In the broadest sense, advocacy is the use of information, evidence and arguments to persuade a person or people to change their thinking, their behaviour, a policy, a system or way of doing things.
Advocacy is most often used to effect change in government and community policies, practices and systems, but in fact we all do it, all the time, from emails to our colleagues and boss to gather support for our work, or with others outside our organisation to effect change.
Change is a process
Advocacy takes a long-term view of an issue and of the time it can take to effect change.
The term ‘advocacy’ sometimes has negative connotations. You will need to be aware of how the term is perceived in your context, and to use it with the appropriate care.
Advocacy is all about change: changed attitudes, behaviour, policies, practices, for example. It involves bridging the gap from problem to solution, from what is to what should be. To be effective advocates for immunisation, then, we need to ask:
- What CHANGE is needed?
- Who can make the CHANGE happen?
- How do we persuade for CHANGE?
Communications + Advocacy CHANGE
Engaging all levels
Advocacy for immunisation and vaccines is critical at all levels: global, national, provincial and regional, district and community. You can find out more information about the different levels in the accordion menu below, by clicking on the tabs for the windows to open.
At the global level
- To keep immunisation high on the global health and development agendas
- To support continued funding to Gavi and to countries
- To ensure ongoing focus on equity and coverage: “reaching every child”
At the national level
- For introduction of new vaccines
- To continue strengthening the immunisation system throughout the country
- Guaranteeing adequate budget and financing for immunisation
- Putting policies and practices in place to ensure every child is immunised
At the provincial/regional level
- To make sure new and existing vaccines get to every community and child
- Oversee that global and national funding to strengthen immunisation systems is used well
At the district & community level
- To encourage and support strengthening of the local health system
- Work to gain access to and uptake of vaccines by all members of the community and every child