There are many ways to advocate for an issue. These range from organising conferences gathering all stakeholders (government, doctors, patients), setting up stakeholder meetings, (e.g. between government and civil society or patient organisations) or working with the media (press interviews, articles, opinion-editorials, etc.) to campaigning on social media or organizing civil society gatherings (exhibitions, workshops, demonstrations, etc.)
Building a strategy
When building an advocacy strategy, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I want to achieve?
- Who is my target audience?
- What do I want to say?
- What are the opportunities I could hook upon (existing events, initiatives, etc.)
- What are the partners I could work with?
- What is the timeframe?
- What is my budget?
- What are my capacities (resources, skills, manpower available, etc.)
Where to begin
The first thing to do is to elaborate a stakeholder mapping and a policy audit. These will help identify what the issues are in relation to kidney donation and transplantation in your country and who the key stakeholders on this issue are and what they do.
Based on your country’s organ donation and transplantation national landscape, you will be able to identify:
- Relevant policy streams and initiatives which may serve as a vehicle for change
- Relevant opportunities to share your messages. These include events that already have a high profile or which gather some of your key stakeholders. Some ideas include:
- European Kidney Forum –annual EKHA event – Spring
- EKPF events – http://www.ekpf.eu/
- World Kidney Day – annual, the second Thursday in March
- International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF) events – http://www.ifkf.org/
- Events of national patient groups or foundations
- Events of national medical organisations (nephrology, organ donation and transplantation).
Conferences, workshops and other initiatives organized on the organ donation and transplantation provide an excellent first platform to roll out your messages and they can also be a good opportunity to build partnerships with other stakeholders sharing the same goals. This can strengthen the impact of your messages and activities.
Potential partners include national professional associations as well as patient organisations who have an increasingly strong voice and influence with policy makers, media and the public.
Key steps for successful partnerships building
- Contact relevant health stakeholders in your country, identified by the stakeholder mapping exercise.
- Seek an initial meeting to understand their objectives and plans, and to share your goals and ideas
- Agree on areas of mutual interests where you could work collaboratively in pursuit of shared goals
- Identify and agree on key national and regional government officials and other health influencers to target.
Advocacy should be targeted towards clear goals and delivered using key messages.
These core messages should be tailored to reflect the local reality of kidney health in your country and the fundamental challenges that need to be solved. Such messages should be supported where possible by the latest local data and examples and include your/EKHA’s positioning on kidney donation and transplantation. See here.
It is important to link the right message with the target audience to have the greatest chance of success.
Try to ensure that the messaging used in any correspondence links to current national political goals/concerns or on-going policy debates. Try to use similar “language” to that used by your targeted audience.