Practitioners not advocates

I’ve just come back from Sofia where I was running an advocacy workshop for the Romani Early Years Network (REYN), which has members supporting Roma communities in 11 countries across Europe.

I was struck during the first session at their insistence that the people in the room were practitioners not advocates. Yet over the course of the workshop their passion and experience on the issue just shone through. As we began to cover some basic campaigning tools such as the elevator pitch, it became very clear that they were also excellent advocates on their issue.

I have often come across a view around the world that advocacy campaigning is done by experts in advocacy campaigning. My experience in Sofia has only served to re-enforce my alternative view that the best advocacy campaigners are people with experience on their issue and a real burning desire for change.

I was delighted by the positive and enthusiastic response at this workshop. When I reflected on this response, I did conclude that I did not do anything differently, but what was notable at this workshop was the burning desire held by the participants for change on their issue.

You can offer all of the advocacy campaign tools in the world – but to make real progress you also need a burning desire for change. Put practical campaign tools together with a burning desire for change, and I think you are really onto something!

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