“Advocacy in practice”: 8 suggested steps for political incidence

Publication sets out communication and persuasion strategies in the process of creating and implementing public policies and laws

Camila Asano, diretora de programas da Conectas, participa de audiência pública no Senado. Foto: Jefferson Rudy/Agência Senado Camila Asano, diretora de programas da Conectas, participa de audiência pública no Senado. Foto: Jefferson Rudy/Agência Senado

The Federal Constitution guarantees the Brazilian people´s right to actively participate in the formulation and implementation of public policies and laws. Participation is usually carried out by civil society who adopt practices of advocacy. In other words, they use a set of tools for communication and expression, within the democratic arena, in order to influence the decision-making process in favour of the needs and demands of different sectors of society.

In a clear and educational format, the recently-published Advocacy na prática: caminhos e aprendizados ao fazer incidência política” (Advocacy in practice: paths and experiences in carrying out political incidence) is an additional tool that is available to anyone involved in this process. Use this link to download the publication.

The content, organised by Conectas and Missão Paz, with the support of the Laudes Foundation and produced by Entremeios, brings together the experiences of these organisations in the area of human rights, migration and refuge, with special reference to the process that led to the Brazilian Migration Act, passed by the National Congress, in 2017. 

According to Camila Asano, Conectas programme director, “the activity of advocacy is complex and arduous. This practical, educational material, focused on the experience of people who carry out political incidence, will contribute to the work of organisations in various sectors of society”. 

“The Laudes Foundation´s objective in supporting this booklet is to create a safe environment in which colleagues feel at ease in sharing what they have learnt and the challenges they face in advocacy activities, principally in the complex scenario of collaboration between different organisations”, says Margarida Lunetta, manager of the programme, Rights and Work at the Laudes Foundation.

The publication provides the best routes and paths, as well as tips and points to be aware of that can help the work of those who carry out advocacy in any area. It is not a manual or a recipe book, but is instead a collection of experiences and lessons learnt. 

This new publication is a spin-off of the book “Estrangeiro, nunca mais! Migrante como sujeito de direito e a importância do advocacy pela nova Lei de Migração Brasileira”, (“Foreigner, never again! Migrant rights and the importance of advocacy for the new Brazilian Migration Act) by Ebenézer Oliveira and Cyntia Sampaio.

See below the eight suggested steps listed in “Advocacy in practice”: 

1) Defining objectives – deciding what you want to achieve, principally what you want to achieve by influencing the design of a public policy/bill of law, is fundamental for good quality work.

2) Context analysis – analysing the context of the cause you intend to work on is both a necessity and a skill that has to be constantly honed. 

3) Developing knowledge – Advocacy is a process that has to be underpinned by solid, evidence-based technical information.

4) Mapping of those involved in the conversation and of participative spaces – mapping and studying all those involved in the conversation, as well as their connections, contributes to carrying out more objective and efficient incidence.

5) Partnership and commitment – pacts, networks and coalitions, albeit informal in structure, are aspects that strengthen the work of communication and they generate more strength than merely relying on organic partnerships between organisations.

6) Structure and institutional positioning – having time and patience to understand how state bureaucracy works, forming an internal team, well-established mechanisms of transparency and access to financial backers are important precautions for good performance.

7) Communication and mobilisation – talking to the press, producing and publishing narratives and communications material, in an objective, direct way, with the aim of establishing or fortifying new points of view on the matter, are essential.

8) Negotiation – knowing how to communicate, how to listen, how to prioritise and how to be flexible. The practice of advocacy requires an organised, planned process and demands flexibility and openness at every stage of the work.

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