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Campaigning for the MDGs: Making Votes and Voices Count in Elections
 

Campaigning for the MDGs: Making Votes and Voices Count in Elections

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National and sub-national elections provide important opportunities to establish, reaffirm or redirect development priorities. This short guidebook describes how and why the Millennium Development ...

National and sub-national elections provide important opportunities to establish, reaffirm or redirect development priorities. This short guidebook describes how and why the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) can be important to this process—towards the larger end of achieving human development and a better, more equitable world.

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    Campaigning for the MDGs: Making Votes and Voices Count in Elections Campaigning for the MDGs: Making Votes and Voices Count in Elections Document Transcript

    • Campaigning for the MDGs: Making Votes and Voices Count in Elections A Toolkit for Activists, Political Parties and Candidates
    • Preface In the year 2000, heads of 189 national governments agreed to meet eight goals that will halve extreme poverty by 2015 – the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs are a unique, international agreement that are time-bound, measurable and have the public commitment of virtually every Head of State. All eight MDGs are achievable by 2015, but only if governments live up to their promises. The UN Millennium Campaign is an inter-agency initiative of the UN formed to mobilise citizens around the world to hold their governments to account for reaching the MDGs. Working in more than 30 poor and rich countries, the Campaign partners with a range of stakeholders from the international to the local level to inspire citizens’ movements for the achievement of the MDGs. The last decade has seen many countries opting to follow a democratic system of government. This would imply that the will of the people will now prevail in all these countries. In reality, however, a majority of poor countries continue to be ruled by a narrow elite, and very limited socio-economic benefits trickle down to a significant proportion of the population who continue to be poor and excluded. But despite the power of money, muscle and misinformation, elections remain one of the most important opportunities when the poor can exercise the power of their large numbers as voters and extract some commitments from the political class. Many of the UN Millennium Campaign’s partners, who are citizens’ groups from Bangladesh and India to Australia and the United States, have successfully used elections to get political parties, presidential candidates and members of parliament to make commitments toward achieving the MDGs. Once in office, citizens’ groups have used these electoral pledges to hold their leaders accountable. Over the last few years, we have seen that elections at the national and sub-national levels present a unique opportunity to enhance accountability of elected leaders to their constituents as well as for leaders to define and promote their platform, while drawing extensive media attention to the MDGs. This guidebook has distilled this important experience in order to provide others who want to use this strategy with some helpful guidance. It outlines various MDG campaign initiatives related to elections and draws concrete lessons for MDG campaigning in the electoral process. This guidebook was developed under the overall guidance of Mr. Minar Pimple, the Deputy Director, Asia Pacific, UN Millennium Campaign. Ms. Gretchen Luchsinger was the principal author. Ms. Ryce Chanchai oversaw the structure and content development and facilitated the review process. Substantive contributions were received from Ms. Pauline Tamesis, Regional Governance Programme Coordinator of UNDP Regional Centre in Bangkok. I hope this modest document can support those who want to help realise the fundamental human rights of a large majority of the world’s poorest and socially and politically excluded people, using the MDGs as the point of departure. Salil Shetty Director United Nations Millennium Campaign
    • Contents Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iii Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 What are the MDGs? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Why do the goals matter during elections? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 On the following pages you’ll find… . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Chapter I: Before the Election, Part 1: Considering Your Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 First, deciding to take the plunge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Overcoming scepticism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 It’s politics… . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Political and electoral systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Assessing the political environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Taking the Pulse of Voters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Weighing election risks and opportunities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Working alone or together? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Types of coalitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Know the law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Chapter II: Before the Election, Part 2: Formulating a Plan for Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 What’s in a successful campaign strategy? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Define what you want to achieve. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Define your target audience(s). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Identify who might work on the campaign. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Determine your message(s). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Figure out where you will reach your target audience(s). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Match people to convey your message(s) with your target audiences. . . . . . . . . . . 25 Pay attention to timing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Develop a plan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Chapter III: During the Election, Part 1: The Art of Campaign Advocacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Educate—and advocate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Ask for more . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Be prepared for trade-offs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Start with what’s already acceptable. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
    • Go for the bold and unexpected—in a calculated way. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Think creatively . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Balance realism and optimism, like the MDGs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Appeal to the head and heart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Have evidence in hand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Weigh the front page vs. the back door. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Think in terms of partners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Banning landmines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Chapter IV: During the Election, Part 2: Outreach to Major Players. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Engaging with politicians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Preparing for advocacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Striking a balance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Going directly to voters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Voter types and tactics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Points in the electoral cycle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Extra considerations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Working through the media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Being strategic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Managing media relationships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Remembering other political actors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Chapter V: After the Election: Maintaining Momentum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Onward and forward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Taking time for evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 The true measure of election promises . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Chapter VI: Political Campaigns: Bringing the MDGs on Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 Will your constituents care about the MDGs? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 Potential benefits: legitimacy and outreach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 What is your track record? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 How you can use the MDGs in your campaign. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 How you can use the MDGs once in office . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
    • A Toolkit for Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 Tool 1: Tracking Patterns in Political Decision-Making . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 Tool 2: Selecting Issues with Political Momentum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 Tool 3: Working Together: Making Participation Meaningful . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Tool 4: Stakeholder Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 Tool 5: More on Messages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 Tool 6: Options for Campaign Actions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 Tool 7: Through a Gender Lens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 Tool 8: Making Your Case: Quantitative and Qualitative Evidence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 Tool 9: Tips for Meeting with Candidates. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 Tool 10: A Checklist for Media Interviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 Tool 11: The Basics of Press Releases, Kits and Conferences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 Tool 12: Decoding Public Policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Tool 13: Briefly, On the Budget . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
    • Campaign Tales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Box 1.1 The MDGs on the Campaign Trail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Box 2.1 The MDGs in Europe: Goal 8 Achievements and Lessons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Box 2.2 Rewording the MDGs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Box 3.1 Two Global Success Stories: Mines and Debt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Box 3.2 Creative Campaigning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Box 3.3 Nepal: The Power of the Personal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Box 3.4 Africa: Making a Point with Numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Box 3.5 Partnerships in Standing Up Against Poverty. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Box 4.1 Recommendations—From Politicians to Advocates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Box 4.2 South Africa: A Challenge to Deliver on HIV Treatment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Box 4.3 Timor L’este: “I Can” Increase Women’s Political Participation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Box 4.4 An EU Campaign Argues for Parity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Box 4.5 Collecting Voter Input: The All India People’s Manifesto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Box 4.6 Moving Past Political Clientelism to a (Genuinely) Pro-Poor Agenda . . . . . . . . 57 Box 4.7 The United States: Setting New Directions on Climate Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Box 4.8 Nepal: Outreach Through Inspirational Street Performances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Box 5.1 Five Million People Say NO to Violence against Women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Box 5.2 Mexico: Transforming the “Language of Power” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Box 5.3 The Philippines: Improving Accountability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Box 6.1 The Changing Nature of Election Campaign Communication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 Box 6.2 Mongolia: A Governance MDG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
    • © Carlo Marco M. Simpao © Teresa Encarnação
    • Introduction N ational and sub-national elections provide important opportunities to establish, reaffirm or redirect development priorities. This short guidebook describes how and why the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) can be important to this process—towards the larger end of achieving human development and a better, more equitable world. The book is primary intended for civil society representatives interested in MDG advocacy during elections, although it has also been designed as a resource for political parties and candidates. It walks readers through basic strategies and tools to campaign for the goals, and lay the groundwork for political commitments to specific development achievements. But first, two basic questions must be answered: What are the MDGs? And why exactly do they matter during elections? What are the MDGs?
    • In short, the MDGs offer eight ways to change the world. Most national governments and the international community have adopted the goals as commitments to: • Ending extreme poverty and hunger • Achieving universal primary education • Promoting gender equality and empowering women • Reducing child mortality • Improving maternal health • Combating HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases • Ensuring environmental sustainability • Developing a global partnership for development The MDGs are linked to a high-level international political agreement—the Millennium Declaration, signed by leaders from 189 countries in 2000. The declaration endorses important framework principles such as freedom, equality, shared responsibility and human rights. Both national government signatories and the international community have obligations to strive to reach the goals, including by providing sufficient resources. Each goal has specific targets and indicators to guide progress under a 2015 timeframe for achievement. This makes them highly practical tools for both advocates and policy makers in articulating a vision for development and planning the steps to achieve it. The goals encapsulate several decades of national and international debate on what the most important, basic entry points for development need to be. They are both universal—we 2 all need health care and education, for example—and adaptable to different environments. They specify broad objectives, meaning that each country and even locality can decide the specifics of how to get there, across diverse political and economic systems. Progress in achieving the MDGs involves everyone. Politicians, civil society representatives of all stripes, private sector concerns, members of households—all have something to offer. Everyone also benefits from accomplishing the MDGs, because they are about creating societies that are more stable, equitable and well off. For more details on both the goals and the Millennium Declaration, see the Resources section at the end of this book.
    • Why do the goals matter during elections? When the MDGs enjoy high visibility in an election, through civil society advocacy or under the umbrellas of political campaigns, they connect politics to the real issues in people’s lives. Voters can chose the people they want in office on the basis of support for development objectives that matter to them. In casting a ballot, they weigh in on public policy directions, the adequacy of public service delivery and the allocation of resources. Campaigning for the goals also provides opportunities to raise public awareness about the MDGs, and discuss specific local and national actions to attain them. Political commitment to new policies or resources can form and grow, paving the way for follow up once the polls close and newly elected politicians take office. All of these possibilities help solidify the foundations of democratic governance, such as political responsiveness and transparency. When interest and participation in an election grows—because people can see the outcome relates to them—political legitimacy is bolstered as well. The widespread appeal of the MDGs makes them a natural fit for election campaigns. While they encapsulate complex development processes, they are framed in a straightforward manner that can easily be translated into communications tools and strategies tailored to a variety of audiences. Civil society groups may campaign for the goals through media outreach, rallies, voter education and/or face-to-face meetings with candidates, among other options. Politicians can turn to them to make new connections with constituencies, 3 including through MDG commitments in political platforms. For both civil society groups and politicians, the MDGs are a unifying theme that can draw people together around common purposes—even in relatively divisive political climates. Candidates may not agree on the same approaches to achieving the goals, but they can endorse them as overarching human development objectives important to most constituents. Civil society groups might not normally work on the same issues, but they can come together to make a concerted joint push for a broad framework that will accommodate and strengthen them all. On the following pages you’ll find… The book has been formulated by the UN Millennium Campaign, which supports and inspires people from around the world to take action in support of the MDGs. In this process, it helps citizens hold national and sub-national governments accountable for delivering development progress.
    • The following pages draw on the experiences of the campaign, as well as other national and international advocacy efforts, and the expertise of people in politics, media and public policy. An overarching theme is that advocacy campaigns take many forms, but they all involve people working together on different activities orchestrated to achieve a common outcome. They are most successful when they convince people outside the campaign to take action—to vote, for example, or to support the passage of new legislation. Many issues are covered here; none comprehensively. The book is mainly intended, for what may be the first time, to draw together the different elements required to plan and carry out an MDG campaign during an election. More resources are available and should be consulted on subjects such as political analysis and media outreach. Some options appear here in the References section. The book’s chapters are organized, approximately, around the before, during and after phases of a typical election. Parts of the content may be more appropriate to audiences in developing countries. This was a deliberate choice. Seven of the eight MDGs must be implemented there—and resources like this book are less accessible in some places. That said, Goal 8, which requires action by developed countries, is critical to achieving all the others, so readers in those countries may want to take note of relevant sections of this publication and adapt them accordingly. The first five chapters are mainly geared towards civil society advocates, and the sixth towards political candidates and parties. All chapters, however, contain information that can 4 be valuable to both audiences. To cultivate potential relationships and partnerships, each group may also benefit from learning about the considerations of the other. Chapters I and II highlight pre-election advocacy planning and strategizing. The first chapter explores some basic assessments that should be done before an MDG campaign kicks off, including of political trends and voting patterns. It looks at making the choice to embark on a campaign, and the decision to form a coalition, or not. The second chapter presents the outline of a basic campaign strategy, from defining objectives, target audiences and key messages, to drafting a plan for action. The next two chapters move deeper into campaigning during the election itself, beginning with an elaboration of advocacy techniques in Chapter III. Chapter IV delves into outreach to three major election players: political candidates and parties, voters and members of the media. It highlights possible campaign objectives, messages and actions related to each. Chapter V sketches ways to maintain advocacy momentum after the election is over. Chapter VI, primarily for political candidates and parties, discusses some of the benefits of including the MDGs in election campaigns. It features details on how to use the goals during the campaign and once in office, including to engage voters.
    • Rounding out this guidebook is a set of tools linked to each chapter. You can consult them as you read through the main text, or together after you finish. Each chapter also contains “Campaign Tales”—boxes illustrating different campaigns or advocacy techniques. Not all of these are strictly tied to elections, but they may spark ideas or provide inspiration as you develop your own campaign strategies. Many demonstrate how much is possible, in all regions of the world, when people come together to hope, plan, act and usher in progressive change. A final note on neutrality: In producing this publication, the UN Millennium Campaign aims to support general democratic political processes, as interpreted within individual countries, and uphold the principles of the Millennium Declaration and the MDGs. The book should in no way be read as an endorsement of particular political parties, candidates or platforms. 5
    • © UNFPA / Robel Mockonen © Pouya Razavi
    • Chapter I Before the Election, Part 1: Considering Your Options A n election has been called. Candidates will present their case. Voters will make choices. This first chapter helps civil society advocates explore some basic information and options to consider in launching an MDG advocacy campaign oriented around the electoral process. Since elections are political events from start to finish, many decisions should be linked to a careful initial assessment of prevailing political systems and trends in your country or locality. The MDGs are compatible with a huge variety of these, but you’ll need to know national or local particulars to pursue advocacy that makes a difference. You should also think about the risks and opportunities you may find along the way, and whether you want to work with partners or alone. Useful additional tools at the end of this guide: Tool 1, Tracking Patterns in Political Decision-Making; Tool 2, Selecting Issues with Political Momentum; Tool 3, Working Together: Making Participation Meaningful.
    • First, deciding to take the plunge The MDGs originated at the United Nations General Assembly. But they will be achieved in countries and localities only if people know about and act on them. Civil society mobilization is key. So is political support. Ask yourself: What difference would it make to my country if the MDGs were achieved? How could that change people’s lives? Is accomplishing the MDGs consistent with the issues my organization is already working on? Is it in line with my own values and beliefs, and those of my organization? If the answers to those questions inspire your interest, then the next question is: What can I hope to achieve by campaigning for the MDGs during an election? The MDGs are a set of basic social and economic goals. From a technocratic standpoint, with their numerical targets and indicators, they are useful tools for development plans and programmes. They are also international and national political commitments. Reaching them is very much about the less technocratic world of politics, where significant choices are made about development priorities and resources. Elections provide an opportunity to champion the goals among politicians and the voting public, and press for political accountability to international, national and/or local development. That means politicians deliver on MDG commitments in concrete ways that 8 help people improve their well-being. This may or may not imply changes in the people and parties in office. People from many different political perspectives already wholeheartedly support the MDGs. But whatever they think or say about the goals, they also need to act to implement them. Some of the ways they can do this include: adopting appropriate public policies, changing laws, aligning national and local development planning, creating necessary institutions and assigning sufficient resources to development programmes. Recommending any of these steps—or others—can become part of an MDG advocacy campaign during an election. Overcoming scepticism Let’s be frank: At the outset, you may face opposition to or scepticism about campaigning for the MDGs—even in your own mind. The goals might seem like some far-off international idea. What real impacts can they have on development in your country? In developed nations, they might be viewed as a relatively minor issue compared to domestic problems. The spreading global economic crisis will likely lead many countries, developed and developing, to shift into short-term economic survival mode, with less immediate thought given to mid- or longer term development investments.
    • The MDGs, however, are about addressing all of these concerns. The current crisis has underscored just how connected different countries are, for one thing. Market failures in one part of the world now lead quickly to job losses and food insecurity and general instability in other parts. Surviving the damage and thriving once the global downturn begins to reverse requires a steady development foundation like the one encapsulated in the MDGs—both for individual nations and the world at large. Furthermore, the goals come out of a tradition of setting development goals that has a proven track record, both internationally and within individual countries. And they are not set in stone. Countries have the latitude to translate their spirit into more specific, feasible or useful national and/or local goals. The point is to have basic development objectives so you can then get started on achieving them. Another objection you might face may stem from the quality of governance in your country. Most countries suffer from some shortfalls in democracy, such as corruption, personality politics, dominant political elites and/or overly powerful special interests. When obvious failures result—especially in the delivery of peace and security, and the public services that matter most to people’s everyday lives—common fallout can be a pervasive sense of disempowerment among voters and cynicism about how much impact politics can have on development. These are serious obstacles to consider in designing an MDG campaign for an election— while remembering they can be overcome. Raising awareness about the goals during an election alone will not fix deep-rooted problems in political systems. But the process of 9 advocacy may empower voters to begin considering candidates in new ways, and perhaps also to make different choices. It might foster new coalitions or forms of social and political consensus, and strengthen existing political movements that could or already do support the MDGs. One really important point to emphasize: The MDGs are achievable. That’s why countries around the world, with diverse political perspectives and at all stages of development, are taking different steps to reach the goals. These are based on their own priorities, but the overall movement is forward, towards 2015. As a reference point, see Box 1.1 for some examples of MDG campaigns during recent elections. It’s politics… You will need to understand, at least in a basic way, two aspects of politics to begin planning for an advocacy campaign during an election. First, formalized political and electoral systems comprise laws and institutions that guide how parties and candidates campaign, form alliances and resolve conflicts, and enact laws and policy decisions. They are the hardware
    • of politics, so to speak. Second, within these systems (and sometimes outside of them), less formal influences determine the ebb and flow of power and political discourse. These make up the software. They can be less tangible or obvious, but equally powerful, if not more so. Political and electoral systems Starting with the hardware: Most representative democracies now have one of three types of political systems: presidential, parliamentary or a hybrid. In presidential systems, different parties may control the legislature and executive branches. Parliamentary systems allow the dominant party to select the prime minister. Hybrid systems may have both a president and prime minister. Electoral systems are generally majoritarian, proportional or mixed. In majoritarian systems, candidates with the most votes win. In proportional systems, parties assign candidates to seats based on their percentage of the vote. Mixed systems combine the two approaches. Majoritarian systems put more emphasis on individual candidates, who may have to cultivate strong ties with their constituencies in specific electoral districts to earn enough votes. Dominant parties often emerge, with a tendency towards having a fewer number of parties. This political consolidation can exclude people who do not already have a strong voice in the system, such as women and minorities. Voter turnout in general is less than in proportional systems. 10 Proportional systems rely more on stronger party apparatuses and less on geographically defined electoral districts. They can be more inclusive, allowing women and minorities easier access as candidates; since parties draw from a larger, often national field of voters, they are willing to take the chance that new faces will attract some votes. They often rely on coalitions to govern, however, and these can be unstable. When parties are nationally elected, they may have less sensitivity to the needs of particular communities or geographical areas. What does all this mean in planning for an advocacy campaign? It comes down to choosing the most effective tactics and entry points for the system in which you are operating. In a majoritarian system, you may need to focus more on advocacy with individual candidates, compared to parties in a proportional system. If candidates have strong ties to electoral districts, you might want to target voters in those that are potentially most influential. For a national election in more centralized systems, you may need to emphasize media events in the capital. In more decentralized states or for local elections, galvanizing grass- roots voters might be key. If there is only one party in power, different political factions may still be operating within it; try to look for those whose support may be persuasive across the party as a whole.
    • Assessing the political environment Now for the software, and the myriad other elements in the world of politics. These can be obvious, hidden, benign or threatening. Different tendencies come from the personalities involved, cultural and historical patterns, and national or local experiences and expectations. They can be deeply psychological and irrational—as much about what people think and fear and hope for as the reality of their lives. They are often interrelated, so a political action at one point may inspire a reaction at another. A starting point for MDG advocacy is to recognize that political actors vary in their interest in the goals, even over time within the same country. In developing countries, the MDGs can be viewed as fundamental to the future welfare of the country and its people. Or as a foreign imposition or threat to a status quo that awards extra privileges to political elites. In developed countries, they may come across as a political priority justified in the name of morality and sound international relations. Or as an expensive burden on tax-payers. In elections, an obvious calculation will be: How will supporting the MDGs help me and/or my party get elected? Different countries have already demonstrated that it is possible to carry out MDG advocacy campaigns across diverse political environments. On paper, almost all countries have endorsed the goals, which are universally relevant and nationally/locally adaptable. And countries that hold elections, even if they are very limited, are acknowledging that voters have a say in public affairs. 11 Knowing these facts may not be enough for a campaign to gain traction in an election, however. You should also take a close look at what politicians are actually doing, and the incentives behind their behaviour. Party configurations, recent public statements about MDG-related issues, electoral platforms and stories that dominate in the media are among the sources of information about prevailing political trends. Some questions to ask might include: • What is the current political climate? Tense, polarized, energized, optimistic, etc.? • How long is the history of representative democracy? Generally, what have been experiences with past elections? • What are the stakes in the election? Who are the potential winners and losers? • Is anything new (a revised constitution, emergent political blocs, etc.) or particularly prominent (the government struggling to manage economic crisis, external threats, etc.)? Is it connected to achieving the MDGs? • Have specific past commitments been made to the MDGs? What has the record been on implementation? • What is the current configuration of political interests? Is representation diverse or limited to only one or a couple of groups?
    • • Who are the candidates? What do they stand for? In party systems, are they strongly or loosely obligated to uphold party mandates and positions? • Do local politicians have autonomy—or are they tied to the centre? • Do candidates and/or parties abide by transparent rules? Or are political power and decision-making based on different personalities or affiliations (ethnic, regional, caste, religion, etc.)? • What is the relationship between the legislature and executive branches? Does it generally favour or obstruct development priorities? • What is the status of women’s political participation? Are gender issues part of national political and development debates? Have women politicians been influential in establishing any new political agendas? • What are the roles of the media and civil society? Are they considered integral to the political process, with a legitimate function in ensuring accountability? Do they actually perform this function? Or are they discouraged from having an active voice by being heavily regulated or relegated to politically non-controversial issues? • If conflict results from the election, how easily will it be resolved? • Where are political commitments made (platforms, speeches, meetings with constituents, etc.)? How seriously do candidates take these? Can they be monitored? • Where does campaign financing come from? How extensively does this influence the 12 behaviour of candidates and the outcome of the election? • Over the longer term, what would make the political environment more favorable to the MDGs? How can work on the MDGs help improve governance? • Who within the political system could help make this happen? The incentives and perceptions of political parties and candidates may be true or not. They may be well defined or not. They may be rooted in formal political practices or not. Whatever the case, they have to be managed—otherwise, your campaign will fall short of what it could be. MDG campaign strategies, messages and activities, which are explored in more detail in the next chapter, should be closely tailored accordingly. As a general principle, if political support for the goals already exists, your campaign goals may revolve around broadening it or extending it on specific fronts. If openings for support do not already exist, then you may need to begin by fostering them. Maneuvering in highly polarized, fragmented political systems, particularly those with a recent history of conflict, can require great care and skill, particularly in managing potential risks from being seen as confrontational or taking sides. As you conduct your assessment, be alert for possibly wide local, regional and national variations. Another consideration: political systems usually “behave” differently during
    • elections. The stakes are higher as parties and candidates jockey for power. On one hand, it may be harder to get their attention. On the other, an election can stir public and political debate. People will be thinking about the direction of their country or locality, and which candidates and parties they want to steer them into the future. Tools to use: Tool 1, Tracking Patterns in Political Decision-Making; Tool 2, Selecting Issues with Political Momentum. Taking the Pulse of Voters If politicians and parties are one half of the election equation, voters are the other half. Determining what will bring voters to the polls is a basic pre-election task for political candidates, but it is also relevant for MDG advocacy campaigns. Knowing what voters think and want can help you define which of the goals are most relevant. Campaigning for these then becomes a leverage point with candidates who must appeal to voters. After the election, strong voter interest can help push candidates to implement the MDG commitments they have made. Understanding people’s perceptions about politics is also important. Voter participation rates vary widely around the world, and even within countries themselves. They often depend on feelings about the legitimacy and impact of elections on people’s everyday lives. 13 In preparing for a campaign, conducting some basic research will give you an approximate idea of past voting patterns and the people who live in the areas where you may carry out campaign activities. Are there regions, for example, where people tend not to vote? Or do they always vote for the same parties regardless of political platforms? If so, why? What issues are missing for them in the electoral agenda? What in the MDGs would appeal to them? You should also learn about issues such as high rates of illiteracy, since that will be a major factor in determining how you communicate with people. Data on voters can be difficult (but not impossible) to find. Try official data from sources such as the census, electoral bodies and the civil registrar. Other possible sources include independent surveys, research groups, local officials, community organizations and media reports. Useful information might include knowing: • How many people live in an area? • How many are registered to vote? • How many voted in the last election? • How many votes did each party/candidate receive? • How old is the average voter? • What is the ratio between men and women?
    • • What are common family types? • How much education do people have? • What are the rates of poverty and unemployment? • What are the rates of property ownership? • How good or poor is access to basic services, such as health, education, transportation, and water and sanitation? • Do people feel physically secure? • What are common perceptions about current leaders? • What do people think about the effectiveness and legitimacy of the current government/ political system? • How do they compare modern political mechanisms (such as elections) to traditional ones (such as customary community leaders)? Which do they turn to for solving problems? • Are particular voters considered part of a traditional voting bloc around regional/ethnic/ religious or other lines? Is this accurate? • Do they plan to vote in the upcoming election? If not, what would convince them to do so? • Have they heard of the MDGs? 14 • Which goals are most important to them? • What do they think needs to be done to achieve them? Weighing election risks and opportunities Another useful preliminary exercise is to survey potential risks and opportunities during the election and for your particular campaign. Ask if the risks need to be managed as part of the campaign strategy. The opportunities are potential entry points for campaign activities. Some common examples of election risks might be: • Greater sensitivity to political or other forms of conflict, and fewer options to resolve it • A slowdown in the implementation of existing MDG actions as the government awaits the election outcome • Distraction due to dominant election issues with little connection to the MDGs • Dismissal of the MDGs as an international issue less important than domestic concerns • Public alienation after the election if campaign commitments are not met
    • The opportunities could include: • The willingness of candidates to make political commitments to the MDGs • New candidates running for office who may be more open to new ideas • Greater engagement between MDG advocates and the political system • A rationale for MDG coalitions to form • Greater public awareness of the goals • The chance to persuade voters to make choices based on the MDG records and commitments of candidates As a general reflection, if you know the strengths of your own organization and the opportunities provided by the election, you can pinpoint strategies that use the strengths to capitalize on the opportunities. Working alone or together? As you think about embarking on your campaign, one basic decision involves moving forward alone or through partnerships with other people and organizations. The MDGs are premised on the notion of people working together. Achieving them will require inputs from politicians, civil society advocates, civil servants, religious organizations, 15 the private sector, journalists, labour unions, youth groups, community organizations, and so on. Explicitly embodied in the goals is an international partnership, in which developing and developed countries acknowledge that achieving the MDGs is a matter of mutual benefit that should include the provision of sufficient international resources and knowledge for countries who need them. If you look around at other campaigns, on the MDGs or other issues, you will find that some of the most successful have involved coalitions. Broad-based campaigns tend to be more effective because there is strength in numbers. They have more resources and a bigger pool of expertise. When they unite people from different political perspectives around common ends such as the MDGs, they can appear more “neutral” and focused on the issues. The goals as a whole, since they cover the touchstones of development, can be a logical common reference point for groups active an array of development concerns. In some countries, there may also be a valid argument for working in a lower profile way, such as through a single organization. Forming a large and vocal civil society coalition might be perceived as a threat that could inspire a backlash. This is particularly the case in nations with fragmented or highly sensitive political systems—and more so during elections, where divisions may be more acute than usual. Take time to think through the alternatives. Instead of a public demonstration, these situations might call for highly experienced advocates to meet individually with candidates, for example, with the expectation that they can gradually push forward behind the scenes.
    • Types of coalitions Should you decide to form a coalition, there are two basic configurations. One involves different groups agreeing to work together and coordinate their activities, often under the guidance of a steering committee. A second entails forming an organization through pooled resources to manage the campaign. The latter option is more centralized and can be more powerful, but only if it is very well organized and member groups live up to their commitments of human and other resources. The steering committee option, which is more decentralized, allows greater flexibility and can be more readily established and disbanded for an election. Under either approach, you need to develop a set of joint objectives, positions and campaign messages, and apply these consistently to all aspects of the campaign. In advance, you should prepare mechanisms to head off potential conflicts. Many disputes will be avoided by having transparent and accountable leadership, and clear guidelines for managing the campaign. You might also want a system to disengage with members who do not live up to their initial commitments or who come to threaten the credibility of the campaign. Achieving effective participation is also important—the point of a coalition is to combine different strengths. Many coalitions falter when they become too rigid or hierarchical, or when leadership becomes overly centralized or exclusive. People and groups who know that their contributions and voices are valued will be more enthusiastic and active. 16 A number of global campaigns, including for the MDGs, have made significant impacts because they have set a general global direction and encouraged national partners to pursue their own strategies. The same type of model could be applied at the national level to accommodate local partners in different regions of the country. Tools to use: Tool 3, Working Together: Making Participation Meaningful. Know the law A final essential piece of assessing your campaign options: All countries that conduct elections have laws, rules and codes of conduct for candidates, and possibly civil society advocates and the media as well. These can apply to an array of different issues, from media access to campaign contributions to voter eligibility. Find out about any provisions that may apply to you. You may draw benefits from some. The failure to comply with others could result in penalties starting with the loss of public credibility and extending to legal sanctions.
    • Campaign Tales Box 1.1 The MDGs on the Campaign Trail The MDGs have featured in a number of recent elections. Many advocacy campaigns have favoured working across parties, linking candidates to the common agenda of the MDGs: Australia: In Australia’s 2007 elections, the faith-based group Caritas issued press releases that highlighted the lack of attention by the major parties to development assistance commitments made in the MDGs. Lobbying by the Micah Challenge convinced the opposition party to promise an aid increase. Bangladesh: For the 2008 parliamentary elections, the People’s Empowerment Trust and People’s Forum on the MDGs rated party election manifestos on their commitments to the goals. Parties scored “very good,” “good,” “apparently good,” “average” and “absent” on issues ranging from agricultural inputs to legislation discriminating against women. Canada: In the 2007 federal elections in Canada, the Make Poverty History campaign organized supporters in key districts to meet with candidates and challenge them to make ending poverty a policy goal. Malta: A coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Malta designed a five-point Manifesto for Development before the 2008 elections, and engaged 17 with politicians from the three major political parties to include it in their electoral platforms. The manifesto comprised points on aid targets, fair trade, national development education, the participation of NGOs in development policy work, and development policy coherence. A special National MDG Seminar was held on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty to present and discuss the manifesto with candidates. Pakistan: Before elections in 2007, NGOs created a four-kilometre banner, the world’s longest. Calling for the achievement of the MDGs, it attracted signatures from millions of people. The campaign held a press conference that urged political parties to define their agenda for achieving the MDGs as part of their election campaigns, particularly to ensure the eradication of poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and injustice. Campaign representatives proposed decreasing non-development and military spending as burdens on humanity. Spain: For Spain’s March 2008 elections, the Spanish Alliance Against Poverty gathered together representatives from the three major political parties to debate proposals to end poverty and inequality. The discussion touched on the political commitment to the MDGs, improved official development assistance, reduced
    • debt burdens on poor countries and fair trade. Candidates agreed to prioritize the quality of aid during the upcoming legislative session, and to push for reforming the debt system. United States: Before the 2008 presidential election, “One”, a US-based campaign to end global poverty, issued a comparison of MDG-related commitments in competing election platforms, as well as its own suggestions. The platform of winning candidate Barak Obama promised to make the MDGs part of American policy. Immediately after the election, InterAction, a consortium of NGOs, issued a concise proposal for a US national development strategy based on the MDGs. Zambia: In Zambia, the Micah Challenge, a Christian NGO, called on presidential candidates standing for the 2008 elections to commit to attaining the MDGs, and to explain their agenda for the rural poor to traditional leaders before requesting their vote. Traditional chiefs made statements in the media that their people had been marginalized and remained poor, so this time they should know what they are voting for. Religious leaders urged voters to ignore party and tribal lines in favour of a development vision based on the MDGs. Previously, during Zambia’s 2006 parliamentary elections, churches worked with communities in the copper-belt region on pre-poll contracts from candidates to record their promises to achieve the MDGs. 18
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    • © UNHCR / S. Schulman © UNFPA / Sagar Shrestha
    • Chapter II Before the Election, Part 2: Formulating a Plan for Action Once you have carried out some initial assessments and thinking about an MDG advocacy campaign, the next most important step is to craft a sound strategy that spells out clear goals, messages and tactics. The following pages list the basic elements. Use these to start framing your own strategy and identifying what will be required. Make notes on each of the following items, with reference to specific issues in your country or locality. After reviewing the entire guidebook, you can come back and begin fine-tuning actual plans. As a reference point, take a look at the MDG campaign examples profiled in Box 2.1. Useful additional tools at the end of this guide: Tool 4, Stakeholder Analysis; Tool 5, More on Messages; Tool 6, Options for Campaign Actions; Tool 7, Through a Gender Lens.
    • What’s in a successful campaign strategy? Define what you want to achieve. Any successful campaign strategy begins with deciding where you want to go—in the short and long term. Try to write your most important objectives down, preferably as a list. Ideas might include: • Increased awareness about MDG issues among voters and politicians • The creation of new coalitions to support MDG achievements • Pilot initiatives to prove what is possible with the MDGs • Expanding awareness of the MDGs within the legislature and/or the executive branch • References to an MDG agenda in party platforms • Electoral debates about the MDGs • Public support from individual candidates and parties, demonstrated by the inclusion of MDG references in campaign speeches or other electoral campaign activities • Mediacoverage significant enough to persuade political candidates to recognize the importance of the MDGs and the general public to consider them in their voting choices • Political commitments to implementing specific laws and policies, and/or budget allocations to help achieve the MDGs 22 Don’t forget to focus and prioritize. The MDGs cover many issues. While they are important and interconnected parts of a broader vision of development, as articulated in the Millennium Declaration, some of the goals many be more locally or nationally relevant at a given point in time than others. Some may reflect issues already prominent in political debates, and have a greater chance of leveraging interest and action. If many constituents are concerned about the lack of access to education, for example, the second MDG could be selected to help focus attention on the need to define specific, time-bound education policy goals and the steps to reach them. One way to assess the strength of your campaign objectives is through the “SMART” system. Try to define objectives that are: SMART Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-bound
    • Define your target audience(s). Who can help you achieve your objectives? Determine, even in a general way, how they can help—such as through publicity, fundraising or constituency outreach. Why would they help? How would they benefit? Motivations can range from the chance to boost political support to genuine commitment to a given development issue to the need for public services in a community. The stronger the motivation, the more interest a given target audience will take in your campaign messages. Target audiences during election campaigns might include some of the following: • Voters • Politicians running for election • Politicians already in office • Influential political party members • Government officials with a record of championing the MDGs • Politically active constituencies with an obvious interest in the MDGs (such as teachers or health professionals) • Politically active members of the private sector (such as political action groups) • Civil society advocacy groups 23 • Traditional authorities Again, it is important to prioritize. Trying to reach everyone can diffuse time and financial resources. Who can help you most? Is it possible to influence certain groups that would then be likely to magnify your efforts by influencing others themselves? Tools to use: Tool 4, Stakeholder Analysis. Identify who might work on the campaign. Consider which individuals or organizations may have existing links with potential target audiences. Can the campaign build on these? What are needed skills and resources. Who can bring these to the table? Important capacities to have on a campaign team can comprise: • Communication skills • Leadership experience, including in managing coalitions • Experience in political advocacy
    • • Knowledge of MDG issues and policy options • Research skills • Organizational/logistical abilities • Fundraising Determine your message(s). Effective campaign messages emerge from knowing what your target audience is willing to hear and act on. This is not always the same as what you would like them to hear, at least initially . Campaigning can be a step-by-step process of appealing to people—you may be starting with a message that is very new or competing for attention, particularly in a political process such as an election where many issues are at stake. The bottom line: Campaign messages should convince your target audience to take actions that help achieve your objectives. In developing your campaign messages, try to pinpoint one primary message that reflects the heart of your objectives. It should be readily understandable to a cross-section of people and phrased in a straightforward way—keep the message simple, even if it embodies a complex reality. Once you catch people’s attention, then you can convince them to listen to what else you have to say. Secondary messages can be developed to elaborate on your 24 primary message. Messages can be conveyed in different forms. You may want to come up with catchy slogans for public events such as rallies, for example. You can then elaborate on the same messages in a brief list of critical policy ideas for one-on-one meetings with politicians and policy makers. If you stay “on message” across all campaign activities, even if you feel you are repeating the same basic ideas over and over, there will be a much greater likelihood that your messages will be received by enough people to make a difference. See Box 2.2 for some examples of how to recast the MDGs to appeal to popular audiences. Tools to use: Tool 5, More on Messages. Figure out where you will reach your target audience(s). Choose venues for communicating your key messages to them accordingly. Some of the options include: • Personal meetings
    • • Speeches • Media • Rallies • Political campaign events • Community meetings • Voter registration or education drives Match people to convey your message(s) with your target audiences. People who advocate campaign messages are convincing for different reasons. They may be widely respected, influential, trusted, knowledgeable about the issues, and/or in positions of authority. Target audiences should perceive them as having at least some of these characteristics, as this increases the chances that they will respond to campaign messages. For example, for a meeting between a civil society group and a politician, it may make sense to reach out to a supportive member of the politician’s party or constituency. Ask them to meet with you, or otherwise advise the politician to listen closely to your case. Typical examples of people who can convey campaign messages are: 25 • Campaign spokespeople • Candidates • Voters • Prominent members of a community/celebrities • Journalists • Business people • Recognized development experts • Civil servants • Traditional authorities Pay attention to timing. Campaign events should be timed with the electoral cycle to achieve maximum impacts. There are three basic stages, listed here with common political activities that take place during them:
    • • Pre-election: This may involve putting in place legal and institutional mechanisms for the election, deciding on the electoral calendar, training officials, registering and educating voters, and raising funds for candidacies and political advocacy. • Electoral period: This entails active campaigning, up through election day, voting, and the tabulation and certification of results. • Post-election: This is the time to implement campaign promises, take stock of performance, and evaluate electoral rules and practices. For a well-timed MDG advocacy campaign, the pre-electoral period might be the moment to begin implementing longer term strategies such as voter education, and assessing the potential line-up of candidates and parties for advocacy entry points and messages. The electoral period itself should coincide with the most active and resource-intensive phase of the campaign. After an election, some consideration should be given to follow-up, including among successful candidates who have promised to take action on MDG issues—for more on this, see Chapter V. Develop a plan. MDG campaigns can encompass a huge variety of activities: letters to the editor, public rallies, meetings with politicians and activists, media outreach, slogans on T-shirts and billboards, exhibitions, petitions and voter education drives are some of the many options. 26 Your creativity and innovation can help come up with tactics to capture attention and get people thinking in new ways. Organization is critical. A campaign—since it involves coordinating multiple activities to achieve a set of core objectives—needs a plan. It should spell out goals, target audiences, key messages and partnerships, and specify a timeframe. Existing human and financial resources should be identified, along with projected future needs. Successful campaigns can happen in a spontaneous or ad hoc way, or as an add-on to other activities, but many experiences suggest that having basics in place such as a dedicated campaign budget and team for implementation boosts the prospects for success. If you have the resources, design multipronged campaign strategies that cover a lot of ground by targeting different audiences, using a variety of tactics, perhaps operating in different regions of the country. Even if your goals need to be more modest, all campaign activities should be considered for their potential to build on each other, since coordinated efforts can be more powerful than fragmented steps taken in isolation. Focusing first on raising the profile of MDG issues in the media, for example, may convince some politicians to meet with campaign representatives to discuss political commitments and policy recommendations. If you are able to get commitments in election platforms, you can then follow up after the election is done.
    • Your campaign strategy should also “plan for the unplannable”. Political dynamics can shift rapidly, particularly during the high stakes of election periods. To respond to new developments, try to factor in the flexibility to drop or replace tactics that become unnecessary or prove ineffective. Finally, before or during the drafting of your plan, conduct a gender analysis. Gender equity is central to all of the MDGs, in addition to being a specific goal. Different messages and activities may be required to reach women, who often face systematic patterns of discrimination and exclusion. You may miss these unless you make a concerted effort to define and respond to them. Tools to use: Tool 6, Options for Campaign Actions; and Tool 7, Through a Gender Lens. Box 2.1 The MDGs in Europe: Goal 8 Achievements and Campaign Tales Lessons A number of European countries have conducted public campaigns on the MDGs. Most had dual tasks: to raise public awareness about the goals and inspire commitment to the provision of development assistance under Goal 8. Government aid ministries financed campaigns in Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden. A highly visible campaign kicked off in Italy by the Millennium Campaign 27 later traveled to Germany, Portugal and Spain. Campaigns have also taken place in Austria, Denmark, Finland and Norway. While the European campaigns were not designed explicitly around elections, they do offer some general lessons about MDG advocacy. First, since it is not possible to communicate all the goals in one message, most of the campaigns chose a primary focus on poverty, narrowing in on other goals as opportunities provided, including in relation to specific thrusts in national development assistance. Public opinion surveys found that people in most of the countries believed that poverty should be a number one priority, generally followed by HIV and AIDS. The lowest priority was maternal mortality, although this was also viewed as one of the most feasible problems to solve by 2015. According to research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), other factors for successful MDG campaigns in Europe have included sustaining activities over several years, mandating a team to work on the campaign, providing enough funding, finding innovative ways of making the goals “real” to the general public, brokering partnerships with civil society and the private sector, and identifying events on which to piggyback campaign activities instead of creating new platforms.
    • Some campaign highlights: Belgium: An ongoing campaign kicked off in 2005, launched by the Royal Princess Mathilde. Steered by a committee of representatives from government ministries and active development organizations, its chosen theme is: “The bridge of solidarity— let’s build a future for all of us.” So far, a national media campaign has fostered general awareness of the MDGs, while a traveling exhibition has visited schools, local town halls and the national Senate. A centenary celebration of the five Belgian scouting federations featured the building of a symbolic solidarity bridge linking the northern and southern hemisphere, which sparked widespread media coverage. Through these activities, public awareness of the MDGs has increased by almost 20 percent, according to the OECD. In an unusual move, a number of political candidates featured the goals in their 2007 election campaigns. Netherlands: Starting in 2003, the NCDO—a semi-public development agency—led 44 Dutch NGOs in a campaign called: “Make it happen: No more poverty in the world.” It focused on raising public awareness and political advocacy, challenging people to “dare to dream”. Activities comprised media outreach, using platforms from text messages to television ads, and MDG-themed contests in public schools. A “Make it happen” publicity tour sought the support of ethnic minorities, senior citizens and religious young people. A signature-collection drive encouraged the Prime Minister to promote the MDGs at the international level. By 2007, according to OECD statistics, 28 public recognition of the MDGs had jumped to 38 percent, up from only 13 percent in 2003. Sweden: In 2002, a Swedish MDG campaign engaged 85 groups from civil society, academia and the private sector, under the coordination of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development Agency, and representatives from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Association. The campaign embraced a proactive message—“it’s possible to halve poverty by 2015”—and then brought home that this would be a “present to us all for us all.” The “Chance of a Lifetime” ad campaign reached over 3.6 million Swedes; parallel events included linking the Annual Conference on Development to the MDGs and preparing a seminar on the goals for parliamentarians. By the time the campaign ended in 2005, organizers concluded that the public information component had paid off, with general awareness rising from 27 percent to 41 percent. Advocacy among ministry officials helped overcome a resistance to referring to the MDGs in internal policy papers—most now do. Less success was achieved, however, in fostering greater prominence for the goals on political agendas, which the campaign attributed in part to the lack of a formal campaign mandate from the Government. Source: OECD, Public Campaigns about the MDGs Since 2003 .
    • Campaign Tales Box 2.2 Rewording the MDGs The MDGs are relatively straightforward goals. But for the purposes of a campaign, it may be worth rephrasing them (or their national equivalents) in even simpler ways that avoid any hint of technical “development” language and appeal very directly to people’s hopes for their lives. A campaign in Pasay City, Philippines chose to reword them as: • MDG 1: My family has a job and savings. • MDG 2: All our children go to school. • MDG 3: Men and women have equal rights. • MDG 4: All our children are healthy. • MDG 5: We keep pregnancy safe and healthy. • MDG6: We avoid HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. • MDG 7: We keep our homes and the environment clean. • MDG 8: We get involved in community development. In Tanzania, an NGO called Hakikazi Catalyst issues a series called the Plain Language Guides, including one on the MDGs. It chose to describe the goals as part of imagining a future where: • There is no poverty or hunger • All mothers are healthy, children do not die unnecessarily, and diseases like 29 tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS are no more. • All boys and girls finish primary school, and all men and women have equal opportunities. • The environment has recovered from long years of exploitation and pollution and parents are proud to pass it on to their children. • The global family of nations and institutions is united and at peace, and people work in partnership with efficiency and compassion to remove injustice and suffering from the world. To come up with your own ideas, brainstorm and be creative. Ask people who may not be familiar with development terms: What does the end of poverty look like to you? What would gender equality mean in your life and that of your daughter? How do you imagine a healthy environment? Write down the responses. Do common themes emerge?
    • © Tariq Mehmood (Khanpride) © UNFPA / Sagar Shrestha
    • Chapter III During the Election, Part 1: The Art of Campaign Advocacy A s an election gets underway, and candidates and parties begin to compete for voters, you should be ready to roll out your MDG campaign strategy—possibly slightly before the poll if the strategy includes pre-election elements. Core campaigners should be in place, with coalition agreements nailed down. The campaign should have sufficient resources to at least get started or for the course of the election, depending on how long it is and how much time there will be for additional fundraising. In general, the big picture strategic planning should be done, with your target audiences and key messages solidly defined, so that you can focus on transmitting them through different activities. This chapter highlights techniques that you can use through the campaign to boost the strength of your advocacy, however you chose to pursue it. Advocacy, like politics, is an art form. It requires creativity and intuition, listening and responding—as much as planning and well-organized logistics. To reach your audiences, you need always to maintain a sense of them. What will attract their attention? What inspires them? What will they listen to—or be unwilling to hear? Their receptiveness may vary by issue and over time. But if you have a general idea of their mindset, you will be better equipped to advocate your campaign messages in a persuasive way. Box 3.1 profiles two examples of highly successful global campaigns that illustrate the art of campaign advocacy, as confirmed by their far-reaching impacts. Useful additional tools at the end of this guide: Tool 8, Making Your Case: Quantitative and Qualitative Evidence. Now, some principles to keep in mind.
    • Educate—and advocate Campaigns at times find that before they get to advocacy—persuading people to take action—they first need to educate their target audiences. Education implies a more neutral presentation of information so that people have the basic facts. This can help dispel wrong perceptions or lead to the formation of more accurate ones. In some industrial countries, one typical example involves foreign assistance. People commonly overestimate the amount that is granted and do not have a clear understanding of what it is used for and why it is important. So before you call for more of it under the Goal 8 commitment, you need to fill these gaps. Ask for more In an election, you will probably be asking people for something—candidates for commitments and public statements, voters for engagement in MDG issues backed by votes, the media for coverage. One basic principle is to always ask for more than you know you’ll get. If people say no, keep asking. It will become harder for them at some point; plus the consistency of your requests can make them convincing. Be prepared for trade-offs 32 By the same token, keep in mind that you probably won’t get everything you ask for. Asking for more in the beginning can leave room for trade-offs later on. In working with politicians, you might, for example, pull back on one issue in exchange for an agreement to move forward on another. Start with what’s already acceptable One approach to advocacy is to start with what you know will be acceptable to the people you want to reach. You then can seek to gradually persuade them to listen to ideas that may be closer to where you would like to end up. Acknowledging the extent of poverty, for example, is a sensitive subject in some countries, particularly for politicians who may not want to publicly associate this issue with shortfalls in past political performance. Instead of confronting them with this fact, you could emphasize the need to create jobs or increase options for income generation and education that will eventually benefit a locality or the country as a whole. Go for the bold and unexpected—in a calculated way A different approach is to highlight ideas that are bold, striking, unexpected. They inspire a sense of what is possible, and inspire people to think and dream in new ways. A focused
    • campaign challenging the government to end poverty in one generation may have widespread appeal in some countries, particularly those that have set their sights on rapid development progress. Handle this strategy with care, however. Do your research in advance and know how much you can say. If you overshoot, the message could fall flat, and people will dismiss the campaign as unrealistic. Think creatively Whether your campaign takes a bold or more conservative approach to the messages you advocate, you can dream up creative campaign activities—advocates in past campaigns have come up with a vast array of options depending on what they are trying to achieve. Events that are different from what people are used to seeing inspire curiosity and the desire to find out more. Even serious issues can be presented in friendly, fun and/or humorous ways with broad appeal. For some examples, see Box 3.2. Balance realism and optimism, like the MDGs Whatever the form of your advocacy, try to balance realism and optimism. The MDGs set high but achievable goals. Campaigns taking a similar approach will inspire people with hope in the possibility of a better, more developed world, and stress that the way forward includes taking concrete, step-by-step measures. You may initially aim to increase political 33 will and public awareness, but the eventual objective is to translate these into real actions, such as new policies and laws, mechanisms for implementation and resources. Appeal to the head and heart For many target audiences, it will be appropriate to appeal on multiple levels by blending quantitative facts and figures with more emotionally compelling stories about real human lives. People process information in very different ways—some of these will be culturally specific. Numerical data can be everything for some people. Others will be able to visualize all the issues at stake by hearing about someone else’s personal experience. Explore the range of choices for different campaign activities. Policymakers, for example, at some point usually have to work in the realm of numbers, although political candidates may turn to personal stories to demonstrate that they understand and sympathize with voters. Journalists often use human-interest anecdotes to appeal to readers or viewers, before turning to quantitative data to prove that the stories are emblematic of larger trends. See Box 3.3 for an example of using people’s personal stories for MDG policy recommendations, and Box 3.4 on a campaign that highlights numbers to convey its core messages.
    • Have evidence in hand You should have sufficient evidence to argue for campaign positions—and respond to alternatives that may be presented by candidates, voters, the media or other election players. Campaigns can draw interest with catchy slogans and rousing public events. But you should also be equipped to deepen and sustain interest by offering convincing, well-documented evidence that defines problems and supports recommended solutions. That includes your case for the development issues covered by the MDGs, and for the use of the MDGs as an important mechanism to guide and speed up development progress. Tools to use: Tool 8, Making Your Case: Quantitative and Qualitative Evidence. Weigh the front page vs. the back door Keep in mind where you can be most effective. Does that mean being on the front pages of national newspapers? Or in small meetings with politicians and their constituents? Many famous social advocacy campaigns have taken a highly public approach and made powerful impacts. Potent examples of direct action campaigns, which deliberately operate outside the usual social and political channels, abound. They include Gandhi’s 1930 Salt March in India, where protesters defied a salt tax in a turning point towards national independence. In the United States, the actions of the Freedom Riders, white and black civil rights activists 34 who switched racially segregated seats on buses in 1961, became a landmark in the struggle for equal rights. While actions like these are often held up as models of effective campaigns, they may not work in all countries or under all political configurations. Another example comes from Mauritania, where women’s activists for many years sought the institution of quotas for women politicians through public forums such as the media. Their appeals went unheard until they chose a back-door approach of meeting individually with each candidate in a presidential election. The candidates all agreed to support the quota idea, and it was adopted after the election concluded, helping usher a record number of women into political seats. You are best equipped to decide if a front-page or back-door approach works best in your country. The point is to pay close attention to local realities. You can always learn from other experiences, while avoiding the temptation to impose a certain model just because it worked somewhere else. Think in terms of partners Wherever possible, look for partners, even if you don’t have a formal coalition or network, and even if you decide to limit these relationships to particular campaign issues or activities.
    • Engagement with other people and groups, even if it is as simple as sitting around a workshop table, leads to the exchange of ideas, enhanced awareness, the dissemination of messages, the discovery of common points of support, and greater prospects for people to carry the campaign into the arenas where they operate (and where you may not). In short, when people work together, they multiply individual contributions many times over. As an example, see Box 3.5. Box 3.1 Two Global Success Stories: Mines and Debt Campaign Tales Banning landmines Two global advocacy campaigns stand out for achieving significant progress in a short time. One is the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. It kicked off in the early 1990s through the efforts of a handful of NGOs who wanted to shine a global spotlight on the horrific suffering caused by anti-personnel mines and stop their use. By 1997, 122 countries had signed an international treaty to ban the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of mines. The campaign began on the international level, but soon included a groundswell of national campaigns as civil society organizations around the world lent support. From the start, inclusiveness was an important aspect of the campaign, which recognized that such a major enterprise would require action on many fronts. National campaigns tailored their efforts to individual countries, but the message and the objective—to 35 ban landmines, with no exceptions—was consistent throughout. The campaign used a two-prong strategy. One aspect was the provision of technical information detailing the impacts of mines, the scope of global production and the legal issues involved in pursuing a ban. This was used for public outreach through the media as well as in interactions with politicians and policy makers. The other aspect entailed concerted political engagement with a set of countries that became champions of the initial treaty proposal. These partnerships convinced other governments to eventually come on board and led directly to the passage of the treaty. Today the campaign, which involves more than 1,400 member organizations in 90 countries, continues to be an advocate to rid the world of mines, devoting its efforts to disseminating public information, monitoring compliance with the treaty and advocating its universal adoption. The Cambodian Campaign to Ban Landmines, for example, was founded in 1994 by disabled war veterans. As one of the first national initiatives, it has been part of the push for the Kingdom of Cambodia to sign the mine- ban treaty, enact domestic legislation prohibiting the use of anti-personnel mines, and destroy all known stockpiles of the Army and National Police. The campaign is
    • now monitoring compliance with the treaty and the domestic law, and helping to maintain broad public awareness of mine dangers. Although Cambodia remains a heavily mined country because of its legacy of war, it has been able to report as part of its mine-ban treaty obligations that between 2000 and 2005, it destroyed over 71,000 devices. No more debt Another prominent and powerful campaign was Jubilee 2000. Over four years, starting in 1996, it brought the issue of debt cancellation for poor countries to the top of the international political agenda. By 2000, wealthy donor countries had agreed to cancel US $110 billion in debt. Like the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Jubilee 2000 pulled together a broad, diverse coalition, from the local to the international level. It too had a common message—debt cancellation—with room for national adaption. While people in Southern countries had been active on debt relief for years, Jubilee 2000 combined their efforts at an opportune time, as it became clear that the 1996 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative was faltering, even as debt burdens continued to extract a heavy toll. In Bolivia, the campaign organized massive civil society consultations to urge that 36 money from debt relief go into social spending. In Uganda, campaigners advised parliamentarians to reject unwarranted borrowing. In India, tens of thousands of women marched in support of the campaign. On the eve of the 2000 G-7 summit, African leaders met as a group to stand up to creditor nations and press for relief. The campaign also focused on winning over journalists, including those in the financial press who initially were dismissive of debt relief as impossible or too expensive. High quality reports were prepared, combining information from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, donor and creditor governments, and NGO resources. The campaign issued statistics designed to shock people into immediately understanding the severity of the debt crisis. It emphasized that 19,000 children die each day due to the absorption of resources by debt repayments, for example. It pointed out that for every British pound in grant aid that goes to developing countries, nine pounds come back in debt repayments. To help broaden the reach of its messages, the campaign tapped well-known celebrities, a remarkably diverse bunch that included the Pope, musicians Bono and Youssou N’Dour, the conservative US legislator Jesse Helms and the athlete Muhammad Ali. It engaged people of faith, trade unionists, student organizations and professional groups such as the British Medical Association.
    • The campaign attributed part of its success to its management structures. Four central offices remained small and thinly staffed. Instead of a rigid bureaucratic structure, the campaign relied on its clear mandate, trust, solidarity and cooperation. Its flexibility fostered creativity and spontaneity, including quick, on-the-ground responses to events as they unfolded. Jubilee supporters made films, organized concerts, protested on the streets, collected over 24 million signatures on petitions, formed human chains, played soccer games in debt cancellation shirts, wrote postcards and told personal stories—among other activities. Campaign Tales Box 3.2 Creative Campaigning Creative campaign events that have drawn attention through their sheer novelty include: Denmark and globally: As part of the MDG3 Global Call to Action campaign, sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Denmark, 100 torches were lit around the world, culminating with one for the UN Secretary-General at the 2008 UN high- level event on the MDGs. With the lighting of each torch, governments, international organizations, private sector firms and individual citizens made promises to “do something extra” to achieve gender equality. The Danish Government for its part 37 agreed to double aid allocations for gender equality and women’s empowerment by 2010. Egypt: The Government, UN agencies, civil society groups and the private sector conducted an MDG campaign in 2007 that centred on sailing eight traditional Egyptian boats down the Nile River. The sail of each boat portrayed one of the goals. At stops in cities along the way, campaign organizers worked with local committees on events celebrating human rights, development and youth volunteerism. Europe: During the European Development Days in Strasbourg, France, and coinciding with a G-20 economic summit in Washington DC, an alliance of civil society advocates held an event that attracted media and public attention to economic disparities. Activists representing the G-20 developed and emerging nations held golden parachutes and drank champagne as they walked over the bodies of activists lying on the ground who represented 170 poorer countries. Germany: Activists handed a suitcase to the Development Minister at the Berlin airport. The suitcase was inscribed with the slogan “poverty can pack.” It contained eight articles representing the MDGs, along with a report on recommendations to achieve them.
    • India: Renowned Bollywood directors, film writers and performers created an MDG- themed TV game show. It featured a singing competition, with songs linked to the goals, and donations to organizations working on the MDGs instead of prizes. Box 3.3 Nepal: The Power of the Personal Campaign Tales Personal stories can be a powerful way of conveying messages about the MDGs—and underscoring the importance of including grass-roots perspectives in public policy debates. In Nepal, two UN agencies worked with the National Planning Commission to publish a compilation of poignant interviews about people’s experiences with the issues in the first seven goals. Individuals, many from the poorest, most excluded parts of Nepali society, told of their struggles with hunger, disease and trying to survive on marginal employment. The report team also concisely summarized the stories as a set of findings under each MDG, and presented a set of recommendations—such as for needs-based functional literacy programmes and initiatives to curb domestic violence. The approach brings home the fact that policy decisions have a distinctly human face, and that ordinary 38 people can both identify problems that might otherwise remain ignored and propose the means to solve them. Box 3.4 Africa: Making a Point with Numbers Campaign Tales Some campaigns have cleverly used data and numbers to zoom to the heart of an issue. In Africa, the name of the 15% Now Campaign reiterates its main message: that African Union member states should uphold a 2001 pledge to allocate 15 percent of national budgets to health. 15% Now has also combined numbers with a vivid image picked up by media outlets during recent campaign events. It stresses that 43 jumbo jets crashing every day, each with 500 passengers on board, is the equivalent of the 8 million Africans who die each year from preventable, treatable, manageable health conditions. The campaign focuses its advocacy on Africa’s regional and sub-regional intergovernmental bodies. A coalition of over 140 organizations, it is chaired by a globally known and respected person with high moral authority—Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
    • Campaign Tales Box 3.5 Partnerships in Standing Up Against Poverty The UN Millennium Campaign and its partner the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) have brought together trade unions, women’s groups, faith organizations and NGOs active on the international stage as well as in 100 different countries around maximizing efforts to achieve the MDGs. In October 2008, for the third year in a row, the campaign, GCAP and a wide range of non-state groups organized a three-day global event to stand up against poverty. While the initial target was to have 67 million people or 1 percent of the world population participate, nearly 117 million people got involved. This set a new record for people standing up for a cause, and was included in the Guinness Book of World Records. The event included migrant workers in Singapore making a personal declaration to demand an end to poverty. More than 35 million people in the Philippines, a third of the country, stood up at events organized through the Department of Education, universities, local municipalities and government ministries. In South Africa, union, church and NGO groups presented a set of demands to the Government, including for guaranteeing child support, cutting value-added taxes and abolishing user fees on water. Uganda’s entire Parliament stood up, while members of the Parliamentary Committee on the Millennium Development Goals helped to clean the Kisenyi slum outside Kampala. In Baidoa, Somalia, thousands of people in camps 39 for internally displaced people stood up in solidarity with other poor people around the world, making a statement to take action to improve their own lives. More than 100,000 Germans demanded more and better aid, and the implementation of fair world trade rules to realize the MDGs. Over 400,000 Italians also stood up, including at events attended by prominent politicians such as Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini. GCAP maintains advocacy pressure and visibility throughout the year, including by participating in major international events such as the World Social Forum and the Doha financing for development review. Recent national campaigns have included “poverty hearings” in nine African and Asian countries to publicize personal testimonies about the reality of living without public services. A campaign in Kenya, responding to reports of hunger-related deaths, organized a street concert to rally people around a call for action against the food crisis. They made specific demands for greater investments in agriculture and increased social protection.
    • © UNFPA / Ky Chung © Rob Mercatante
    • Chapter IV During the Election, Part 2: Outreach to Major Players I n the course of an election, three groups stand out as among those you will likely try to reach through an MDG advocacy campaign: politicians, voters and the media. The first two groups have defined roles in polling. The third typically facilitates the flow of information that shapes people’s opinions and actions. Even if you chose not to engage with all three, your campaign should at least remain aware of how the groups you are not targeting may be influencing those that you are. To help you flesh out your strategy, this chapter goes into greater detail on specific options for working with politicians, voters and the media, with a shorter section on other election actors at the end. Potential campaign objectives, messages and activities are presented for the first three groups—not as ideas set in stone, but as choices to consider as you plan and conduct your campaign. Useful additional tools at the end of this guide: Tool 9, Tips for Meeting with Candidates; Tool 10, A Checklist for Media Interviews; Tool 11, The Basics of Press Releases, Kits and Conferences.
    • Engaging with politicians An MDG advocacy campaign during an election will likely involve interactions with candidates, since they, if elected, can convey MDG actions into the political system. By the beginning of your campaign, you should have an idea of which candidates and parties you need to engage, and how you can attract their attention to the issues you are advocating. In your campaign strategy, you may want to spell out specific objectives, messages and activities for politicians. Some examples are: Potential campaign objectives • New commitments to MDG-related laws, policies and resources • Implementation of commitments • The building of new coalitions to carry MDG advocacy forward • Engagement with constituents • Greater political accountability and responsiveness to voters • Increased quality of governance • Better public service provision Potential campaign messages 42 • Achieving the MDGs is critical to national/local development. • Applying the goals can improve existing or future development plans. • MDG issues are highly relevant to voters, who may support your campaign if you endorse the goals • The MDGs will help us match the development performance of other countries in our region. • Accomplishing the MDGs across all localities, population groups and genders will reduce exclusion from mainstream development. Spreading the benefits of development can in turn improve overall social and economic stability, and unleash broadly based development progress. • TheMDGs are an issue of national commitment—working towards them, including with the support of international partners, demonstrates that we take both national development and being good international citizens seriously. • For developed countries, assisting developing countries to achieve the goals and upholding Goal 8 can contribute to diplomacy, security, moral obligations and the mutual benefits of global progress.
    • Potential campaign activities • Meetings between campaign representatives and candidates • Meetings involving constituents • Policy workshops on MDG issues • Political debates • Speeches at rallies • Public endorsements of MDG positions • Media outreach Preparing for advocacy Before you begin any initial contacts with politicians, who may be candidates, party officials or other figures, try to understand what reason(s) they may have to meet with you or otherwise become associated with your campaign. If you understand these in advance, you can tailor your advocacy messages accordingly. Some incentives (and ways to build on them) might be: • They believe your support and/or statements about the MDGs will attract their constituents. Emphasize specifically how this could build their political appeal . • They think they can gain insights into what will appeal to constituents. Offer this, while 43 stressing the need to make concrete commitments . • They are already committed to the MDGs. Propose how you can work together to advance this agenda . • They support MDG-related issues, or are interested in a specific development sector. Link this to the MDGs and explain why the goals are useful tools to spur progress . • Someone they respect has referred you to them. Underline this connection and the fact that this person believes in and backs your campaign . Also try to anticipate what candidates might want from you. Concise background information on an issue may deepen their understanding and interest. Key recommendations for potential changes provide them with ready-made options for follow up with constituents or other politicians. Be prepared for them to disagree with your positions; have responses crafted in advance. Counterarguments, with sample responses, might include: • The MDGs are too expensive—we don’t have enough resources. The goals are about critical basic public investments necessary for both constituents and national/local progress; they can be approached incrementally; the international community has also pledged its partnership . • They are not what my constituents are interested in. We have data that shows they are, and a list of potential outcomes that could directly benefit the community/province/country .
    • • Let the international community focus on that. Our government has endorsed the MDGs, which involve both national and international commitments and actions . • We have more important priorities at the moment (economic crisis, security, etc.). The MDGs are not a separate programme; steps to achieve them can help mitigate other challenges and be built into existing initiatives . If you decide to meet with individual politicians, set an overall objective for the meeting in advance. Define what questions you want to ask, what messages you want to convey and what actions you want them to take. Keep in mind that time may be short; your most important points should be presented first. Striking a balance Reaching out to politicians from different points in the political spectrum can build broader support and help keep your campaign in relatively neutral political territory. In some cases, it may convince candidates and parties to come on board if the competition has already done so. More sensitive political environments can require care in cultivating an overly close association with one faction, as their political agenda may end up superimposed on your advocacy messages in the public eye. You can try to diffuse that impression by working with a spectrum of candidates or parties. Or meet candidates quietly behind closed doors. In 44 countries where political parties have proliferated in large numbers, you may need to look closely at issues such as which parties are actually most likely to end up in the government and are worth the investment of campaign resources. For campaign activities that candidates may participate in, such as rallies and debates, aim for an advance agreement on basic guidelines, such as for topics to be covered. You can’t expect to control everything a politician does, but you can expect them to contribute in some way to your campaign if they have agreed to do so. Allowing them to use a campaign event strictly as a platform to promote their own political messages, for example, will distract from what you are trying to accomplish and might end up being a poor use of campaign resources. Before endorsing candidates or parties, find out in advance if any legal stipulations apply to this. Weigh the benefits and drawbacks for your campaign, as endorsements can be lasting and highly public associations that influence your credibility. Even if you intend to endorse only a candidate’s or party’s position on a given MDG issue, that can be read as signing off on an entire platform or political perspective. For suggestions from a civil society group that has worked with politicians on the MDGs, see Box 4.1. Box 4.2 profiles a campaign in which advocates engaged with government officials to secure gains on HIV treatment. Boxes 4.3 and 4.4 present examples of advocating for women’s political participation.
    • Tools to use: Tool 9, Tips for Meeting with Candidates. Going directly to voters Working with voters as part of an MDG campaign can be looked at in several ways. It can be an attempt to convince voters to link ballot choices with political commitments to the goals. This then opens the door for citizens to hold elected representatives accountable for taking steps to achieve them. Another perspective is that educating voters, informing them of their rights, and increasing participation and interest, regardless of how they end up voting, improves the quality of elections, the political process and the prospects for development. An MDG campaign itself, through a wide array of outreach activities, can be a way to mobilize and involve people, even in situations where they feel excluded from formal political processes. The following lists of objectives, messages and activities offer some suggested, not inclusive entry points for working with voters: Potential campaign objectives • Provision of information to voters so they can make informed decisions • A demonstration of the value of being politically involved 45 • Voter mobilization • Voters questioning political candidates and parties on their plans and platforms regarding the MDGs • Voters securing implementable election promises from politicians • Improved governance through greater participation • Increased political accountability Potential campaign messages • The MDGs matter to your life—and the lives of your children. • The goals are about a better future for all citizens, one that is safer, more prosperous, healthier, more environmentally sustainable and so on. • Using the goals in public planning can lead to better quality services for you and your family. • Elected candidates and parties should represent you: you can call on them to make MDG commitments.
    • • If they make those commitments, you can hold them to account for implementation if they are elected. • In developed countries, the goals are part of an obligation to help people in poorer countries improve their lives. They contribute to a safer world overall. • Your vote counts. Potential campaign activities • Rallies and demonstrations • Media coverage • Dissemination of information through brochures, text messaging or the Internet • Public information displays • Signature collection drives • Meetings with politicians • Community meetings • Voter/civic education • Voter registration drives • Get-out-the-vote actions 46 Voter types and tactics From your pre-campaign voter research, you may have some indication of the different categories of voters. Some will vote in every election. Others never vote. Or they come to the polls because of a particular issue. Or because they have been told to come by local leaders or party members. Politically active voters may be engaged in specific candidates’ campaigns, including as donors. Your campaign strategy should define the particular groups you would like to reach, and appeal to their incentives for getting politically involved. Besides those captured just above, others might be: a desire to participate, a sense of obligation to vote, hope for the future and/or a demand for new public agendas in a community or country. You may find it useful to distinguish between voters and the general public—not all citizens have the right to vote, based on age or other parameters. But this does not mean you shouldn’t target non-voters—children, for example, are a potential campaign audience because they can influence their parents. Also explore the merits of working across different constituency groups. This can have the same kinds of results as reaching out to a variety of political parties or candidates—it may broaden support and underscore the significance of the MDGs to people at large, across political perspectives. See Box 4.5 for an example
    • of mobilizing voters from different regions and segments of society, and Box 4.6 for a brief discussion on political clientelism. A few general directions can be pursued in reaching out to voters. One involves speaking to politicians through their constituents. This can be a powerful campaign tool, especially during elections when candidates face defending or obtaining their seats. First, you need to determine who is likely to vote for a specific candidate or party. Then figure out if there existing channels for communication besides voting itself. How consistent and meaningful are these? Can they be incorporated in the campaign, or do new channels need to be created? Participatory campaign events, such as signature collection drives and rallies, are one way to mobilize voters. If they can draw large numbers of people and the attention of the media, candidates and parties are likely to take notice—even more so if momentum is sustained across several events. You can also connect constituents and politicians through avenues such as community or personal meetings. If constituents are not well informed about the MDGs, provide them with basic information, while also keeping in mind that their personal experiences and recommendations may be highly relevant and persuasive. Understanding what works best with individual candidates who may be in the meeting is part of advance preparation. Another possible activity with voters entails education, with a distinction sometimes made between voter education and civic education. The former normally focuses on a particular election, covering issues such as voter eligibility, how and where to register and vote, who 47 the candidates are, and the process for filing complaints. Civic education offers broader information on a country’s political system and principles of governance, the equal right of men and women to participate, the importance of peace, and so on. Combining voter and civic education can help voters put an election in context and build incentives for political participation in the short and longer term. In many countries, voter and civic education programmes are already provided—including in schools and through civil society groups. But there may be missing issues in terms of the MDGs, or shortfalls by region or segments of the population. Your campaign can identify and work on closing these gaps. Check to see if the election management body should vet materials you produce, as this may be required. It can also be a good practice to ensure accuracy on any technical aspects of voting (such as registration procedures) and the election at large. Points in the electoral cycle Activities with voters generally vary across the electoral cycle. Voter education initiatives should happen before or early in the election so that people start thinking about their options. The weeks or months leading up to the election are the time for concerted persuasion and advocacy, such as through prominent public events that attract widespread
    • attention and spark debate. The last days should be reserved for issuing any final, powerful appeals, and mobilizing voters to go to the polls. If you are trying to persuade voters to chose candidates based on MDG commitments, give some consideration to timing and types of voters. You may want to start with a broader appeal to voters whom you know are supportive or that are potentially supportive, but then the final weeks or days of the campaign should be devoted to consolidating the base—that is, those voters that you can be sure will link their votes to MDG issues and are likely to go to the polls. See Box 4.7 as an example of how one campaign timed its voter outreach tactics around an election. Extra considerations A particular challenge in some countries will be voter scepticism based on long experience with poorly functioning governments and little or no public service delivery. These conditions are among the most difficult for campaigns, but you may find ways to work with them—as long as you are aware of them at the outset. Voter education drives, for example, can strive to mobilize demands for better health care and environmental protection, but they may fall flat if the starting point for most voters is that 48 politicians have never listened to their concerns. Another approach might be to convince interested political candidates to join groups of local citizens in town hall meetings that allow an exchange of ideas and experiences. If candidates make certain commitments, these then need to be monitored if they are elected, and the results reported back to voters. Using the MDGs to emphasize links between service delivery and political accountability may be particularly critical in countries shattered by conflict, where important initial tasks involve restoring trust and confidence in public systems. The MDGs, since they are basic goals that are clearly defined and endorsed by the international community, also offer a way to frame and prioritize what can seem like a bewildering array of urgent needs. In some countries, whether they are post-conflict or relatively stable, voting patterns and incentives may be rooted in exclusion that unfolds along the lines of ethnicity, religion, race, locality and so on, even when the legal right to vote is broadly applied. Perpetuating patterns like these in your campaign, even unconsciously, is counter to the spirit and potential effectiveness of the MDGs. Many countries will face barriers to achieving the goals in part because some population groups live outside the political and development processes that benefit others. Are there ways to counteract these tendencies through the campaign? If certain groups are geographically isolated, can you organize campaign activities that will reach them? Do you need to adapt communication materials for cultures or languages outside those that predominate nationally? If people cannot read, do you have posters, banners, photographs or radio broadcasts that speak to them?
    • Particular consideration should be given to working with women voters, who often face specific challenges from longstanding traditions of gender discrimination. Campaigns can be involved in challenging these, while also being pragmatic in managing around them. If women cannot attend rallies or workshops because of household responsibilities, campaign activities could include a door-to-door voter education drive. Some women may not be aware that they are entitled to vote, even if the law guarantees that they are. Working through the media The media can be powerful conduits for MDG messages, reaching thousands or millions of people. In reporting on what is taking place during an election, whether in a partisan or objective way, they inform and influence voters and politicians. If your campaign strategy has a media component, it might include objectives, messages and activities such as the following. One note: The messages listed here are what you might use to convince the media to cover your campaign—they are not the same as the ones you might convey through the media to politicians and/or voters. Potential campaign objectives • Greater public awareness of the MDGs • Public discussion about how to achieve the goals 49 • Public pressure on candidates and parties to make MDG commitments • Implementation advocacy once the campaign is over • Attracting new campaign allies • Building credibility • Raising funds through campaign visibility Potential campaign messages • TheMDGs will help transform the development of our country; you can be part of supporting this process during this election. • Your readers/viewers will be interested because the MDGs could directly improve their lives. • Ourcampaign is making a difference, as demonstrated by the following concrete examples. • We have an event that is newsworthy for the following reasons (such as the release of new information, massive attendance, participation of celebrities or high-level officials, etc.). • The goals are particularly relevant because of issue X, which has been a widely covered election debate.
    • • The goals are rising in political prominence during this election, as demonstrated by the following examples. • Our country is not on track to achieve the goals; politicians could use this election to deepen their commitments. • As follow up after the election, campaign promises are/are not being met. Potential campaign activities • Interviews • Press releases and kits • Press conferences • Invitations to cover campaign events • Meetings with editorial teams • Submission of opinion pieces or articles about the campaign • Submission of opinion pieces written by high-profile people who support the campaign Being strategic Using the media effectively means using it strategically. This requires understanding the 50 different media outlets that may be available, and who reads or listens to them. One common mistake is to think that it is enough to “get in the media.” But if you are not reaching the right readers and listeners, your impact may be short-lived. Another mistake is to treat media work as something that can be added on as an after-thought, such as by quickly issuing a press release just before an event. This sometimes works—and the capacity to respond immediately to fast-moving developments can be critical. But ad hoc press outreach can also send the message that you are unprepared and not entirely serious, particularly among journalists who may not be familiar with your campaign. It may lead to problems such as negative coverage or scrutiny of issues that are not the focus of your campaign. If you want to work with the media, be prepared! Start developing a media strategy from the moment you begin planning your campaign. Use two basic questions for guidance: • Which audiences do different media outlets reach? • How can these audiences support the objectives of the campaign? A first task is to survey available media outlets. They come in many forms—making informed choices about the best ones to work with should be part of your strategy. They include older formats, such as television, radio, newspapers and magazines, as well as newer formats, such as the Internet and text messaging. They can be privately or publicly owned, and mainstream
    • (meaning they appeal to a general audience) or alternative (meaning they reflect points of view that diverge from mainstream thinking). Specialized media are designed for smaller groups of readers or listeners, often defined by common interests, professions or even geographical location. You should also factor in the position of the media in your society, since this varies hugely. Some countries have relatively well-run, professional media that will strive to offer balanced reporting of the election out of a sense of professional obligation. Other countries legally mandate some level of equity in the access political candidates and parties have to the media. The government or particular political factions may also exercise very tight control over reporting. Another scenario is where media outlets closely affiliate themselves with candidates or parties, in effect becoming mouthpieces for certain political interests. This type of situation can require careful judgment, particularly if there is a risk that, for example, doing an interview with a controversial or partisan journalist or publication may damage your campaign’s credibility. Among people who use the media—your potential target audiences—there are varying degrees of access. Often, these are defined by factors such as economic standing, social position and gender. Well-educated policy makers in the capital may read major daily newspapers or browse websites. Poorer people in rural areas with high rates of illiteracy may rely on radios. Some campaigns have skillfully resorted to techniques such as community theatre to reach people who may fall outside the reach of all forms of conventional media 51 (see Box 4.8 for an example). At the opposite, high-tech extreme, Internet campaigns have been wildly successful in some countries and are probably the wave of the future—but only as electrical grids and bandwidths improve, and more people have access to computers. The use of text messaging is growing, given the growing popularity of this lower cost technology in many countries. Your campaign may have the option of purchasing media time or pursuing free coverage. Purchasing media—such as through advertisements or billboards—requires some amount of financial resources and technical skills, since you may be creating the media product itself. If you decide to issue a short video for broadcast television, for example, you will need video production skills or the ability to pay for these from a professional firm. Managing media relationships A key part of working with the media involves establishing relationships with journalists and media organizations. If they begin to know you and trust you, you will have an edge when it comes time to persuade them to cover an event or issue. Journalists are always looking for fresh stories, but they operate under constraints related to the nature of their profession. If you understand what these are and work with them, you will help them do their jobs and increase the probability that they will cover your campaign.
    • One major constraint journalists face is their deadline. There is only a finite amount of time to work on a story. You can work with this by: • Always responding immediately to requests from journalists • Providing them with adequate advance notice of events you would like them to cover • Offering them the most important pieces of information about your campaign, rather than all the information (they won’t have time or the inclination to go through it all—let them ask for more if they need it). • Using simple language and expressions, and avoiding all forms of development jargon • Assisting them in finding additional subjects to interview, such as ordinary voters participating in campaign events. • Offering supporting materials (such as photographs for print journalists) • Being helpful (within reason) even if you know it will not lead to coverage of your campaign Another constraint is that journalists have to “sell” their stories to editors and readers/viewers. The fact that they alone are interested in an issue may help them argue passionately for it, but may not be enough to ensure the story actually runs. In general, stories that are most likely to be picked up should be: newsworthy, unusual, striking, funny or connected to a strong human interest angle (such as personal stories, or family or social values). Many media stories also focus on different forms of conflict, including political clashes. This angle 52 might be applied to a story about a civil society protest or rally that takes a strong stance against current political positions. Some journalists and media organizations have a firm commitment to development coverage as a contribution to national and human welfare. If your campaign can identify these people, you can focus on cultivating them. You might find journalists who are not familiar with development concepts such as the MDGs, but are receptive to learning more about them. Supporting them in this process deepens their knowledge and may lead to improved reporting, sustained over the longer term. Elections generally feature a high level of coverage of the political contest, which may crowd out peripheral issues. Keeping your campaign strongly connected to the election—such as by organizing an MDG debate by different candidates—will increase media attention. You may want to try to piggyback on a political event that you know will be covered, since the cameras and microphones may end up trained on you in the process. Otherwise, try to avoid scheduling activities that may directly conflict with political events that will dominate coverage, since that can diminish the chance that you will make the news. Keeping your campaign messages consistent is particularly important in interacting with the press, as going off message can dilute the impact of the campaign or offer journalists an opportunity to cover something besides what you are attempting to convey. Assigning
    • one press-savvy person as a spokesperson for the campaign can reduce the chances of this happening, as can formulating guidelines for who can speak to the media and under what circumstances. A final point: Media work is often frustrating for people because the outcome can be disappointing. Stories regularly end up being biased or even inaccurate. This goes with the territory. Keep focused on the fact that media coverage can also unleash tremendous public support for a campaign. Try to look at it as an ongoing process of engagement, with room for regular assessments of benefits and drawbacks, and retooling of your strategy as needed. Tools to use: Tool 10, A Checklist for Media Interviews; Tool 11, The Basics of Press Releases, Kits and Conferences. Remembering other political actors In most countries, formal, modern political channels—usually those defined by law and generally understood as “the government”—run alongside less formal but equally or even more influential ones. Civil society advocates are one part of “informal” politics. Other key players can include traditional authorities, religious leaders and the private sector. All of these groups can make critical contributions to advocating for the MDGs, and coming 53 up with the resources and programmes to implement them. They may be influential during elections because they: • Chose to play an advocacy role • Hold great sway in their locality or industry, up to influencing how people vote • Provide resources to candidates • Are integral to the functioning of local development programmes Before you start your campaign, you should know who the informal political forces are and how they will likely influence the election (Tool 4, Stakeholder Analysis, can help). You can then make choices about whether or not to reach out to them or otherwise involve them in your campaign. As with politicians, voters and the media, you should define what you want to achieve, and what messages and activities will mobilize their support. Not everyone automatically supports the MDGs (or even is aware of them). There is a rationale for working with people who stand in the way of achieving the goals, due to a lack of knowledge or other justifications. Nonetheless, if you chose to form partnerships or engage in public advocacy with a variety of individuals and organizations, particularly during the volatility of an election campaign, you may want to target those with a proven track record or a public reputation to maintain.
    • Some may oppose basic international human rights standards or are involved in activities that blatantly contradict the MDGs—such as forced child labour or harmful traditional practices that discriminate against women. They can damage your campaign’s credibility, the capacity to advocate and the chances for political momentum around the goals. Campaign Tales Box 4.1 Recommendations—From Politicians to Advocates Development Education, a civil society group in Ireland that has engaged in MDG advocacy at the United Nations in New York, at the European Union, and with the governments of Ireland, the United Kingdom and Zambia, has put together recommendations on working with politicians, based in part on suggestions from Irish parliamentarians. They have been adapted as: • Don’t view politicians as the enemy. Lobby them directly, instead of through the media, which should be used to raise more general awareness. • If constituents raise an issue, you’ll have the ear of a politician. • Since the MDG agenda is very broad, try to focus on specific points. • Know what existing government plans say (or do not). • Keep the political context in mind—it determines how much leverage and interest 54 a politician will have. • Contact relevant people within parties or the parliament. Or lobby local politicians to raise your issue. • Approach politicians prepared with both sides of an argument. • Be ready to be challenged. • Take a cross-party approach; work across political divides. • Making a difference requires work and energy, and a sound strategy. Keep goals attainable. • Know what you are talking about—many politicians are generalists who know a little about a lot of topics. • Present information in plain language and provide supporting evidence. • Highlight feasible solutions that can be readily understood.
    • Campaign Tales Box 4.2 South Africa: A Challenge to Deliver on HIV Treatment In South Africa, the Treatment Action Campaign predates the MDGs, having started in 1998. It became an early example of highly effective advocacy around the issues now reflected in MDG 6, on HIV and AIDS, having transformed the perspectives of politicians and the general public about the critical issue of access to life-saving medications. TAC, as it is known, began with a 15-person protest in Cape Town and the death from AIDS of a close friend of one of the organizers. The protest demanded medical treatment for people with HIV and AIDS, surprising many passers-by who did not realize medicines were even available. Over a thousand signatures were collected and a full-fledged campaign began to emerge around the demand for access. Campaigners embarked on a series of actions—more protests, public presentations to Parliament, media coverage, community mobilization and networking. They stressed the need for awareness about treatment options and pushed for reducing mother-to-child transmission of HIV. After the campaign mounted a legal challenge in 2001, courts mandated that the Government provide drugs to all HIV-positive pregnant women in the public health care system. TAC continued its crusade to extend treatment and access to medicine to all people 55 with HIV. Campaign representatives routinely reached out to government officials, even when it openly opposed some of them. It took a combative stance through direct action events and legal action, but also offered policy makers research and rational arguments, and stressed the need to work in partnership. The campaign enlisted groups in other countries to enlarge its network of support. In Tokyo, 600 paper cranes, representing the 600 people dying each day of AIDS in South Africa, were handed over to the South African Embassy. In Amsterdam, 600 red tulips were given to the embassy; similar actions in London and Madrid offered shoes. Along with the concerted advocacy at home, this put international pressure on the Government. In 2003, it adopted an Operational Plan for Comprehensive Treatment and Care for HIV and AIDS. The campaign has noted several factors in its success. Consistent objectives and messages were followed throughout all activities. Personalized stories were used to portray the real face of HIV and AIDS, including that of campaign leader Zackie Achmat, who refused to take medicines despite his worsening health until universal access was granted. Creative campaign tactics and messages attracted and sustained the attention of the media. An inclusive array of partnerships, including with trade unions and religious leaders, was pursued throughout.
    • One challenge the campaign faced related to its use of civil disobedience. Although it was effective in its tactics and was operating in South Africa’s relatively permissive political environment, not all partners were willing to go along with actions they saw as confrontational and disruptive. Some ambivalence came as well from the general public. In the end, the campaign concluded that while different tactics can be justified, working through formal political and legal channels should generally be the starting point for advocacy. Box 4.3 Timor L’este: “I Can” Increase Women’s Political Participation Campaign Tales To support the calls of women in Timor L’este for greater parliamentary participation, the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) launched a campaign to coincide with the 2007 parliamentary elections. Dubbed “I Can,” it used posters of prominent women, a radio theme song on women’s rights and television public service announcements to stress the message that women are strong and knowledgeable, and play dynamic roles in public life. UNIFEM also helped convene a presidential debate on gender-based violence and women’s political participation and held workshops for the women’s branches of different parties that resulted in an agreement on enhanced support for women 56 politicians. Partnerships with the General Election Monitoring Coalition and a local NGO tracked women’s participation during the election. The voting produced a four percent boost in the number of women’s parliamentarians, to slightly over 29 percent. Timor L’este’s Parliament now has one of the highest rates of women parliamentarians in its region. Box 4.4 An EU Campaign Argues for Parity Campaign Tales The European Women’s Lobby Campaign geared up before the 2009 election of the European Parliament, pointing out that women are still seriously under-represented in the Parliament, and that this has a negative impact on policy-making. It prepared a lobbying kit for activists with an action strategy and model letters to national political parties and governments. The kit lays out arguments for parity democracy, including benefits for the European Union and political parties, and proposes specific measures to achieve parity. The campaign also features a signature drive on a pledge for equal representation, along with meetings with national politicians and parliamentarians and EU representatives. For more, see www.5050democracy.eu.
    • Campaign Tales Box 4.5 Collecting Voter Input: The All India People’s Manifesto For India’s 2009 national elections, a network of more than 3,000 rights action groups across 23 states has coalesced for the Wada Na Todo Abhiyan campaign. It aims to hold the government accountable to promises to end poverty and social exclusion, and live up to commitments made in the UN Millennium Declaration and national development goals. Starting in late 2008, the campaign kicked off local hearings in each of India’s 543 parliamentary constituencies, accompanied by media coverage in local and national media. Each hearing will produce 10 demands for governance and development, along with a women’s charter highlighting women’s specific concerns. These will be presented to existing members of Parliament and candidates contesting the election. Other charters will capture the priorities of excluded groups, such as the dalits and people with disabilities. All of these sources will feed into the All India People’s Manifesto, which activists plan to use to lobby state and national political parties. For more information see: www.wadanatodo.net. Box 4.6 Moving Past Political Clientelism to a (Genuinely) Pro- 57 Campaign Tales Poor Agenda Groups that are socially and economically excluded—including by gender, location, or around other distinctions such as race, caste or economic status—are most in need of rapid progress on the MDGs. Yet they also tend to be the most marginalized from political participation. They are often viewed simply as a source of votes during the election that is otherwise powerless and can be easily bought off or ignored after the voting concludes. Political cleavages and systems of “clientelism” that offer direct rewards to certain groups for their votes are deeply embedded in political practices in many countries. These patterns can be somewhat but not entirely linked to a country’s level of development and the amount of political competition. Very broadly speaking, when factors such as poverty, a lack of education, limited mobility and social fragmentation are in play, there is a tendency for people to grasp tangible benefits such as money and jobs over the seemingly more abstract programmes spelled out in party platforms—even if the latter stand to put in place mechanisms for the broader public good over the longer term. Politicians and parties naturally exploit these all too human fallibilities.
    • In Mexico, for example, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, launched the Pronasol poverty programme after winning the hotly contested 1989 election. Programme expenditures averaged 1.18 percent of gross domestic product per year, a huge amount. If this had been systematically targeted to the poorest Mexicans, it would have slashed poverty by about a third, according to World Bank estimates. Instead, the unstated objective of the programme was to shore up the party’s political base. While all municipalities in Mexico received at least some Pronasol funds, up to 35 percent in some years ended up in the pockets of individuals and selected organized groups. Spending on “private” benefits was highest in communities at a middle level of development with no political competition—in other words, where the PRI would get the greatest return on its investment. Strategically, the programme also spent on public goods and services, hoping to extend its reach beyond core constituents. This example illustrates why it is important to probe beneath the surface during an MDG campaign tied to an election, and ask a lot of questions about the motivations of both voters and politicians. Around the world, there are countries with large percentages of the population living in poverty. Rarely do people come together en masse and mobilize to end poverty as a common, central issue. Neoliberal, market- based economic policy regimes have further discouraged this possibility by directing people to look to the market for solutions, without questioning who has access and why and how. If poorer people were to unite around a common agenda, such as the 58 one in the MDGs, there is a good chance they could become a political force powerful enough to forge entirely new policy directions, including to significantly accelerate progress in attaining the goals. In principle, an MDG election campaign that is true to the agenda of the goals should draw on a cross-section of support from people who face different forms of exclusion. This may require concerted voter education initiatives to explain why it is possible and desirable to break from patron-client relationships in politics, and how people can become part of pushing for broader public agendas that include and benefit them. Holding open dialogues in communities or forming coalitions may be key in starting to articulate joint objectives across different groups.
