Report of Advocacy Forum Meeting by keralaguest

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									Micah Network Advocacy Forum
Summary of Malaysia discussion (4/10/07)
Purpose/Aim
Participants considered the seven aims of the Micah Network Advocacy Forum (the Forum)
developed and agreed at Chiang Mai and prioritised the following aims:

Chiang Mai Aims                                      Malaysia Priorities
   Develop specific Christian messages on           1) To develop joint actions/lobbying and/or to
    particular policy issues                            provide a platform for strategic support for
   Help analyse and provide opinion on                 members’ actions
    information/reports being used by forum          2) To develop specific Christian messages on
    members                                             particular policy issues
   Provide policy support for Micah Challenge       3) To provide discussion/learning – 3 or 4
                                                        facilitated discussions per year
   Respond to specific requests for information
                                                     4) To provide policy support to Micah
   Provide training – 3 or 4 facilitated training      Challenge campaigns
    discussions per year
   Develop joint actions, or provide a platform
    for strategic support for members’ actions
   Build relationships among advocacy
    practitioners

It was agreed that participation in all these activities would further the aim of building relationships
among advocacy practitioners.

The other aims (providing analysis/opinion and responding to specific requests for information)
were affirmed, but were not regarded as high priority aims for the Forum.


Going Further on Learning/Training
Advocacy Questions
Participants discussed generic advocacy questions that might be of relevance to many or all Forum
members, regardless of which particular issue an organisation might be lobbying on. The following
questions were identified (ranked from most support/interest expressed to least support/interest
expressed).

    1) How to build genuine coalitions
    2) What are the organisational implications of doing (more) advocacy?
    3) What is the role of the church in advocacy?
          a. How to involve the church in advocacy
    4) How to develop active citizenship
    5) How to build constituencies/legitimacy
    6) How to do advocacy in difficult/oppressive/undemocratic political circumstances
    7) How to influence national and international policy-making
    8) What are the respective roles of church and state in tackling poverty?
    9) How to build networks
          a. How to build bridges between faith-based and secular NGOs
    10) How to overcome apathy
          a. in the church
          b. in the public
           c. in politicians


Facilitated Discussions
It was agreed that the Forum would aim to hold a facilitated email discussion on the top four
questions during 2007-08. The discussion would be initiated by one person sending a discussion
paper (preferably 2 pages) to which others are invited to respond.

Discussion papers should include:
    Observations relevant to the question
    A story that raises issues relevant to the question
    Key questions to guide the discussion among Form members
The discussion would last roughly 6-8 weeks (or earlier, if the discussion has been exhausted). At
the end of the discussion the inititator/facilitator would write a concluding email that should
include:
     A summary of the key issues raised in the discussion
     A summary of key learning points from the discussion
     A summary of any action points identified in the discussion

Topic                                                        Date                Facilitator
How to develop active citizenship                            Nov-Dec 2007        Michael Smitheram
Organisational implications of doing advocacy                Feb-Mar 2008        Andy Atkins
How to do advocacy in difficult political circumstances      May-June 2008       Ben Thurley
What is the role of churches in advocacy?                    Aug-Sep 2008        Paul Cook
How to build genuine coalitions                              Nov-Dec 2008        Melba Maggay


Going Further on Joint Lobbying/Action
Participants identified that they were already involved in advocacy on the following issues:
     Transparency/Corruption/Governance
     HIV/AIDS
     Millennium Development Goals
     Human Rights
     Climate Change
     Livelihoods and Food Security/Food Sovereignty
     Child Rights
     Debt Service
     Trade
     Refugees/Internally Displaced People
     Conflict
     Disabilities
     Migrant Workers
     Violence Against Women
     Church Persecution
It was proposed that all participants in the Forum should indicate in their online profile which issues
they are doing advocacy work on. This could then form one way to make contact between advocacy
practitioners working on common issues and to facilitate joint action around key international
events or policy-change opportunities.
Next Steps
Action                                                                     Person Responsible
Register new Forum members                                                 Ben Thurley
Email discussion results to Forum                                          Ben Thurley
Invite Forum members to indicate advocacy issues in their online profile   Ben Thurley
Initiate first learning discussion (November)                              Michael Smitheram
Establish an “Introduction to Advocacy” thread in the email group          Ben Thurley/Paul Cook

								
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