Advocacy, at its core, is an active engagement with individuals to instigate behavioral change. In the realm of policy advocacy, this engagement takes on two distinct forms. Firstly, it involves safeguarding a favorable situation that is perceived to be under threat from impending changes. For instance, if there is a risk of reducing resources for child health programs in a proposed budget, it becomes essential to advocate to policymakers, urging them to maintain the status quo. Secondly, policy advocacy entails pushing for a departure from the existing state, prompting policymakers to institute new policies. Both scenarios demand constant vigilance, necessitating ongoing monitoring of the policy landscape that directly impacts child health programming.

Conducting Effective Policy Advocacy: Key Steps and Relevant Details

The following are the key steps involved in conducting policy advocacy. The process is iterative as you will continue to add feedback and lessons learnt throughout the process.

Three people one in a magnifying glass

Stakeholders

Targeting & Engagement

Identifying Target Audience: Clearly define the target audience for your advocacy efforts. This could include policymakers, community leaders, or the public, depending on the nature of the advocacy issue. Specific who holds the power to enact the desired change.

Desired Action: Clearly articulate the desired action from the target audience. Whether it's policy changes, resource allocation, or behavioral shifts, define the specific outcomes expected from your advocacy efforts.

Megaphone

Messages

Crafting Impactful Communication

Key Messages: Identify clear and concise messages that resonate with the target audience. These messages should align with the needs, values, and priorities of the audience. For instance, if advocating for child health, messages may emphasize the long-term societal benefits and economic advantages of investing in children's well-being.

Audience Alignment: Understand the specific needs, values, and priorities of the target audience. Tailor your messages to address these factors, ensuring a more compelling and relatable advocacy narrative.

Person with a megaphone

Communication Channels

Strategic Approach

Effect Channels: Determine the most effective communication channels to reach the identified stakeholders. This could involve a combination of traditional media, social media platforms, community engagement events, or direct outreach to decision makers.

Tailored Messaging: Adapt your messaging for each communication channel to maximize resonance. Utilize visuals, storytelling, and data where appropriate to enhance the effectiveness of your communication strategy.

Video security camera icon

Monitoring & Evaluations

Assessing Impact & Iteration

Results and Impact: Establish clear metrics to measure the results and impact of your advocacy efforts. This could include policy changes, increased awareness, or shifts in public opinion. Regularly monitor progress against these metrics.

Continuous Improvement: Implement a robust monitoring and evaluation framework that allows for continuous improvement. Collect feedback, analyze the effectiveness of your advocacy strategies, and iterate based on the insights gained. This adaptive approach ensures ongoing refinement for greater impact over time.

Policy Windows

To effectively champion the call to action and elevate child survival initiatives, it is essential to pinpoint and leverage various policy windows. Policy windows denote opportune moments to influence policy, and these can manifest during:

  • Special Commemorations: Events dedicated to commemorating specific occasions present strategic opportunities to advocate for child survival action.
  • Budget Periods: Aligning advocacy efforts with budget periods allows for impactful engagement, especially in influencing resource allocation for child health programs.
  • Community Meetings: Local community gatherings provide a grassroots level for advocacy, fostering support and awareness among community members.
  • Elections: Leveraging election cycles can significantly amplify advocacy efforts, as policymakers are often receptive to public concerns during these times.
  • Regional Policy-Making Events: Participation in regional policy-making events enables engagement with a broader audience and the potential for regional policy changes.
  • Global Convenings: Taking advantage of international gatherings and conferences creates platforms to advocate for global attention and collaboration on child survival.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Actions by the Private Sector: Collaboration with the private sector's corporate social responsibility initiatives can yield resources and support for child survival programs.

Mapping out these policy windows is imperative for ensuring well-coordinated and prioritized advocacy efforts. This strategic planning enhances preparedness to capitalize on these opportunities, ultimately advancing the cause of child survival.

Resources

There are 12 Advocacy and Stakeholder Engagement resources below.

To query resources across all CSA toolkit elements, search from the toolkit homepage.

