Long Read

Working on change through lobby and advocacy (L&A)

Lobby and advocacy are key strategies to achieve a healthy life for all. It is an integral part of our work. Without policies in place that respond to women’s and girls’ needs and priorities, on all levels of society, it is impossible for them to claim their rights to a healthy life.

And, to sustain our work it is important that women-friendly policies are in place and implemented at national and local levels. International instruments like, new resolutions, should also adequately articulate women’s needs as these present a strong basis for further translation into national policies.

What is policy influencing?

Simavi defines policy influencing as the deliberate and systematic process of influencing the policies, practices and behaviour of different targeted, and influential stakeholders in ensuring the human rights are respected, protected and fulfilled especially, the rights of women and girls. Within our L&A, voices of women and girls are at the centre of the key messages that we formulate.

Our focus in Lobby & Advocacy

Our overall objective is to ensure that the rights of women and girls are respected, protected and fulfilled. Our work on lobby and advocacy, focuses on two main objectives:

  1. There is strong political and sufficient financial support at Dutch and International level for women and girls to be socially and economically empowered and pursue their rights to live a healthy life free from discrimination and coercion and violence.
  2. Our local partners are technically assisted and supported to increase the effectiveness and impact of lobby and advocacy activities in advocating for strong political and sufficient financial support in their countries, regionally and internationally for women and girls to be socially and economically empowered.

The three pillared approach in-country L&A:

Our work on lobby and advocacy is centred around three pillars: International level, Dutch national level and national level of the countries that we work in. Our work on national level in The Netherlands, and the countries where we implement our programmes, feeds into our work on global level and vice versa.

1. International level:

We focus mainly on supporting partners in bringing country specific issues to international platforms. The outcomes of international mechanisms supports national advocacy strategies and programme implementation. On international level, we engage several policy spaces and mechanism, including:

2. Dutch national level:

Our focus in The Netherlands lies mainly on influencing policy making processes, by engaging with political parties and the Dutch parliament. In that, our focus lies on the formulation and implementation of the Dutch Development Aid Policy, by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We work closely with our partners, supportive members of parliaments, different policy networks and other actors. Together, we continue to advocate to keep the human rights of women and girls related to WASH & SRHR high on the Dutch Development Aid agenda.

3. National in-country level 

To influence policy and practise in the 10 countries that Simavi works in, we apply different strategies. Our in-country partners lead advocacy and we support them where needed. We do this by strengthening their capacity and enabling them to hold their national and local governments accountable. Amongst others, we provide specific support on social accountability strategies and how to apply a human rights-based approach. We also link in-country advocacy to international level advocacy and visa-versa.

How do we do this?

Our advocacy is informed by the work we do in the different countries and programmes. The voices of women and girls are at the centre of our efforts and define the key messages that we formulate. In our lobby and advocacy work, we apply the following approaches:

  • We inform women and girls about their rights and support them to claim their rights.
  • We strengthen the capacity of local CSOs and provide them with knowledge and tools to lobby government authorities to uphold their legal obligations.
  • We support duty bearers (governments, service providers, corporate sector) to fulfil their existing obligations.
  • We lobby with national and international stakeholders to ensure women’s and girls’ needs and priorities are represented in new legislation.

Advocacy messages per expertise area

Water and Sanitation

water and sanitation

  • Personal hygiene during menstruation is very important, but lacking in many countries due to lack of knowledge, lack to safe products (pads) and lack to safe water and sanitation. To prevent risks for infections, knowledge and access to safe products and clean water and sanitation is needed.
  • To reduce child mortality and reduce diarrhea and other diseases, knowledge has to be increased about the importance of washing hands with water and soap, and access to water and soap has to be increased. More than 5000 children now die every day as a result of lack of the above.

Maternal Health

  • Women centered laws, policies and practices from governments, private sector and social groups will ensure that every woman and girl is enabled to manage her menstruation hygienically, with confidence, with dignity and without stigma so that they are empowered to fully and equally participate in society and live a healthy and productive life.
  • Promote a cross-sectoral approach to MH, with linkages to all the SDG’s (3, 5 & 6) in order to address all of the ways that menstruation can impact women’s lives.
  • WASH infrastructure should be accessible and safe for women and girls, in particular during the menstruation periods.
  • A call gather disaggregated data that moves MH past pilot studies.
  • Activaties/ Interventions

Menstrual Health

  • Women centered laws, policies and practices from governments, private sector and social groups will ensure that every woman and girl is enabled to manage her menstruation hygienically, with confidence, with dignity and without stigma so that they are empowered to fully and equally participate in society and live a healthy and productive life.
  • Promote a cross-sectoral approach to MH, with linkages to all the SDG’s (3, 5 & 6) in order to address all of the ways that menstruation can impact women’s lives.
  • WASH infrastructure should be accessible and safe for women and girls, in particular during the menstruation periods.
  • A call gather disaggregated data that moves MH past pilot studies.

Hygienehygiene

  • WASH interventions need to include the needs and demands of women and girls, as they carry the largest burden on water and sanitation.
  • Women and other vulnarable groups are engaged in meaningful consultation and actively participate in decision making processes at all levels in the WASH value chain (planning, budgeting, policymaking, implementation, monitoring & evaluation at regional and national level).

Bodily Integrity

Simavi Bodily Integrity

  • Women centered laws, policies and practices from governments, private sector and social groups to ensure that all women and girls have the right to bodily autonomy, self determination and safety to be able to take informed decisions about their own bodies.
  • Remove barriers, laws, and practices that hinder women and girls to freely exercise the right to bodily autonomy, self determination and safety.

 

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