    • Campaign Tales Box 4.7 The United States: Setting New Directions on Climate Change Midway through the 2008 US presidential elections, former US Vice President Al Gore, a noted environmental activist, announced the three-year “We” campaign. Campaign advocacy objectives include a national carbon emission cap and the ratification of a new global pact on climate change within three years. As the election geared up, the campaign started using advertisements and online organizing to raise awareness among voters about how growing awareness of global climate change has yet to translate into national policy changes. Some of the ads bridged political divides by enlisting candidates from the two major parties to humorously acknowledge differences on many issues, but common support for action on climate change. Two days after the election in November, the campaign was prepared with concrete proposals for the new federal administration. It called for a focus on energy efficiency and renewable resources, and the creation of a unified US power grid. A series of new advertisements posed the question: “Now what?” The ads challenged Americans to take advantage of an historic opportunity to boost the economy, create jobs, use clean energy and solve the climate crisis. Through television commercials, magazine ads and online social networks, the 59 campaign hopes to bring 10 million volunteers into its fold. They will spread the campaign messages outward by convincing people they know and members of their communities that climate change is a solvable problem that should be on the political agenda. Box 4.8 Nepal: Outreach Through Inspirational Street Performances Campaign Tales A group of young artists, the Sarwanam Theatre Group, fanned out to remote areas of Nepal in 2007 and 2008 before the Constituent Assembly elections. In street performances, they acted out inspirational tales of women upholding their rights and overcoming social barriers linked to gender. The plays were so closely tied to reality that one woman audience member said, “For a moment, I thought it is very much my story.” Activists from the NGO Women for Human Rights and staff from the UN Population Fund held workshops after the performances to underscore the importance of women participating in peace processes like the one now taking place in Nepal. They also informed women about the election and encouraged them to get involved.
    • © Björn Söderqvist © UNFPA / Manoj Sah
    • Chapter V After the Election: Maintaining Momentum S o you’ve run a successful MDG advocacy campaign during an election. You’ve helped bring voters to the polls, persuade politicians to make commitments in their platforms or elsewhere, expand media coverage and in general raise the profile of the MDGs as an issue for public political discourse. What happens then? This chapter looks at that question, starting with an exploration of the reasons why you may not want to disband your campaign headquarters after the polls close and return home. At least, not entirely. Useful additional tools at the end of this guide: Tool 12, Decoding Public Policies; Tool 13, Briefly, On the Budget. Onward and forward
    • Many past campaigns have found that definitive, lasting changes require sustained advocacy, at times over many years. Added to that: The kinds of changes implied by the MDGs depend on large-scale, ongoing commitments followed by actions. And elections, while an important piece, are more about saying things than doing them. You might find a variety of reasons for maintaining the momentum of campaign advocacy after the election is over, albeit retooled for the post-election phase. Another approach might be to plan and link events across multiple elections, perhaps at the local and national levels. You might draw connections between elections and other political processes, such as budget reviews, or even international events such as trade talks or UN social development meetings. Regardless of what you do, continued activities can build on what you have already accomplished and leverage your resources. That last means you invest in advocacy entry points that you think will bring the greatest return, including by convincing other people, who may or may not be your immediate partners, to take action. When they do so, the impacts spread out in a ripple effect far beyond what you could accomplish solely within the scope of your campaign. For an example of laying a foundation for further advocacy, see Box 5.1. Taking time for evaluation 62 If you decide to continue your campaign, it might be worth taking time to regroup and evaluate just after the election ends. Or, if you have already built some form of monitoring or evaluation into your campaign, you can take stock of the results. It can be easy to bypass these elements in the rush of a campaign, but they can be useful in revealing what’s working or not, and how you may need to adjust your strategy or tactics. Other considerations may include a requirement to evaluate and report on results if you have received grant money for your campaign. Sharing results with supporters at large can be a way of affirming the credibility of the campaign and demonstrating that collectively you have made a difference, which will likely inspire renewed enthusiasm in the future. Many resources are available on monitoring and evaluation, so we will share only some of the highlights here. In short, monitoring takes place during an activity or campaign. It tracks whether or not activities are being carried out and funds spent according to the original campaign plan. Evaluation can be used during or after a campaign. It focuses on the broader question of whether or not a campaign is achieving its strategic objectives and making an impact. Monitoring and evaluation can be stymied by the fact that measuring social and political change is very complicated. It can be difficult to trace at exactly what point activity X had an impact on the behaviour of the general public related to issue Y, for example. Sound
    • monitoring and evaluation exercises attempt to bridge this gap through the choice of appropriate indicators to link activities and impacts, and the use of reliable data. An important general point to keep in mind is that the activities of a campaign itself cannot be thought of as its achievements. This is an obvious but common mistake. You may produce 1,000 brochures, but have people read them and responded to them? If so, how, and how do you know this? Similarly, the impact of an MDG advocacy campaign must be measured in the concrete ways it contributes to realizing the goals. Examples might include new programmes and policies, revised legislation, budget increases and wider access to public services. Ultimately, impacts should be measured by the MDG indicators, as in the percentage of people below the poverty line and the under-five mortality rate. If you don’t have the resources to do a full-fledged, formal evaluation for your campaign, and don’t face any donor requirements to conduct one, try to think creatively. Measuring the impacts of your activities can also take place in relatively simple ways on a daily basis. What kind of feedback have you received about your campaign? Has media coverage produced letters to the editor? Has a workshop with a parliamentary committee led to requests for similar briefings from other committees? Do your rallies keep growing in size? Are new groups contacting you to get involved? As a general good practice, campaign evaluations should draw on different sources of qualitative and quantitative data—these might include public records, surveys of target audiences, interviews, notes summarizing campaign activities, feedback forms from participants in campaign events, etc. Using two or more sources for the same measurement 63 can allow you to compare or crosscheck the results, and identify potential contradictions. The true measure of election promises After an election, if your campaign continues, another important form of monitoring and evaluation—but externally oriented this time—involves the MDG-related commitments made by candidates who have won their races, and possibly key constituents as well. All political commitments, no matter how well intentioned, realize their full value only through translation into actual policies, laws, programmes and resources that reach people and help them improve their lives. For the MDGs, that is the only way that the goals can become meaningful. During elections, politicians tend to overreach. Their job, after all, is to collect enough votes, which may entail making many promises to many people. The job of a campaign is to persuade them to make those promises, and then to hold them politically accountable for following up. This has to be done recognizing that politics is almost never a linear process, where a promise quickly produces a powerful, meaningful action—although this does happen. More commonly, many small steps and diversions and trade-offs are required. The point is: persistent pressure and engagement go far in making sure that the overall movement is forward and that MDG issues remain prominent on political agendas.
    • An initial action is to document political promises that have been made. Make a list, by issue or MDG, and by candidate. You can note where the politician made the commitment and how much deniability is attached. An agreement made in a private meeting can be much more easily dismissed than one made at a campaign rally and documented by the media. With this information in hand, you can explore different options for follow up. Some common techniques include policy and budget monitoring. See Box 5.2 for an example. If commitments are translated into laws, but these are not implemented, civil litigation may be appropriate in some countries. Ongoing media outreach can help spur public interest, along with rallies and demonstrations. Workshops, special conferences and reports can continue the process of education and mobilization. See Box 5.3 for a case of how different strategies can complement each other. Citizen report cards are an increasingly common mechanism to encourage government accountability, especially for local communities to measure the quality and quantity of public services. They employ data and feedback from service users, as well as dialogues between users and providers, to improve services and foster a sense of community empowerment. If you have formed a coalition during the campaign, you may opt to keep it going. Or to form a new network geared specifically to post-election work. Some of these adjustments should be based on a reassessment of your target audiences and the messages you want to send to them. These will continue to be about the MDGs, in general, but reframed for particular post-election objectives. You might also need to explore new partnerships, such 64 as with private sector associations on economic and employment issues, for example. Or with groups with legal expertise to work on legislative proposals. Tools to use: Tool 12, Decoding Public Policies; Tool 13, Briefly, On the Budget.
    • Campaign Tales Box 5.1 Five Million People Say NO to Violence against Women By the end of 2008, UNIFEM’s year-old Say NO to Violence against Women campaign had collected 5 million signatures from people around the world. They endorsed a straightforward message: taking action to end a pervasive phenomenon that destroys women’s lives needs to be a top priority for governments. Signatories included 17 Ibero-American heads of state, high-ranking government officials from 42 African countries, 600 parliamentarians globally, and the US Secretary of State, in addition to movie stars, religious leaders and millions of ordinary people. The campaign began on an Internet site, using online tools such as blogging and social networking. Signatories started online dialogues about violence against women and encouraged other people to sign, spreading interest among new audiences. Over 125,000 signatures came from China, where one of the largest Internet service providers set up a special Chinese language site. Outside the Internet, the campaign spread through more conventional means, such as signature collection drives organized by civil society. In Colombia, 160 volunteers gathered over 21,000 signatures at the largest-ever musical festival in Latin America. Schoolboys sought signatures in Thailand; university students in Fiji went to their classrooms, theatres and government offices to share information and ask people to sign on. In Tanzania, which contributed 450,000 signatures, an agreement with a 65 mobile phone company allowed the free transmission of text message signatures. More than 200 organizations have now become campaign partners, including private sector companies such as the cosmetics giant Avon. Along with the signatories, they form a platform for continued advocacy around the groundswell of commitment to ending violence against women. In Tanzania, where all the members of Tanzania’s National Assembly signed on to the campaign, the Ministry of Community Development Gender and Children has launched a multi-sectoral national committee to review the national action plan on violence against women. Police officers are being trained to better support victims and improve the implementation of laws. As the Government of Australia signed on to the campaign, its representatives announced Australia’s accession to the Optional Protocol of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
    • Box 5.2 Mexico: Transforming the “Language of Power” Campaign Tales While it was not tied to an election, an experience in Mexico provides a good illustration of the power of budget analysis in pursuing the MDGs. Researchers and civil society activists engaged with a political process—the drafting and passage of the national budget—to secure increased funding for maternal health. Since 1990, there had been no concerted progress in reducing maternal mortality rates, despite the commitment of the Mexican Government to do so under MDG 5. Starting in 2002, Fundar, a group with expertise in budgets, joined a broad coalition of experts and advocates on reproductive health to conduct a campaign centred on research and budget analysis. Together, they prepared a comprehensive stocktaking report chronicling health care spending patterns. Accessible summaries were disseminated through the media and in meetings with politicians and officials. The campaign used what Fundar Executive Director Helena Hofbauer calls the “language of power”—numbers, particularly those that the Government itself produces. For example, in calculating the costs of giving birth in Oaxaca, a state with a particularly high rate of maternal mortality, the report demonstrated that this can cost families with incomes of less than 2,000 pesos an unmanageable 6,145 pesos. It found that overall spending on health care infrastructure had sharply declined, even as spending on defense infrastructure had increased. The campaign’s timing 66 was opportune, as it followed the passage of a 2003 law improving public access to official information. In meetings with officials within the Ministry of Health, campaign representatives delivered the message that they were there to help make an argument to Congress to increase funds, and expand services and infrastructure. Subsequently, for the first time, decentralized health funds at the state level were earmarked for women’s reproductive health. The Ministry of Health agreed to extend coverage of common maternal complications into the public health programme for uninsured people. Box 5.3 The Philippines: Improving Accountability Campaign Tales When Social Watch Philippines, a social development advocacy network that is part of a global coalition, first decided to embark on an MDG advocacy campaign, members expressed scepticism. They questioned the scope of the goals. Why only reduce poverty by half? they asked. Won’t asset allocation and power relations also need to be addressed?
    • But through discussion it also became apparent that the MDGs are a mechanism to engage directly with the Government on promises it had officially already made. Different MDG issues would appeal to an array of different constituencies, and the goals link to core Social Watch concerns, including social marginalization, the environment, debt and trade. The Social Watch campaign embarked on a strategy of setting and advocating more ambitious national targets than those associated with the international MDGs. It also disaggregated data to reflect sub-national disparities—nationally, the Philippines will probably meet the poverty targets, for example, but 39 out of 70 provinces will likely fall short. A specially designed Quality of Life Index was created to track sub- national poverty and people’s capabilities to participate in development. This is now being used to monitor progress on the local level and to push for more national attention to poor regions and provinces. Another initiative has been to monitor government spending priorities in line with the MDGs. Using public information and simplifying technical terms, Social Watch Philippines has issued and campaigned for alternative national budgets. In 2007 and again in 2008, this resulted in substantial increases in funding for education and social services. The United Nations has also been active in spearheading MDG initiatives in the Philippines, partnering closely with government agencies and civil society 67 organizations. UNDP encouraged the creation of the Special Committee on the MDGs in the Lower House of the legislature. This has helped bring legislators into national debates about development policy, traditionally the province of the executive branch. The committee has backed the passage of supportive laws and budgets, and conducted periodic reviews of the MDG policy agenda. Legislative actions are grouped in 12 policy areas, including agro-industrial development, reproductive health, good governance and human security. UNDP has encouraged as well a project called Citizens’ Actions for Local Leadership to Achieve the MDGs in 2015, or CALL 2015. It established integrity circles in five cities, comprising respected men and women whose opinions would enjoy high credibility in the push for local reforms. The circles have helped channel citizen feedback on local efforts to achieve the MDGs, opening the door to greater accountability and transparency in local governance, and ongoing monitoring. Different cities have adopted their own approaches, such as a good governance resolution allowing integrity circle members to observe city council proceedings, and a text message system for citizens to report health care concerns and needs. A local university has developed a survey system to measure the level of public service delivery; it is now incorporated in the governance curriculum.
    • © UNFPA / Sagar Shrestha © UNFPA / Robel Mockonen
    • Chapter VI Political Campaigns: Bringing the MDGs on Board T his final chapter is geared primarily towards political candidates and parties who are thinking about or already committed to including the MDGs in their campaigns for election. It highlights the value of the MDGs to candidates and parties, before and after election day. There is general guidance on positioning your candidacy, and where and how to use the goals. The chapter may also be helpful for civil society advocates interested in understanding how politicians might approach the goals. For their part, candidates who have skipped to this point in the book may want to refer to previous chapters for insights on topics common to both groups, such as issue selection and voter analysis. Useful additional tools at the end of this guide: Tool 1, Tracking Patterns in Political Decision-Making; Tool 2, Selecting Issues with Political Momentum; Tool 4, Stakeholder Analysis; Tool 5, More on Messages; Tool 7, Through a Gender Lens; Tool 10, A Checklist for Media Interviews; Tool 11, The Basics of Press Releases, Kits and Conferences; Tool 12, Decoding Public Policies; Tool 13, Briefly, On the Budget.
    • Will your constituents care about the MDGs? If you have read other parts of this book, by now you’ll realize that the answer to this question is an emphatic “yes.” The MDGs are bread-and-butter issues that have mass appeal. In developing countries, the goals touch very directly on the lives of many voters. They can relate to the potential of the MDGs to improve both human development and the quality of governance, since the goals require governments and politicians to be accountable for service delivery and other actions. In developed countries and among the more well-off segments of developing countries, the goals can evoke empathy and a sense of fair play, and carry the weight of moral responsibility to assist the process of human development. In all countries, the MDGs can be viewed through a human rights lens, as the basic entitlements of all people. They can be seen as an issue of collective prosperity and security, since reducing disparities and fulfilling basic human needs, whether globally or nationally, fosters more peaceful and healthy societies, and more robust economies. A number of Asian countries, for example, can now look at their sustained investments in education as a major reason for rapid economic progress. 70 Potential benefits: legitimacy and outreach Election campaigns can be crowded and competitive—with candidates and parties, with issues, and with the demands of voters. In the political to and fro, the MDGs offer a readymade platform to connect with constituents, and define concrete political and policy goals. Using them as part of your campaign can signify your commitment to development progress, as well as your agreement to be held accountable for delivering on measurable targets to the people who put you in office. In the eyes of voters, this may lend political momentum to your campaign and increase your legitimacy as a party or politician who understands the need to be responsive to public concerns. If you are already personally committed to the goals, knowing the good they can bring to your country, you can use your campaign to heighten public awareness on them as critical development challenges and offer options for addressing them. Nationally, the goals can be deployed to urge a comprehensive approach to development that touches all sectors and parts of the population. Locally, by shining a light on the specific needs of the people there, they can provide candidates with an argument to devote resources to local solutions. Candidates for local office, who are on the frontlines of delivering development in many countries, can use the goals to put pressure on national officials, including those in their own parties, and articulate citizens’ concerns from the ground up.
    • The MDGs can also be an avenue for reaching new constituents, including excluded groups, who tend to have the worst access to economic opportunity and basic services. In combination, the goals can serve as a platform for rallying the joint efforts of people already active on individual goals. They can help forge new political alliances by tapping into commonalities among youth and women’s groups, religious organizations, trade unions, the private sector, NGO activists, journalists and so on. Embracing the MDGs demonstrates that you understand the international commitments your country has already made, as well as their translation into national policies and programmes. This may be important in engaging with diplomatic and political representatives from other countries, international civil society groups and multilateral organizations such as the UN that are mandated to support efforts to achieve the goals. What is your track record? If you adopt the MDGs as part of your campaign, you should look for ways to bolster your case as a politician or party well-positioned to help accomplish them. As a preliminary exercise, consider the following questions: • If you are running for re-election, can you build on past performance in delivering MDG- related services to your constituencies? • If you are a new candidate, do your past experiences give you special expertise? A medical professional, for example, may understand the strengths and weaknesses of a health care 71 system from the inside out. • Are you personally passionate about one or more of the goals? Do they resonate with your personal experiences—suffering gender discrimination, for instance? You may be able to speak with particular eloquence and insight on these issues. • What is your party’s record and position on MDG issues, and how do these affect you? Try to define both the positives and negatives, as they can both be used for political advantage. Knowing about shortfalls in the record of your party, for example, can allow you to anticipate negative publicity and be prepared in advance to respond. • How will all this information play with different categories of voters—those likely to vote for you, those who can be persuaded to vote for you, and those who will likely vote for the opposition? What can you say that will consolidate support among those who are likely to vote for you? What will appeal to those who might be persuaded? Defining your own case for office also entails assessing the opposition: • What is your opponent’s record on the MDGs? You may need to focus on patterns in what the person says or does, rather than looking for one decisive act. If they have already been in office, sources of information can be speeches, media interviews and voting records. • How does the opposition’s record compare to yours? • How do you compare with your opponent in terms of promises being made?