Year Published: 2023 | Resource Type: Action Plan | Languages: English, French
Each year, more than 700,000 children under the age of five - 90% of them in 40 low- and middle-income countries - die from pneumonia and other treatable respiratory infections. Also, nearly 7 million babies under two months experience possible serious bacterial infections. Virtually all of these children could be effectively treated with oral amoxicillin in pediatric formulations or with injectable gentamicin, two widely available, inexpensive medicines that can save children’s lives.  It has been more than ten years since the UN Commission for Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children galvanized global and country efforts to improve access to these and other priority medicines. But in many communities around the world, too many children and newborns continue to die because of inadequate access to quality-assured medicines.   The time to act is now.  Collaborating together, USAID, UNICEF, the Global Child Health Task Force, GHSC-PSM, MTaPS and PQM +, with input from other partners, have issued a Call to Action, which outlines four bottlenecks and lists clear action steps that countries can take now. The bottlenecks are: poor quantification of need insufficient financing lack of quality assurance inappropriate use The Call to Action describes the critical roles of country stakeholders, donors, implementing partners, and civil society organizations in driving immediate, concrete actions to improve access to and appropriate use of amoxicillin and gentamicin for childhood pneumonia and newborn infections.  Download the Call to Action for information on how to work with your country’s child health technical working group to address barriers inhibiting access and appropriate use of amoxicillin and gentamicin in your context, and move forward to save the lives of babies and children. Available in French, Spanish, and Portuguese (see above)
Year Published: 2022 | Resource Type: Action Plan | Languages: English
Document presenting the vision for the Child Survival Action (CSA) initiative, last updated February 2023. 
Year Published: 2024 | Resource Type: Report | Languages: English
Learn and share about the Child Survival Action (CSA) initiative with this two-page summary developed ahead of the 2nd Global Pneumonia Forum. More information on CSA here. Last updated July 2024.
Year Published: 2024 | Resource Type: Presentation | Languages: English
Slide deck presenting the vision for the Child Survival Action Initiative, last updated July 2024.
Year Published: 2023 | Resource Type: Action Plan | Languages: English
The Blueprint for Advocacy and Action on Child Survival complements the CSA vision document and sets out a coordinated approach to advocacy that sees CSA permeate the highest levels of influence, decision-making, and accountability- both at the national level and globally. It is intended to catalyze new momentum and a renewed movement, finishing the work that we started under the Millennium Development Goals to end preventable child deaths.
Year Published: 2024 | Resource Type: Guide | Languages: English
The Child Survival Wheel provides an integrated framework of key interventions and actions proven to effectively protect, prevent, diagnose, and treat the leading causes of child death.
Year Published: 2024 | Resource Type: Guide | Languages: English
This technical brief provides an assessment of progress on this indicator set and presents a way forward to improve child survival. It is organized into four sections: Section 1 reviews child mortality trends and causes of child deaths; Section 2 provides a snapshot of child nutritional status; Section 3 examines coverage of select child health and nutrition interventions, with a focus on countries that are of track for SDG 3.2.1; Section 4describes how accelerations in child survival can be achieved through a primary health care approach and renewed global and country commitment to children.
Year Published: 2024 | Resource Type: Guide | Languages: English
The country-specific Child Survival Wheels illustrate progress for selected tracer indicators across three pillars and shows where urgent action is needed to protect, prevent, diagnose, and treat the leading causes of child death in that country.
Year Published: 2024 | Resource Type: Tool | Languages: English
The purpose of this workbook is to assist ministries of health, health managers and practitioners in engaging with the private sector on delivery of quality maternal, newborn and child health services in lower- and middle-income countries. The workbook suggests for countries to take an iterative approach, and the steps are supported by various guiding tools for the process. 
Year Published: 2024 | Resource Type: Guide | Languages: English
This tool provides an overview of purpose, methodology, scope, and other considerations for MNCAH programme reviews.Accompanying resources:Facilitators’ guide for conducting national and subnational programme reviews for maternal, newborn, child and adolescent healthMaternal, newborn, child and adolescent health programme review data tool
Year Published: 2020 | Resource Type: Guide | Languages: English
This resource provides operational guidance for policy makers and program implementers on how stakeholder and community engagement can be incorporated into quality improvement initiatives for maternal, newborn, and child health, including conducting stakeholder and community mapping and analysis, establishing governance structure, and developing communication and advocacy strategies.
Year Published: 2024 | Resource Type: Tool | Languages: English
WHA Agenda Item 11.7 calls for Acceleration towards the Sustainable Development Goals Target for maternal newborn and childmortality (MNCH) by accelerated action and investment in equitable coverage of effective interventions, and quality of care inorder to meet our collective commitment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Global Strategy for Women’s,Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016-2030) targets (see Figure 2). Unfortunately, women, stillborns, newborns and childrenunder-5 had larger survival gains from 2000 to 2015 compared to 2016-2022 (1,2,3). Globally, actions are needed to accelerate progress nine-fold to reduce maternal mortality, three-fold for stillbirths, four-fold for newborn mortality and four-fold for children aged 1-59 months (see Figure 1). The quality of health leadership can be defined by having the courage and vision to transform health systems to deliver quality MNCH care and improve access to health care for all women, including adolescent girls, newborns and children. This 2-page document outlines six actions to accelerate progress for MNCH care. This brief is written by and has images developed by ENAP EPMM and CSA. Design and layout was supported by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH).