Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Coomaraswamy visits refugees in Renk, Upper Nile.


  • Identify benefits and risks of advocacy
  • Understand the framework for advocacy
  • Learn the principles of advocacy for MRM
  • Learn components of advocacy strategy formulation
Participants MRM Staff
Session Guided plenary discussion
Time required 90 minutes
Venue requirements Main training room
Breakout rooms or quiet areas
Equipment 2-3 Flip charts
Resource person(s) 1 person with knowledge of the topic, able to enrich the presentation by providing concrete examples and lessons based on own experience
Training materials - Advocacy Balance sheet [PDF]
- MRM Field Manual Section K3 "Advocacy"
Documents for participants
Access to materials All the training materials are included in Folder Module 14C: Advocacy

Pre-session preparation

Prepare with three facilitators (or participants) advocacy at local, national and international - determine who will cover which level.

Pre-position 2 or 3 flipcharts at front of the plenary

Session Sequence

  1. Introduction to Advocacy (15 minutes)

    Three facilitators or participants each provide one concrete example of advocacy at the following levels

    • Local
    • National
    • International
  2. Guided Plenary Discussion (60 minutes)

    Brainstorming introduction

    Commence with a series of brainstorming questions and list answers on flip charts. Following each brainstorming question, the facilitator should add any key aspects that are not included, and then provide an opportunity for discussion. Throughout the plenary discussion elicit examples from the participants to illustrate.

    Brainstorm: List the issues we advocate on - related to MRM

    • All six violations
    • Specific issues related to different violations - e.g. recruitment, releases, medical aid for child victims
    • Policy changes
    • Legislative reform

    Brainstorm: Who do we advocate with?

    • Government
    • Armed forces
    • Armed groups
    • UN peace-keepers
    • Civilian forces (e.g. police)
    • Our own organisations
    • Protection and other humanitarian clusters

    Brainstorm: List different types of advocacy

    • Immediate results
    • Long term goals
    • Public advocacy
    • Private advocacy
    • Advocacy on policy development and change
    • Advocacy on specific individual incidents
    • Advocacy for humanitarian response
    • Advocacy on behalf of an individual(s)
    • Advocacy on MRM itself (e.g. within own organisations)
    • Use of the media

    Brainstorm: Who carries out the advocacy?

    Global level:

    • UNSCWG
    • UN Agency Directors / Commissioners
    • Regional Organisations

    National level:

    • SRSG or RC
    • UN Agency Country Directors / Heads of Agencies
    • Foreign Embassy representatives or visiting foreign Government Officials
    • NGO Directors

    Local level:

    • Child Protection Advisors in UN Missions
    • Head of UN Field Offices
    • Protection Officers in UN agencies

    Brainstorm: List potential risks associated with advocacy.

    • Reduced access
    • Threats to staff and programmes
    • Threats to organisations - particularly local NGOs
    • Threats to local population
    • Threats to IDP population
    • Loss of legitimacy and influence
    • Distortion of messages
    • Misunderstanding or conflict among partners or within organisations
    • Resource intensive
    • Could be used politically
    Guided discussion

    Some suggestions for developing a discussion to follow from the brainstorming:

    1. Chose any two of the lists above and linking them ask for discussion on the challenges for carrying out advocacy.
      For example: 
      • The issues and who we advocate with.
      • And then ask what methodology is appropriate?
      • Who we advocate with and the potential risks
    2. Reflect on the different levels of advocacy and when each level might be appropriate
    3. Ask for examples of achievements in advocacy efforts with which they have been involved.
    4. Ask for examples of frustrations with advocacy with which they have been involved
    Advocacy Tools

    Share the Sargasso "Balance Sheet". Note that this is a real example from one country but is anonymised as it is still in current use by the UN Country Team.

    Discuss any other useful methods people have found to measure their advocacy impact.

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