The formation of community advocacy groups as critical spaces for enabling women to participate in discussions concerning community issues, find solidarity with other women, and practice leadership roles and engage in collective action. Community advocacy group (CAG) members were trained in advocacy and community engagement and undertook most village-level local advocacy. The groups highlighted family/ village issues at the sub-national government level, enhancing dialogues among different actors that are influential in these governance levels. Community advocacy groups helped to increase the legitimacy and influence of (formal) CSOs.
The programme strengthened capacities of CSOs and CAG members to influence public authorities. The capacity of CSOs increased predominantly through trainings, awareness raising, exchange visits, peer learning and coaching and networking/coalition building. The capacity strengthening was focused on both the process of lobby and advocacy, as well as the content of the lobby and advocacy agendas.
CSO advocacy effectiveness requires not only skills but also coordinated effort among CSO actors when influencing government authorities and power holders. EVC facilitated alliance-building and joint advocacy among networks to increase their influence. These alliances then became instrumental in achieving several national level policy changes.
In EVC, campaigning was used as a tool to promote inclusive governance and multiply lobby and advocacy efforts. Campaigns occurred in all EVC countries. They targeted women and youth, but also directly engaged power holders such as public/government…