    • Keep in mind that the focus of opposition research does not need to be strictly negative or about demolishing the other person’s campaign. You can maintain a positive focus on whose skills and qualities can contribute most to the MDGs as a social good. While elections are about competing, in the end, the goals will require cooperative efforts, including across political and party lines. How you can use the MDGs in your campaign Political candidates and parties have a number of ways to deliver MDG campaign messages. These include: • Party platforms • Speeches • Campaign rallies/community events • Campaign literature • Interaction with the media (print, television, radio) • Web sites • Email list serves • Online forums 72 • Text messages • Meetings with constituents • Voter outreach drives • Endorsements • Intra-party committees Choices about which of these to use should be based on how well different methods reach your targeted voters, and at what costs in time, money and campaign staffing. Your messages should be consistent across them, but the format will need to vary. Bold, simple, “sound bite” messages will likely work best for web ads or media interviews; more complicated policy recommendations and political platform commitments will be more appropriate for small meetings with constituents or within a party. See Box 6.1 on changes in the channels of communication during elections. To bring the MDGs into your campaign, you can use the original global goals, targets and indicators as a starting point. Beyond that, you should have an understanding of constituent needs and demands, development priorities in your country or locality, current political and economic trends, and any other relevant factors that may help or hinder the achievement of the goals. This information may lead you to reword or adapt the goals. A common scenario
    • in countries with rapidly growing economies, for example, has been to set more ambitious targets and objectives, although the current global economic crisis may force downward revisions. See Box 6.2 for an example of adopting a special MDG on governance. In making campaign promises, you should also be aware of what it will be feasible for you to do, should you be elected. On what would you be willing to answer to constituents? Consider breaking down longer term goals into achievable short-term objectives. If they already have strong buy-in from constituents, you will have a foundation of support in place. Other allies could be MDG advocates from civil society, religious groups, the private sector, and so on. A final point: achieving each MDG has many implications—be prepared to answer a range of questions, like: • Who will this benefit? • Who is going to lose out? • How much will it cost? • Is it feasible? How? • Why should we do it? • Who else supports this idea? • Isn’t this just another international agreement? 73 • Don’t we already have similar objectives in national plans? • Are the MDGs consistent with national/cultural/religious norms? • Why should we be concerned about global problems when we have enough of our own here at home? How you can use the MDGs once in office If commitments to achieving the MDGs help you successfully contest an election, you are then accountable for implementation. Working within the government, you may have options such as: • Development planning: The MDGs and their targets and indicators are designed to fit easily into national and/or local development plans. They indicate the objectives; the plans then spell out how to achieve them. • Budgets: Public revenues and expenditures can be connected to the MDGs through budget analysis that measures whether or not current budgets are in line with achieving the goals. The MDGs can also be used to set targets for spending, based on what is required to accomplish them.
    • • Public outreach: The MDGs are an avenue for continued communication and outreach with civil society groups, constituents and the general public. You could hold a public MDG forum to collect feedback on policy proposals, for instance. Or issue progress reports on the actions you are taking. • Being an active voice: Since a large part of the MDGs involves mobilizing people to work together to achieve them, you can actively promote them in different forums—such as during speeches on the floor of the legislature. Or in meetings with other branches of government. In developed countries, the goals can be a rallying point for affirming your interest in international engagement and solving problems that concern constituents or advocates, even if they are not directly affected. They can be a way to educate people about international development and the importance of, for example, using tax money for assistance programmes. • Maintaining transparency and accountability: The MDGs offer concrete objectives that can be measured. You can use them to demonstrate the progress you are making, acknowledge what needs to be improved, and show your willingness to transform campaign promises into the delivery of actual improvements in constituents’ lives. • Negotiations with international development donors: The MDGs have become a common global language in the international development field. Employing them in discussions with international donors about potential development assistance shows that you have similar reference points and agendas. 74
    • Campaign Tales Box 6.1 The Changing Nature of Election Campaign Communication New technology, where it is widely available, is encouraging innovative practices in election advocacy and campaigning. The Internet, in particular, fosters the inexpensive, mass distribution of information; two-way communication between voters and candidates; and the ability to rapidly respond to new developments. US presidential candidate Barack Obama used online resources in 2008 to raise an unprecedented amount of campaign donations, and mobilize and connect grass- roots activists who helped ensure his victory. In the Republic of Korea, a change in the election law paved the way for parties in 2006 to advertise candidates and election pledges on the Internet, after a surprise upset in the 2002 presidential election. It was attributed in part to online campaigning by supporters of the candidate Roh Moo-hyun, the former human rights lawyer who won. Internet connection rates remain low in many developing countries, however, implying that online activities will reach only small sections of the population. Research on the 2004 Sri Lanka elections found that websites were used by all major political players, but primarily to sway international opinion, including among members of the Sri Lankan diaspora. 75 Websites were also a feature in the 2008 election in Nepal, but more conventional avenues for communication had an even larger impact. Nepal’s political culture has traditionally relied on door-to-door campaigning. This time, perhaps due to fears of violence, candidates turned for the first time to prominent advertisements in newspapers and on radio and television. Mobile phones, a cheaper and more widely accessible technology than the Internet, have opened other new avenues for political communication. In Kenya, during the run-up to the 2007 election, trained community volunteers used mobile phones to film interviews about the poll with people in outlying areas. The videos were uploaded to the website of Media Focus on Africa. Kenyans also now have a system to send text messages to their Member of Parliament, most frequently to register complaints about infrastructure, road quality and reliable sources of water. In Malaysia, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has acknowledged that his party should not have overlooked text messaging as a communications tool in the 2008 elections. The opposition, which skillfully used it, made significant gains in Parliament.
    • Box 6.2 Mongolia: A Governance MDG Campaign Tales In 2005, Mongolia adopted a ninth MDG on human rights, democratic governance and the prevention of corruption. Parliament in 2008 approved a set of indicators to measure progress. They include the evaluation of the conformity of Mongolian laws with international human rights treaties and the number of civil society organizations participating in the development of the state budget. A National Plan of Action to Consolidate Democracy in Mongolia has been put in place. Carrying this initiative forward involves national and international partners working to boost capacities to collect statistics to monitor progress and to translate MDG 9 into local policies and practices. An MDG 9 advocacy campaign is raising awareness among women and the poor around the critical need for good governance, since they suffer most from poor governance. One NGO initiative entails working with community members to monitor the delivery of public services such as garbage collection. 76
    • A Toolkit for Action The following pages present the tools noted in the previous chapters: Tool 1: Tracking Patterns in Political Decision-Making Tool 2: Selecting Issues with Political Momentum Tool 3: Working Together: Making Participation Meaningful Tool 4: Stakeholder Analysis Tool 5: More on Messages Tool 6: Options for Campaign Actions Tool 7: Through a Gender Lens Tool 8: Making Your Case: Quantitative and Qualitative Evidence Tool 9: Tips for Meeting with Candidates Tool 10: A Checklist for Media Interviews Tool 11: The Basics of Press Releases, Kits and Conferences Tool 12: Decoding Public Policies Tool 13: Briefly, On the Budget
    • Tool 1: Tracking Patterns in Political Decision-Making Before election advocacy begins, it is useful to analyse past political decision-making on MDG issues. This may or may not indicate future trends, depending on the political factors in play, but it can reveal gaps in policies and political commitments. These may need to be taken up in focused advocacy, and can inform choices about campaign messages and actions. Start by drawing a simple chart for the past 10 years: 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 In each year, list all MDG-relevant events. These can include government initiatives, such as policies and public programmes, and civil society actions, such as campaigns. They can encompass social, political and economic trends, such as a steep rise in unemployment or an influx of refugees. In a second chart, narrow in on activities by the current government, if it has been in power 78 for less than 10 years. Are there noticeable similarities and differences? A third chart can make projections for the next two years—or less or more depending on the plans for your campaign. Try to categorize: What is likely to happen to expedite MDG-related progress? What could happen through targeted advocacy? What is desirable but unlikely to happen? What actions on your part might encourage other people to take action? Tool 2: Selecting Issues with Political Momentum Political momentum around the MDGs can come from parties and candidates. Their incentives might be their political philosophy, personal beliefs, and/or pressure from constituents and the imperative of staying in office. Political momentum also stems from voters and advocates when they expect the government to perform certain functions such as public service delivery. They may also have political opinions and the desire to participate in decisions that shape their lives. This tool provides a rough gauge of the degree of political momentum. On the graph, chose an issue and try to plot where it falls on the bottom axis for political interest, and the left axis for public interest (voters and advocates). Political interest is greater towards the right; public interest is higher towards the top.
    • Make these assessments based on available evidence. For political interest, that would include the past passage of supportive laws and policies, public statements, references in party platforms, or even, for individual politicians and candidates, a history of commitment to the issue outside the political arena. For public interest, is the issue something that people commonly talk about? Does it appear in the media or in public opinion polls? Public Interest Political Interest The issues with the greatest political momentum will fall in the upper right hand corner, supported by both public and political interest. In political systems where the voice of constituents is important, high public interest will persuade politicians to listen, even if they are not already interested. Issues with low public and political interest may require concerted campaigns to educate people and make the case for why they are important. Look at these issues carefully for feasibility and to justify their selection over other subjects 79 that may be equally important and have more immediate traction. Progress on subjects with greater momentum sometimes can open the door later on for work on concerns that are less visible. Tool 3: Working Together: Making Participation Meaningful If you chose to work in a coalition for your campaign, or even in more informal partnership arrangements, you can reap many benefits from the active participation of different people and groups—such as the sharing of fresh ideas and the mobilization of new constituencies. Some tips for managing effective participation include: • Chose leaders who can articulate a vision and rally the troops, but don’t see themselves mainly as the chief enforcers of their own points of view. • Engage partners in needs assessments and planning exercises (after that, make sure inputs are reflected in plans and strategies).
    • • Regularly and publicly demonstrate that diverse perspectives are valued—no one knows everything or can understand an issue from every angle. • Make building trust and maintaining open lines of communication a priority, even when this feels time consuming (you’ll save time that’s lost when people feel unenthusiastic or unsure about what they are doing). • Conduct interactive dialogues based on open questions; try to have them be as much about listening to others as talking yourself. • Be clear about people’s roles—not everyone has to participate in everything (and insisting on blanket participation can lead to grumbling about wasted time). • Use small groups or committees to focus on particular issues; they can then report back to the larger coalition. • Bring together technical expertise and real-world experiences to identify challenges that can otherwise be missed—achieving the MDGs will require both forms of knowledge. Tool 4: Stakeholder Analysis Stakeholder analysis helps campaigns identify both potential partners and target audiences for campaign messages. It is a process of learning about the people you hope to reach— rather than making assumptions that may or may not be true (these mistakes are common 80 hindrances to effective campaigning). As a starting point, map all the groups that will participate in the election. These might include: • Election officials • Politicians and candidates, from ruling and opposition parties • Political parties • Ministry officials involved in conducting the elections (such as from the Interior Ministry) • Ministry officials engaged with social development issues • Judicial officials • The police and security forces • Media • Civil society groups • Private sector • International organizations • Academic institutes • Traditional authorities/religious institutions
    • Determining levels of influence and support The next step is to assess how stakeholders view and affect an issue—such as one of the MDGs. Construct a chart that lists all relevant stakeholders, their interest in a particular campaign issue, the importance of the issue to them, their current level of agreement with you on the issue, and the influence they have in taking action. The chart might look like this: Stakeholders Their particular The importance The level of their The level of their interest in a of the issue agreement with influence over campaign issue to them (low, you on the issue the issue (low, medium or high) (low, medium or medium or high) high) Group A Group B Group C, etc. Source: Cafod et al . The first two categories will give you a sense of what motivates different groups. The last two categories should reveal potential campaign partners and target audiences. 81 Who is a partner? Who is a target audience? Once you have completed the list of stakeholders and their characteristics, create another chart that compares their level of influence with their level of agreement with you. It might look like: Level of influence over policy High A B C Medium D E F Low G H I Level of agreement with your Low Medium High views Source: Cafod et al . Look again at each stakeholder and clarify their level of influence and agreement with you, and then assign them to a box. Stakeholders in the far right column (C, F and I) are potential partners, given their strong level of influence and agreement. You might be able to enlist them in participating in your campaign.
    • Those in squares A and B are less in agreement, but may be worth targeted advocacy because of their level of influence. They would become target audiences for campaign messages crafted to educate them, or persuade them to adopt a new view and then act on it. Stakeholders with low influence and agreement would normally be low priority or require a special rationale for campaign engagement, since they would require an investment in resources that would likely yield a limited return. Tool 5: More on Messages The following tools can aid campaign message development. They start with understanding what people think, tailoring messages accordingly and testing them before the campaign begins. Mapping perceptions A tool called a perception box can help compare what you think about an issue with what audiences targeted by the campaign think. This information should feed into the crafting of campaign messages as you consider how to persuade audiences to adopt a new point of view or take an action. 82 Create a box like the one below. Write down as many items as you can in each square. What you think about an issue What your target audience thinks about the issue What your target audience says about your What you say about your target audience’s approach to the issue approach to the issue
    • The completed box should reveal commonalities and differences. Campaign messages should build on the former and try to bridge the latter. The same technique can be used for partnerships and coalition building to understand how different collaborators can combine their strengths and downplay weaknesses. Be connected and positive Some of the most effective campaign messages connect to what people already know or believe, but also convince them to carry that belief a bit further. For example, not many people would dispute that poverty should be reduced, but it can seem like a large, difficult problem that may be solved by someone else at some point in the future. The Millennium Campaign’s slogan “End Poverty by 2015: Make it happen” gives a fresh take by including the endpoint for the MDGs—implying that the time for action is now. The message is also inclusive and positive, two other strengths. “Make it happen” suggests that everyone has something to contribute and stresses that poverty is a solvable problem if we work together. At times, people are tempted to deliver negative messages that highlight how dire a situation is, thinking that this will galvanize people into action. It is important to identify serious development problems, but emphasizing this angle alone does not always make for the most effective campaigning. If you go too far in underscoring negativities, people start to think the issue is too large and hopeless; their responsiveness will dwindle as a result. 83 Always consider ways to tailor messages to local contexts, including through cultural references, colloquial expressions, appropriate languages, humour, rhymes or catchy phrases, and stories and popular songs. You may want to refer to respected people or institutions, or appeal to children to inform adults. Being locally specific will help people feel more comfortable with what you are trying to say and increase the likelihood that they will respond to it. Using a technique called triangle analysis can help you further identify and fine-tune campaign objectives and messages. Draw a triangle with three sides: culture, structure and content.
    • Culture Content Structure Each side of the triangle represents a facet of social, political and economic relations. Content refers to instruments such as laws, policies and budgets. Structure encompasses institutions, state and non-state, that implement laws and policies. Culture covers the values and behaviours that people draw from different sources, including religion, social class, traditional practices, and so on, and use to interpret issues and relationships. 84 Choosing a subject—one of the MDG topics, for example—and listing all the elements in each category can reveal how the different parts of the framework may be interacting, and what is missing. This can clarify what you need to do during your campaign and help target your messages. You can also use triangle analysis to come up with specific policy proposals for candidates or to understand what messages might have broad public appeal. Testing, testing… Before your campaign begins, you should also think about testing your messages. If you have the resources, this can be done with sophisticated focus group and market survey techniques. A simpler and possibly more accessible approach for candidates and advocates is to share the messages with people you know and ask for honest feedback. Preferably, they are people like your target audience. If you intend to reach a general audience, ask people with little or no knowledge about social development and the MDGs—perhaps even friends and family members. Do your mother and father know what you are saying? Do your children? Ask people: • Do you understand what the message means? Please summarize it for me. • What is your first impulse, feeling or thought?
    • • Are you convinced that the message is true? If not, what would convince you? • Do you think something can be done to respond to the message? • What would you personally be willing to do? Watch body language and closely listen to what your message testers say in response. If you sense confusion or hesitancy, try to pinpoint why and consider retooling for greater clarity or appeal. Tool 6: Options for Campaign Actions The options for campaign actions are numerous, limited mainly by your resources, your creativity and your assessment of different political considerations that can influence your advocacy strategy during an election. The following list offers some sample ideas from the Millennium Campaign: Activities highlighting the achievement of individual MDGs • Food distribution • Distribution of free improved seeds, fertilizers • Donation of used-books or stationary 85 • Community schools built or reconstructed • Blood donation camps • Basic sanitation facilities improved • Mosquito nets distributed • Free medical check-up camps • Tree planting • Public spaces built or maintained • Car-free day • Waste recycling • Elimination of plastic bags General education/mass communication • Public speeches • Letters of opposition or support
    • • Slogans, caricatures, symbols • Displays • Caravans • Banners, posters • Leaflets, books • Newspapers and journals • Radio, television • Performances of plays and music • Sky-writing and earth-writing • MDG quizzes, debates, poster/essay competitions • Issue-based MDG rally • Web/text message actions Mass action/popular mobilization/dissent • Public speech as part of a mobilization activity • Displays of flags and symbolic colours 86 • Wearing of symbols • Delivering symbolic objects • Humorous skits and pranks • Marches • Parades • Religious processions • Teach-ins • Sit-ins • Stand-ins • Pray-ins • Group or mass petitions • Group lobbying • Delegations to the government • Mock awards for worst MDG performances
    • • Overloading of facilities by emails/faxes/letters • Filing right-to-information letters and petitions • Protest disrobing, self-exposure to the elements • Fasting of individuals or groups to protest inaction Tool 7: Through a Gender Lens Gender equality is central to achieving all the MDGs—significant improvements in health, education, the environment and pro-poor development will not take place without women’s full participation. The third MDG also singles out gender equality and women’s empowerment as a specific goal, with targets and indicators related to education, employment and participation in parliament. As a brief background on political participation, women’s presence in political systems is growing around the world, but remains limited, at just over 18 percent of legislators, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Elections still pose formidable barriers to women candidates who may have fewer political skills, greater care-giving responsibilities, and less of a claim to (mostly male) incumbency, which favours re-election. Women voters face obstacles such as higher rates of illiteracy and cultural constraints. Campaign platforms often fail to take women into account by appealing to their particular concerns. 87 Where women have made strides in entering politics, a growing body of research has found that women tend to call greater attention to social development and community welfare concerns—like the MDGs. They also encourage other women to get involved. Taking a closer look Any MDG-related campaign, whether or not it chooses to focus on Goal 3, should have some level of gender analysis that both cuts across all levels of planning and activities, and leaves room for specific initiatives targeting women. This entails asking questions such as: • How do existing policies or campaign policy recommendations affect women and men differently? • What are the variations in access to basic resources such as health care and education? • Does public development spending reach men and women equitably? • Do women and men have different visions of development and the future? • Within the MDGs, what are women’s priorities?
