Public Policy and Advocacy

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Advocacy can involve a number of activities such as awareness-raising, mobilisation of public opinion, providing expert advice, networking and lobbying. Generally, these are combined and are part of an overall strategy. The chosen strategy depends on three factors: the atmosphere and kind of dialogue which exists between the organisation and the authorities, analysis of the risks involved and the organisation's culture.

Traditionally, organizations were more likely to indulge in "external" advocacy, mobilising public opinion and taking part in protest movements. Nowadays, however, a large number of such organizations opt for "internal" advocacy and target political decision-makers. Research shows that collective external advocacy campaigns by NGOs had only had a relatively limited impact on the decisions and directives of the many influential public bodies. The study concluded that the strategies used to influence civil servants in such institutions, who are less receptive to public opinion campaigns, needed to be revised. We at IRPA believe that lobbying should be based on better analysis of the internal decision-making networks within these public bodies, that positions on different issues should be determined and that we should reach agreement about the messages we wanted to get across via "corridor advocacy" or classical lobbying activities.

IRPA attempts to influence public policy via active engagement in current debates. Recently, our directors have undoubtedly gained recognition from the institutions that influence Kenyans through their decisions. We strive to win two major battles: by taking part in national and local social and political debates, we strive to convince citizens to partake in political action by imposing themselves on the local scene to such an extent that they are now listened to by governments and the most powerful corporations.

The development of IRPA's networks which are capable of gathering and organising information, taking positions and monitoring the practical implementation of international decisions and commitments is a form of safeguard during the construction of national and county governance. At the same time, our ability to influence and modify the rules of public policy remains can prove to be influential for the betterment of Kenya's society at large.