Advocacy means making a case in support of a particular cause or activity and trying to convince other people that it is a good idea. It is a process of gathering and organising information to be communicated to decision makers in an attempt to influence decisions.
Advocacy aims to influence decision makers at various levels – at national, regional and local levels. Advocacy for WASH may, for example, try to raise funds and other resources or get support for a particular project from political and social leaders.
You will learn more about advocacy for urban WASH in Study Session 12.
Consider the following approaches that a WASH worker might use to promote improved hygiene and sanitation in their communities. Which of the four communication approaches explained in Sections 9.2 to 9.5 is involved in each case?
- Moving from house to house and counselling household members to give advice on hygiene and sanitation issues.
- Discussing the importance of hygiene and sanitation with community and religious leaders and encouraging them to provide support in helping communities to improve their practice.
- Facilitating dialogue by setting up community discussion groups to talk about sanitation issues.
- Coordinating support from local groups such as women’s groups or youth associations, to encourage improvements to hygiene and sanitation practises.
The answers are as follows:
- This is an example of behaviour change communication, because it is an attempt to help individual people change their behaviour so that they develop more healthy practices.
- This is an example of conducting advocacy, because it is done in an attempt to influence the views and decisions of decision makers themselves.
- This is an example of social change communication, because it focuses on community dialogue and action.
- This is an example of social mobilisation because it brings together community members to strengthen wider participation and a feeling of ownership of the initiatives to improve hygiene and sanitation.