Advocacy

Introduction

INSSA’s mission objectives focus on two key issues: (1) enhancing the professional development of aid workers, and (2) improving their capacity to prepare for and respond to safety and security risks. Many of the activities to address these objectives will be of a technical nature and focus on operational or field challenges. The Association has decided to support and complement these efforts through active advocacy that has clear benefits and measurable outcomes for its members.

 

INSSA’s advocacy efforts are framed by the following key considerations:

  • How the Association defines advocacy.
  • What is the objective of the advocacy effort?
  • What is the direct benefit to INSSA members?

 

How INSSA Defines Advocacy

Advocacy is used widely within the international aid sector, often associated with rights-based programming. To ensure the Association communicates its advocacy role and intentions clearly, it is important to define the role in the context of INSSA’s mission and strategic vision.

A general definition of ‘advocacy’ is the “public support for, or recommendation of a particular cause or policy”.[1]

INSSA's advocacy efforts may aim to seek public support for important issues. Equally these efforts may seek to identify and communicate issues of concern, and prompt action by relevant decision-makers within the international aid sector and elsewhere.

Therefore INSSA may define its advocacy effort as:

Direct engagement with decision-makers and the public, to raise awareness and prompt action on safety and security issues important to INSSA members.

What is the Objective of the Advocacy Effort?

The Association’s advocacy objective may be described as:

Ensuring important issues identified by the members are communicated to relevant audiences and debated, with the intention of developing and influencing potential solutions to challenges.

INSSA’s advocacy efforts ought to have a measurable impact or visible effect that moves the issues of concern in a desired direction. To achieve this, the outcomes may focus on:

  • Educating relevant decision-makers about specific issues
  • Increasing public awareness of important issues with the aim of motivating others (e.g. civil society groups, researchers, managers of aid organizations, etc.) to debate these issues
  • Prompting a discernible change in practice that improves the safety and security of aid workers and increases humanitarian access in insecure environments

 

Advocacy Activities

The Association may choose to conduct two types of advocacy activities: (1) Directly taking members’ concerns forward through engagement and public awareness raising; and (2) Supporting new or existing like-minded projects and campaigns (e.g. World Humanitarian Day) that further the interests of INSSA's members.

(1) Directly taking members’ concerns forward will first require listening to those concerns, prioritizing the issues, and determining if the Association can have a meaningful impact on them through advocacy. Each specific issue will inform who the target audience will be, the desired outcomes and the nature of the advocacy activity.

To prioritize issues put forward by members, INSSA will assess each case against defined criteria, to measure the likelihood of success through advocacy and the overall benefit to the membership as a whole.

Prior to taking any action, INSSA will consider the potential risks or challenges that may result from advocacy actions.

On behalf of its members, INSSA may conduct the following actions to address specific issues:

  • Press statements in response to an incident or issue
  • Comments on open-source blogs (e.g. mainstream media or special interest groups, AlertNet, ReliefWeb, etc.)
  • Identifying and engaging relevant decision-makers on key issues, offering recommendations and prompting action, and following up on these issues when deemed necessary
  • Building internal and external support bases through petitions or other events
  • Where deemed appropriate, providing or encouraging memorial activities

(2) Supporting like-minded projects may be in the form of direct or indirect support. Third-party projects (e.g. World Humanitarian Day) may be nominated by any INSSA member, and will be assessed by the Board of Directors against defined criteria, to determine the appropriateness of establishing a relationship between INSSA and the project.

 

Timeline & Reviews

INSSA’s advocacy effort is likely to be ad hoc, addressing issues as they arise. This framework will be subject to periodic review, with an initial review conducted within six months of implementation, followed by a review period not exceeding two years. Amendments to the framework will be guided and informed by members’ requirements.

Reviews will consider (1) the frequency of advocacy requests from members, (2) the capacity of INSSA to ensure advocacy outputs are useful.

 

Submitting a Request Advocacy Support

Members have the right to request advocacy support at any time. Requests are to be submitted to the Advocacy Committee (made up of INSSA Board members) at advocacy@ingossa.org.  For more information, please see the INSSA's Advocacy Guide for Members.

 

[1] New Oxford American Dictionary, 2005

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