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From inspiration to action

Advocacy is critical at all stages of the change process - from rallying people behind an initial vision, to inspiring people to think about and test solutions, to supporting the scale up of successes. Part of the work of a hub or backbone organisation is to lead and encourage advocacy efforts.

Advocacy is most effective when it:

  • is supported by sound evidence;
  • addresses the needs and concerns of actors within the system;
  • is an on-going activity aimed at spurring collective action rather than general awareness raising.

Most of IRC's advocacy tools are around using communication to support the change process: including identifying audiences, crafting effective messages, and determining the best channels to use. The IRC approach contains a mix of more traditional advocacy-type activities as well what we call "invocacy": identifying and supporting individuals who can leverage change within their own organisations and the larger system.

Tools & guidance

To help identify the individuals who can leverage change within their own organisations and the larger system, IRC has developed the target audience analysis tool. This tool provides a framework for thinking through the actors involved in creating change and in identifying connections, messages and leverage points. It is available as an Excel spreadsheet.

The communications strategy slide deck provides a detailed participatory process for identifying target audiences based on change objectives and determining effective messages and channels. Includes worksheets, prompting questions and tips.

IRC is in the process of developing a number of advocacy tools with the Watershed strategic partnership. The objective is to build the capacity of civil society organisations in six countries (Kenya, Uganda, Mali, Ghana, Bangladesh, India) and also at international level, for evidence-based lobbying and advocacy on WASH and Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) issues.


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