My first international assignment

I’m just back from my first international assignment in a while. I had the pleasure of working in Lake Ohrid, North Macedonia supporting an advocacy network across the Western Balkans.

There was a focus on three key areas:

Firstly, we discussed the importance of having a future story to drive your advocacy campaign forward. During the workshop, the vital element of being not a story teller but a story maker. As you develop your advocacy future story, you will not be commentating on it, but by your actions you will be playing a part in making your future story actually happen!

We also discussed how civil society can advocate for change in polarised societies. I highlighted how important it is to listen to other people, to get your information and news from a variety of sources, and to start conversations from where people actually are, and not where you would like them to be.

And we discussed digital advocacy. In my reflections, I suggested that it was vital to lower the barriers to entry – make it easy for people to get involved in your campaign. Also that digital advocacy should focus in the same way as any advocacy on a clear advocacy message – with a defined problem and solution – and with an absence of ambiguity. And I emphasised the importance of allowing people to express their support for your campaign authentically. In an age of ‘clicktivism’, encouraging people to express themselves in their own way is just vital.

So, we covered a lot of ground, and after so many months of online meetings, it was so good to meet face to face once more in that common human enterprise of working together to campaign for change!

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