Posts Tagged ‘advocacy’

How the SDGs and the Church can help the fight against human trafficking

November 9, 2016

Written by Dadirai Chikwengo, who is a CAFOD partner and an advocacy coordinator for Caritas Internationalis

The Catholic Church has recently been demonstrating the leading role it is playing in the fight against trafficking. In October, Pope Francis met participants at an international conference on combating human trafficking. Later in the same week, young people from around the world were invited to provide solutions to the scourge of human trafficking at a joint Holy See-UN initiative focused on how young people can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The event was also a nod to the role that the SDGs and faith groups such as the Catholic Church have in the fight against human trafficking.


How the SDGs aim to tackle trafficking

The SDGs provide a key tool to tackle trafficking. Five of the 17 goals refer to the issue: a recognition of poverty’s role in creating a supply chain of human beings. The framework’s focus on ending poverty provides an opportunity to stymie this chain.

Learn about CAFOD’s work on the Sustainable Development Goals


How can investors support the Sustainable Development Goals?

March 22, 2016


A guest blog by Jo Mountford, Responsible Investment Officer at ShareAction

The Sustainable Development Goals, ratified by 193 countries at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015, lay out an undeniably ambitious plan for human development to be achieved by 2030. Although it was governments who signed up to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN recognises that it will be impossible to achieve these Goals without action by many stakeholders, working in partnership with each other. Of these stakeholders, the role of the private sector is vital. Many corporates have already begun making plans to contribute to the achievement of the Goals; indeed, some of them will rely on the strategies of major corporations. The achievement of Goal 8, for example (‘Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all’) will require the private sector to create opportunities for employment, and making sure that their employees are well-treated and able to earn a decent living. (more…)

The Sustainable Development Goals and Laudato Si’

September 17, 2015

Next week, world leaders at the UN will formally adopt 17 new Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs build on the Millennium Development Goals with the aim of eradicating extreme poverty, tackling inequality and taking action on climate change as part of wide-ranging commitments to sustainable development.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis released Laudato Si’, an encyclical on integral human development which adds to the Catholic Church’s body of teaching. Laudato Si’ is unique in its intention to influence international politics and the multilateral agreements they produce. As a major UN outcome, how do the SDGs meet the challenge set by Laudato Si’?


A day in the life of an advocacy accompanier

April 29, 2013


As an Advocacy Accompanier, I probably have one of the strangest named, but most interesting jobs in CAFOD. I support CAFOD’s partners to do advocacy on issues like children’s rights, economic justice, land grabs, extra-judicial killings and climate change and in the last year I’ve worked in six different countries. But how can you be an expert on so many different places and issues, my friends often ask me? The short answer is that I’m not. And nor do I need to be. The local organisations on the ground have a wealth of knowledge gained from the work that they do every day that is different from mine. My role is to support them think through the how of advocacy and together we grapple with questions such as: How can you make sure that your land grabs report lands you in the Minister’s office and not in jail? How can make the public buzz about budgets? Why would a sceptical politician choose to attend Stakeholder Dialogue meeting at your community centre and not steak barbecue lunch at the 5* hotel corporate lobbying fest ? I ask these questions because effective advocacy always requires a strategy: it’s not enough to be passionate about a cause, to publish a lengthy report or spend your time convincing those who already agree with you.

The kind of support I give varies: workshop facilitator, mentor, critical friend, sounding board, or researcher – everyone has different needs so there is no one size fits all approach to this job! Perhaps it would be a lot less work and cheaper to run a generic advocacy course in order to disseminate a CAFOD approach to advocacy. However, I suspect that this would be ineffective, out of touch with local reality and risky in the long-run.

So, why this word accompaniment in my job title? (more…)

Are policy wonks in NGOs a good thing?

October 17, 2012

Definition: a person who takes an obsessive interest in the minor detail of policy

The etymology of the term wonk is a derogatory one used to refer to geeks, but it sometimes seems nowadays to be a badge of honour within development circles.  Undoubtedly we need wonks in the world, including development wonks, but are NGOs the right place for people to indulge any wonkish tendencies?

I’m not sure they are for three reasons:

1)      Most NGOs even sizeable ones like CAFOD have relatively few policy or research staff.  We can’t afford to have people who get too immersed in the detail even if those we are trying to influence have hoards of experts.  We are not an academic institution, we are an NGO – the two things should not be confused, although of course we work closely with academia, and I am not arguing that academia is full of wonks (oh dear have to be careful here)!

2)      The purpose of NGO policy and research is to make a difference to the lives of people living in poverty.  By working with our partners we have direct access to those people and our added value and indeed primary duty is to bring their experiences and voices into the policy debate and corridors of power – to show how policies and practices impact their lives and what change is needed as a result.

3)      People who are too immersed in the detail can fail to see the bigger picture.  At CAFOD we believe that it is not just policy that can be at fault but the values, the principles and the beliefs that inform that policy.  Our deep and living roots in the Catholic faith mean we take seriously Catholic Social Teaching and Gospel Values in informing our policy and advocacy work and we have an excellent Theology team who helps us to do this. And we believe there is a fundamental shift in worldview that is needed by those in power.  Most other NGOs I know have a strong sense of values and principles that inform their work whether that be a Rights Based Approach or an implicit belief system.

I hope I haven’t stirred up a hornet’s nest.  Views and comments as ever are welcome, particularly from self-confessed wonks.

The best job with the “worst” job title

August 22, 2011

Recording a discussion on advocacy

We are currently recruiting for a new Advocacy Accompanier. When one donor representative heard the job title her reaction was ‘Wow that is possibly the worst job title in the world’.

So when we came to put together the job description for this post we thought long and hard about it.

It goes without saying, we cannot compete with Peace Dividend Trust’s groundbreaking job descriptions (“Ability to quote entire episodes of Arrested Development from memory”).

We went through lots of possibilities – advisor, facilitator, capacity building officer – but as Rosalind Eyben argues, labels have power.

We eventually came back to “Accompanier” after reading a post by Paul Farmer in Foreign Affairs:

Reflect, for a minute, on the limits and the potential of the activity that used to be called “charity” or “foreign aid” but that I prefer to call “accompaniment.” (more…)