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Advocacy
Campaigns

Advocacy is a process that aims to change political attitudes, policies, and laws in support of people or areas negatively affected by a specific situation, and does so through pressuring and lobbying decision-makers. It has become a common and often successful approach to acting on and influencing policy making and political debate in Europe, but has yet to gain traction on the trans-national level in the Southern neighbourhood of the Mediterranean basin. While civil society organisations (CSOs) in the region do initiate advocacy efforts, they are still limited in their scope and rarely cross borders. In response, the Med Dialogue Programme seeks to coach and support CSOs in developing advocacy campaigns across the Mashreq and Maghreb as a pilot test for effective ways to strengthen advocacy efforts in the region. This initiative uses and builds upon data acquired in Med Dialogue’s mapping study, which found a notable interest in advocacy …

Advocacy is a process that aims to change political attitudes, policies, and laws in support of people or areas negatively affected by a specific situation, and does so through pressuring and lobbying decision-makers. It has become a common and often successful approach to acting on and influencing policy making and political debate in Europe, but has yet to gain traction on the trans-national level in the Southern neighbourhood of the Mediterranean basin. While civil society organisations (CSOs) in the region do initiate advocacy efforts, they are still limited in their scope and rarely cross borders. In response, the Med Dialogue Programme seeks to coach and support CSOs in developing advocacy campaigns across the Mashreq and Maghreb as a pilot test for effective ways to strengthen advocacy efforts in the region.

This initiative uses and builds upon data acquired in Med Dialogue’s mapping study, which found a notable interest in advocacy in the region, in addition to the conclusions and suggestions of those who participated in the Vision Med 2030 workshops. It targets CSOs selected from the roster of participants in the mapping survey. The campaigns will address thematic issues on the regional level and engage with institutions and policymakers. 

This capacity building activity takes into account the obstacles advocacy efforts face in the region, as identified by the mapping study. These include: CSOs’ weakness in calling for change, compared to more powerful players such as corporations and media groups; the lack of efficient networking between CSOs; limited experience in working on a cross-border level; and the risks posed by the shrinking of democratic spaces.

Coached and supported campaigns shall meet specific objectives, as a response to the weaknesses mentioned above. They explore possible methodologies, based on connecting research, networking and political influence. They provide capacity building training for CSOs in advocacy planning and action, especially on the cross-border level. They facilitate strategizing and cooperation between the Southern Neighbourhood countries on one hand, and between the North and South shores on the other, in addition to encouraging groupings and networks formation. In order to support those aims, the Programme team provides consistent technical support and resources to meet the needs of the networks and entities involved.

As such, the outcomes of this activity will take the shape of four regional campaigns implemented by the selected CSOs and groupings, and the emergence of advocacy oriented networks among civil society actors of the region which will help them with future efforts to create change. Med Dialogue for Rights and Equality also hopes to contribute towards changes in policy- and decision-making, and develop advocacy methods that could be adapted by more CSOs and networks in the region.

The Programme will run two campaigns in 2020: the first will be an online campaign in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions in the summer, and the second will be linked to the Vision Med 2030 process and will take its focus and targets after the final debate initiative’s North-South workshop. The remaining two campaigns will be decided on later and run in 2021 and 2022.

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