for better response to mental health, addiction,” click here.

    Source: 
    All Africa
  • Launch of the Tipfuxeni Project, 23 September 2014

    The South African National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO), in partnership with the Southern African NGO Network (SANGONeT), launched the Tipfuxeni Project, on 23 September 2014 in Johannesburg.

    Tipfuxeni, is a two-year online capacity building project aimed at South African non-governmental organisations (NGOs). One of the components of the Tipfuxeni Project is an interactive web platform, which provides NGOs, especially those that have not benefited from any information and communication technology (ICT) projects before, the opportunity to take advantage of ICTs and raise awareness about their work, share best practices and access information on NGO opportunities, among others.

    Speaking during the Tipfuxeni launch, deputy minister of monitoring and evaluation in the presidency, Buti Manamela, described South Africa as a better place due to NGOs such as SANGOCO and SANGONeT whose mission over the decades, and in the outcome of Tipfuxeni, has been in cultivating active and vocal citizenry by being participants in their own development. Manamela states that, “The Tipfuxeni Project recognises that ICTs have a critical role to play in ensuring that NPOs [nonprofit organisations] embrace the vision outlined in the National Development Plan’s Vision 2030. The project is founded on the belief that access to ICT plays a crucial role in creating conditions for meaningful participation of people in society.  The profound meaning of the Xitsonga word Tipfuxeni, which means Do It For Yourself, is a critical underpinning of our national call to action, Together We Move South Africa Forward.”

    He adds that, government is deeply committed to working with NGOs to combat concerns of poverty, unemployment and inequality which continue to haunt society 20 years into democracy.

    To view the full speeches delivered at the launch refer to:

    SANGOCO and SANGONeT would like to thank all civil society organisations and all stakeholders involved for supporting the launch of the Tipfuxeni portal.

    We encourage you to continue engaging the sector on issues relating to NGO fundraising in South Africa through the Tipfuxeni portal, www.tipfuxeni.org.za, Twitter: @Tipfuxeni_Tipx and Facebook: Tipfuxeni Portal.
     
  • Activists Call Action on Climate Change

    Activists concerned about climate change have delivered a petition on ‘climate justice demands’ to government officials at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

    The gathering, which comes ahead of the upcoming United Nations climate summit to be held in New York next week, saw climate and energy campaigners of groups such as local climate movement 350Africa, Greenpeace and Right2Know Campaign dancing and waving placards containing the slogans ‘We Fight Climate Change’, ‘No More Coal’, and "Clean Energy Now’.

    Ferrial Adam of climate movement 350Africa says people are tired of ‘talk shops’ and want to see real action.

    To read the article titled, “Climate change is happening to us now: Pretoria activists,” click here.

    Source: 
    Times Live
  • NGOs Slam Attacks on Judge Masipa

    Several legal organisations say they are concerned by the threats and personal attacks directed at Judge Thokozile Masipa, who presided over the trial of blade runner, Oscar Pistorius.

    The Legal Resources Centre, SECTION27, and the Centre for Child Law state that the wave of criticism directed at Masipa personally in relation to her judgment had resulted in her requiring police protection.

    In a press statement, they argue that some of the remarks may even border on hate speech, defamation and contempt of court, adding that, “These comments allege that Judge Masipa is corrupt, and/or that her gender and/or race rendered her incompetent in appropriately applying the law to the evidence presented.”

    To read the article titled, “Legal groups slam attacks on Masipa,” click here.

    Source: 
    IOL News
  • World Losing Battle Against Ebola

    The international medical agency, Medecins sans Frontieres, says the world was ‘losing the battle’ to contain Ebola as the United Nations (UN) warned of severe food shortages in the hardest-hit countries.

    MSF told a UN briefing in New York that world leaders were failing to address the epidemic and called for an urgent global biological disaster response to get aid and personnel to West Africa.

    MSF international president, Joanne Liu, points out that, "Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it. Leaders are failing to come to grips with this transnational threat."

    To read the article titled, “World 'losing battle' to contain Ebola: MSF,” click here.

    Source: 
    Sowetan Live
  • NGOs Key in Conservation - Kasukuwere

    The Zimbabwean government has commended community-based and non-governmental organisations for becoming key partners in protecting and conserving the environment.

    Environment, Water and Climate Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, says this enhanced the Zim-Asset objectives in addressing environmental challenges through community participation.

    Speaking at the United Nations Development Programme - Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (UNDP-GEFSGP) Exhibition and Knowledge Fair Event in Harare, Kasukuwere pointed out that these organisations have become key partners in maintaining the fine balance between human needs and environmental sustainability.

    To read the article titled, “Community-based NGOs key in conservation,” click here.

    Source: 
    All Africa
  • Activist Tackles Abusive Shell Companies

    Charmian Gooch, a co-founder of Global Witness, a group that advocates for financial transparency, is rewriting rules from Washington to Brussels - and changing the way companies do business.

    On 31 October 2013, United Kingdom Prime Minister, David Cameron, took the stage at the Open Government Partnership conference in London and announced a that he was going to introduce legislation requiring all companies based in Britain to disclose who their ultimate owners are in a publicly accessible registry.

    According to the World Bank, more than US$1 trillion is lost to bribery and state looting annually, and according to Mo Ibrahim, whose Mo Ibrahim Foundation has created organisation created the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, “…this is something that needs to be addressed urgently…”

    To read the article titled, “Corruption fighter Gooch tackles abusive Shell companies,” click here.

    Source: 
    Bloomberg News
  • Call for NGOs to be Audited

    Nsanje District Commissioner, Harry Phiri, says that the Kalondolondo Social audit programme should start assessing projects implemented by the country's non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

    Phiri says that most of the NGOs in Malawi receive more funds from donors, adding that the funds are not properly handled and therefore need to be assessed.

    His opinion comes at a time when the district is to have its 25 Local Development Fund (LDF) teacher houses project audited by the Kalondolondo programme.

    To read the article titled, “CSOS' projects should be audited - Nsanje DC,” click here.

    Source: 
    All Africa
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