Goals and objectives of WASH advocacy
The goals and objectives of WASH advocacy are to facilitate change and the development of policies to tackle unmet water supply, sanitation and hygiene needs or deal with emerging WASH service requirements in your community.
An advocacy goal is the desired result of any advocacy activity. It generally relates to a long-term result, which may take several years of advocacy work to achieve.
An advocacy goal:
- is a broad statement of what you are trying to do
- refers to the benefit that will be felt by those affected by an issue
- is long term and gives direction – it helps you know where you are going. It needs an accompanying route map or strategy to show you how to get there
- links to the mission and vision of your organisation or employer.
Without a goal, you may lose sight of what you are trying to do. Moreover it is vital to develop a goal that applies to the specific situation that needs to change.
Examples of urban WASH advocacy goals could include:
- significant improvement in coverage of clean water supply
- significant improvements in access to and use of household and community latrines
- reduction of child sickness in the community.
An advocacy objective is more specific than a goal. Objectives are the intended desired impacts of an advocacy activity such as the specific change that you want to see in improving urban WASH services. It often refers to the desired changes in policy and practice that will be necessary to help you and your community meet your goal.
When formulating a plan for an advocacy project, you should ensure your objectives meet the SMART criteria (Box 12.1). You also need to link these objectives to the resources available in order to be able to achieve them.
Box 12.1 SMART objectives
‘SMART’ is a way of reminding you that your objectives should be:
S: Specific – a specific objective that is clearly defined.
M: Measurable – your objective should be measurable.
A: Achievable – the objective should be attainable.
R: Realistic – which also means credible.
T: Time-bound – should be achieved within a certain time.
As a WASH practitioner you may need to influence community and political leaders in your locality. You may have multiple WASH issues in mind for improving the WASH situation, including policies, laws, regulations and programmes or funding from the public and private WASH sectors.
For example, despite their general understanding about their environmental and health impacts, some households still practise open defecation and irresponsible disposal of solid and liquid waste, which negatively influences their neighbourhoods. If the municipal and local governments are convinced of the negative influences, they may be prepared to introduce new bylaws, as well as implementing effective enforcement strategies that prohibit such practices. These could be your advocacy objectives. Such an advocacy initiative will contribute to the goal of improving environmental safety and health.
In order to develop an effective advocacy strategy that has a clear goal and objectives, you should understand the WASH situation and what needs to change. To prepare an advocacy strategy you will need knowledge of the local context because it is important to have and be able to provide evidence that supports your case. You will also need a good understanding of the key stakeholders and their roles, influence and importance (see Study Session 4).