    • • What are the records of candidates related to gender equality? Have they been proactive in supporting practices to advance gender equality? Do they have women on their campaign staff? • What do party platforms say about gender equality? What should they say? • How open is the current political system to women? What percentages of legislators and members of the executive branch are female? • What do women politicians say they need to level the political playing field? • How could women’s increased political participation support implementation of the MDGs? You may find yourself adjusting your campaign strategy and/or tactics based on the answers to these questions. Special campaign materials might be required to reach illiterate female voters, for example. Perhaps there should be a call for political parties to adopt and implement quotas for women candidates. Since elections are transition periods, they open a special window for women to make substantial gains in terms of policy and/or participation. Tool 8: Making Your Case: Quantitative and Qualitative Evidence 88 Facts, figures, scenarios, recommendations and human-interest stories can spark interest in your campaign and fuel sustained momentum. Generally, campaigns use two types of evidence to bolster their messages: quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative evidence normally involves numerical data—the amount of government spending on health, for example, or the number of people under the official poverty line. Most of the global MDG targets and indicators are quantitative. The pros: Quantitative evidence can be more credible and easy to communicate to target audiences such as policy makers, the media or voters. Numbers have the ring of authority and proof. They can efficiently summarize complex issues and confirm that a given trend affects many people, rather than a few isolated cases. The cons: The quality of quantitative data and data collection methods is variable. If data are not already available, it can be time-consuming and expensive for NGOs or political candidates to collect and process numbers on their own. And the requirements for validating data can be strict. Qualitative evidence probes people’s perceptions and motives—their opinions on the responsiveness of health care service providers, for example. It can also convey their life experiences—such as how an individual family struggles to make ends meet with an income below the poverty line.
    • The pros: Qualitative evidence can highlight why people think and behave the way they do. This is critical information for campaigns that aim to raise awareness and change behaviour. Since it is more open-ended, qualitative research methods can discover issues and subtleties that might be missed by more narrowly focused numerical data models. In presenting individual or community stories, quantitative information can lend human dimensions to development issues and be persuasive particularly among target audiences who may not have direct experiences with similar concerns. The cons: Qualitative research, which is often based on techniques such as interviews and focus group discussions, can be time- and resource-intensive to collect and analyse. It may be dismissed as telling only part of the story or for being insufficiently neutral. Making careful choices about gathering evidence depends on your target audiences and your existing resources. Often, the two types are valuable in combination. The MDGs have been criticized at times for being too rigorously quantitative and too blunt an instrument for reflecting all the complexities of issues such as gender discrimination, political dynamics that encourage certain policy orientations, or cultural conventions around sexuality and HIV and AIDS. Qualitative information can help fill these gaps. For both qualitative and quantitative evidence, campaigns should make sure that it is accurate, credible and well documented. Going forward with evidence that can be easily shot down is the fast track to a fizzled campaign. High-quality, well-communicated evidence also has a greater chance of standing out in an election campaign, where many issues will compete for the attention of voters and politicians. 89 Tool 9: Tips for Meeting with Candidates Before meeting with candidates, civil society advocates may want to consider some of the following issues. Â What is the primary point you want to convey? Â What would you like to take away from the meeting? Â Do you know what the candidate can do to help you achieve your advocacy goal? Be precise—such as public endorsement of a campaign position. You may want to present recommendations during the meeting and leave behind a concise written summary with any relevant data and evidence. Â Can you briefly summarize the most important arguments for your primary message— and counter anticipated arguments against it? Â If time allows and there is a need for presenting background information, are you prepared to make a persuasive case for the MDGs as a set of international and national commitments? Can you point to any specific national or local or in some cases trans- border regional initiatives that already exist and can bolster your argument? This underscores that some level of political momentum already exists.
    • Â In general, is what you are asking politically feasible for the candidate? Will they have the support of their party and/or key members of their constituency? Â Are there ways to involve key constituents, either in the meeting or through other channels? Â Has the candidate been supportive of similar issues in the past? If so, how? Before asking them to make additional efforts, you may help build the relationship by acknowledging past accomplishments. Â What can you do for them? For example, would the endorsement of your group or coalition be helpful during the election? Are there ways you can work together on common commitments to MDG issues? Keep careful notes on your meetings; refer to them before you meet the person again so you understand where you might need to press advocacy messages forward or pull them back. Tool 10: A Checklist for Media Interviews The following checklist applies to all kinds of media interviews, regardless of the type of media. These are common issues, but keep in mind that media practices vary widely in different countries. Campaigns with enough resources may want to enlist local media or 90 public relations experts. Â Do you know what audiences the interview will reach? Are they important to your campaign? Â Do you understand the journalist’s interest in your story, and can you build on this to your advantage? Â Do you know about the journalist who will interview you? Does he/she have a credible reputation? Has he/she been supportive of your issue or those related to it? Â Do you know what the journalist’s deadline is? Are you prepared to offer follow-up support if required to help reach it? Â Are there any ground rules in place, such as on what issues can be covered, and what will be on or off the record? Note: Speaking off the record is best avoided unless you have a lot of experience working with the media, and/or an established relationship with a journalist who has proven to be honest and reliable in the past. Otherwise, go on the assumption that anything you say may be used by the interviewer. Â Have you defined one primary message that you would like to convey, and at most two secondary messages? Are you prepared to repeat them throughout the interview, reformulated in response to different questions? Â Have you thought through the questions a journalist might ask, along with your answers, being careful to tie these consistently to your key messages?
    •  Are you prepared to be positive and confident, and to stress what can be done even in the face of very challenging issues?  Are you prepared to manage questions to which you might not have an answer?  Can you handle questions that might be abrupt, biased, negative, unwarranted or unfair without responding in kind (keeping in mind that the journalist will have the final word by producing the story…)?  Do you have a few brief, easy to understand facts or anecdotes to bolster your case?  Can you speak without technical jargon?  Are you familiar with any technical requirements, such as those for clothing, make-up and visual aids for television interviews?  Are you aware of your body language and facial expressions, and what messages these may convey? Are these consistent with your campaign messages? (If you are promoting transparency, for example, you yourself should look like a responsible, trustworthy person.)  Have you put together some basic, concise written information to leave with the journalist or send to them if you are not meeting in person? This could include press releases, fact sheets or issue summaries—for an initial interview, none of these should be more than two pages long.  Do you have photographs or video that the journalist might find useful? At times, these can increase the chances that the interview will be used. 91 Tool 11: The Basics of Press Releases, Kits and Conferences Press releases Press releases are issued to announce newsworthy events, such as a campaign demonstration or a party’s revision of its platform to reflect the MDGs. Well-constructed press releases:  Are no more than two pages  Have a short, punchy headline that conveys a primary campaign message  Provide a date and location  Convey need-to-know facts in the first paragraph: Who, what, when, where, why and how.  Prioritize the most important information in the early part of the release, leaving more general background information for the end.  List a contact name and information
    • Press releases are delivered to journalists or news organizations who might cover a story. They should arrive far enough in advance to allow journalists to make their deadlines, but not so far in advance that they end up buried by more recent releases competing for attention. If you are disseminating releases electronically, cut and paste them into emails, as attachments can be screened by computer security systems—and are not accepted by some newsrooms. Make sure you follow up with journalists to confirm they have received the release and to determine if they are willing to pursue a story. Be persistent—and polite. Press kits Press kits consist of different components and offer more substantial information than press releases. They can be used during the course of a campaign, rather than being tied to a particular event, to raise awareness, provide introductions to build media relationships, appeal to funders and attract new coalition partners. If the kit contains basic background information—about your campaign and the MDGs— you can tailor it to specific events by inserting relevant information, including press releases. Background information might include:  An overview of the campaign and its objectives 92  Press coverage of recent campaign events  Concise fact sheets on MDG issues  Information about the organization(s) involved in the campaign  Brief biographical details about campaign leaders Press conferences Press conferences are held to make news announcements. They offer opportunities to interact with journalists and provide more information than a press release. Some pointers:  Send out an advisory announcing the press conference two to three days in advance.  Hold press conferences earlier in the day so that journalists can make their deadlines.  Chose central, easy-to-find locations.  Plan around other events that may reduce interest in yours.  Allow enough room for television and radio equipment.  Restrict the length of the press conference to no more than one hour.  Follow up with journalists immediately after the event to find out if they need anything else to help in producing a story.
    • Tool 12: Decoding Public Policies The world of public policies can be complex. But policies—which often define the allocation of resources, the choice of development strategies and the functioning of institutions— are the instruments that map the way to the achievement of the MDGs. Ensuring that these are connected to the needs of the electorate and implemented is part of the public accountability that elections can reinforce. To make policy recommendations during or after an MDG campaign, you should have a general idea of the different policies that may be in place, how they are connected to each other, and how they may be influenced by the political environment. There are several basic types of public policies: • Sectoral, such as for health and education • Macroeconomic, to manage the national economy • Institutional, to guide public institutions • Regulatory, to impose norms and standards, such as for levels of pollution and water safety • National development plans, to map an overall vision for national development • Regional and global, including trade agreements, international treaties, and the policies of donor organizations and the international financial institutions 93 In looking at MDG-related policies, it can be tempting to focus mainly on sectoral policies or national development plans. These are both important. But keep broader considerations in mind. Macroeconomic policies can be critical to determining job availability and funding for development programmes. Regulatory policies may already offer provisions that need to be implemented—this might then be the jumping off point for advocacy. One useful exercise to is start with the issue you are focusing on—such as the first MDG on poverty. Under each policy category, list all existing, relevant policies in your country. This should reveal what is in place and what is not. Next, try to gain a sense of which policies have the most impact on the issue you are targeting. Use a box like the following to classify policies by their degree of impact and whether they directly or indirectly influence an issue. Priority policies will fall in boxes 1 and 2: Policies with a: Major impact Minor impact Direct impact 1 3 Indirect impact 2 4 Source: Cafod et al .
    • Another exercise is to survey existing MDG-related policies through the lens of the classic policy cycle: Problem Policy Evaluation Policy Options Policy Implementation Policy Formulation Policy Adoption 94 Source: Adapted from Cafod et al . While in real life, policy choices rarely follow this neat cycle, it does give a general idea of different phases. Policy initiatives often end up stuck in a particular phase. Does the election offer opportunities to question why, for example, MDG policies have been formulated but not adopted? Is implementation lagging? If a policy discussion is still in the problem stage, meaning nothing has yet been done, advocates may find opportunities to set a future agenda—including by building links with candidates before the election. Being specific and knowledgeable in your requests for action may encourage politicians and policy makers to take campaign recommendations seriously. They may be willing to build on the legwork you have already done to, for example, propose new legislation or push for budget allocations.
    • Tool 13: Briefly, On the Budget Public budgets, particularly on the national level, are often viewed in technocratic terms. But budgets are also political tools that elected officials can have a role in shaping and implementing. And they are a way of following the money behind campaign promises, including those linked to the MDGs. Sound budget analysis requires some level of expertise, although an increasing number of civil society groups around the world have this and are active on this front. If you do not already possess enough knowledge in-house, you may want to find it or join with other groups who do. The following is a very brief summary intended to highlight some of the major components, without being a how-to guide. Variations will occur between the national and local levels, and across national systems of government. Basic stages and players in budget preparation • Preparation and guidelines: Ministry of Finance • Expenditure proposals: Line ministries • Overall budget proposal: Cabinet • Budget approval: Parliament • Spending: Line ministries 95 • Auditing: Conducted by auditors, may be approved by Parliament Civil society participation This can take place in several stages: • Drafting, to influence the setting of policy priorities • Legislative, to provide alternative budget analysis in relation to specific policy issues, with reference to transparency and participation • Implementation, to monitor differences between allocations and expenditures in light of agreed policy goals • Auditing, to participate in ensuring appropriate public scrutiny of monitoring and the incorporation of audit recommendations. What budget analysis can achieve • Attention to the impacts of budgetary choices • The detection of shortfalls in support for public policy goals
    • • Concrete measurement of government priorities • A focus on the adequacy of budgets relative to national and international commitments • Evidence of actual programme spending trends • The redirection of a policy focus to overlooked issues or excluded groups • The identification of new sources of funding • Greater transparency and accountability • Strengthened public participation The budget analysis process, in short The basic steps include: • Reviewing one or more social or economic sectors related to the MDGs • Analysing the adequacy of the existing policy framework • Determining whether there are enough resources to reach these policy goals • Examining how resources are actually being used • Predicting longer term impacts 96 • Proposing strategies to correct imbalances
    • Resources I. The Millennium Declaration The following values appear in the Millennium Declaration, adopted by heads of state and government at the United Nations in 2000: Freedom. Men and women have the right to live their lives and raise their children in dignity, free from hunger and from the fear of violence, oppression or injustice. Democratic and participatory governance based on the will of the people best assures these rights. Equality. No individual and no nation must be denied the opportunity to benefit from development. The equal rights and opportunities of women and men must be assured. Solidarity. Global challenges must be managed in a way that distributes the costs and burdens fairly in accordance with basic principles of equity and social justice. Those who suffer or who benefit least deserve help from those who benefit most. Tolerance. Human beings must respect one other, in all their diversity of belief, culture and language. Differences within and between societies should be neither feared nor repressed, but cherished as a precious asset of humanity. A culture of peace and dialogue among all civilizations should be actively promoted. 97 Respect for nature. Prudence must be shown in the management of all living species and natural resources, in accordance with the precepts of sustainable development. Only in this way can the immeasurable riches provided to us by nature be preserved and passed on to our descendants. The current unsustainable patterns of production and consumption must be changed in the interest of our future welfare and that of our descendants. Shared responsibility. Responsibility for managing worldwide economic and social development, as well as threats to international peace and security, must be shared among the nations of the world and should be exercised multilaterally. As the most universal and most representative organization in the world, the United Nations must play the central role.
    • II. The MDGs: Goals, Targets and Indicators Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Goals and Targets Indicators for monitoring progress (from the Millennium Declaration) Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger Target 1.A: Halve, between 1990 1.1 Proportion of population below $1 (PPP) per day1 and 2015, the proportion of people 1.2 Poverty gap ratio whose income is less than one dollar a day 1.3 Share of poorest quintile in national consumption Target 1.B: Achieve full and 1.4 Growth rate of GDP per person employed productive employment and decent 1.5 Employment-to-population ratio work for all, including women and 1.6 Proportion of employed people living below $1 (PPP) young people per day 1.7 Proportion of own-account and contributing family workers in total employment Target 1.C: Halve, between 1990 1.8 Prevalence of underweight children under-five years and 2015, the proportion of of age people who suffer from hunger 1.9 Proportion of population below minimum level of dietary energy consumption 98 Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education Target 2.A: Ensure that, by 2015, 2.1 Net enrolment ratio in primary education children everywhere, boys and girls 2.2 Proportion of pupils starting grade 1 who reach last alike, will be able to complete a full grade of primary course of primary schooling 2.3 Literacy rate of 15-24 year-olds, women and men Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women Target 3.A: Eliminate gender 3.1 Ratios of girls to boys in primary, secondary and disparity in primary and secondary tertiary education education, preferably by 2005, and 3.2 Share of women in wage employment in the non- in all levels of education no later agricultural sector than 2015 3.3 Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament Goal 4: Reduce child mortality Target 4.A: Reduce by two-thirds, 4.1 Under-five mortality rate between 1990 and 2015, the under- 4.2 Infant mortality rate five mortality rate 4.3 Proportion of 1 year-old children immunised against measles 1 For monitoring country poverty trends, indicators based on national poverty lines should be used, where available.
    • Goal 5: Improve maternal health Target 5.A: Reduce by three 5.1 Maternal mortality ratio quarters, between 1990 and 2015, 5.2 Proportion of births attended by skilled health the maternal mortality ratio personnel Target 5.B: Achieve, by 2015, 5.3 Contraceptive prevalence rate universal access to reproductive 5.4 Adolescent birth rate health 5.5 Antenatal care coverage (at least one visit and at least four visits) 5.6 Unmet need for family planning Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases Target 6.A: Have halted by 2015 6.1 HIV prevalence among population aged 15-24 years and begun to reverse the spread of 6.2 Condom use at last high-risk sex HIV/AIDS 6.3 Proportion of population aged 15-24 years with comprehensive correct knowledge of HIV/AIDS 6.4 Ratio of school attendance of orphans to school attendance of non-orphans aged 10-14 years Target 6.B: Achieve, by 2010, 6.5 Proportion of population with advanced HIV infection universal access to treatment for with access to antiretroviral drugs HIV/AIDS for all those who need it Target 6.C: Have halted by 2015 6.6 Incidence and death rates associated with malaria and begun to reverse the incidence 99 6.7 Proportion of children under 5 sleeping under of malaria and other major diseases insecticide-treated bednets 6.8 Proportion of children under 5 with fever who are treated with appropriate anti-malarial drugs 6.9 Incidence, prevalence and death rates associated with tuberculosis 6.10 Proportion of tuberculosis cases detected and cured under directly observed treatment short course Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability Target 7.A: Integrate the principles 7.1 Proportion of land area covered by forest of sustainable development 7.2 CO2 emissions, total, per capita and per $1 GDP (PPP) into country policies and 7.3 Consumption of ozone-depleting substances programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources 7.4 Proportion of fish stocks within safe biological limits Target 7.B: Reduce biodiversity 7.5 Proportion of total water resources used loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant 7.6 Proportion of terrestrial and marine areas protected reduction in the rate of loss 7.7 Proportion of species threatened with extinction Target 7.C: Halve, by 2015, the 7.8 Proportion of population using an improved drinking proportion of people without water source sustainable access to safe drinking 7.9 Proportion of population using an improved sanitation water and basic sanitation facility
    • Target 7.D: By 2020, to have 7.10 Proportion of urban population living in slums2 achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development Target 8.A: Develop further an Some of the indicators listed below are monitored separately open, rule-based, predictable, non- for the least developed countries (LDCs), Africa, landlocked discriminatory trading and financial developing countries and small island developing States . system Official development assistance (ODA) Includes a commitment to good 8.1 Net ODA, total and to the least developed countries, as governance, development and percentage of OECD/DAC donors’ gross national income poverty reduction – both nationally and internationally 8.2 Proportion of total bilateral, sector-allocable ODA of OECD/DAC donors to basic social services (basic Target 8.B: Address the special education, primary health care, nutrition, safe water needs of the least developed and sanitation) countries 8.3 Proportion of bilateral official development assistance Includes: tariff and quota free access of OECD/DAC donors that is untied for the least developed countries’ exports; enhanced programme of 8.4 ODA received in landlocked developing countries as a debt relief for heavily indebted poor proportion of their gross national incomes countries (HIPC) and cancellation 8.5 ODA received in small island developing States as a of official bilateral debt; and more proportion of their gross national incomes generous ODA for countries Market access 100 committed to poverty reduction 8.6 Proportion of total developed country imports (by Target 8.C: Address the special value and excluding arms) from developing countries needs of landlocked developing and least developed countries, admitted free of duty countries and small island 8.7 Average tariffs imposed by developed countries on developing States (through the agricultural products and textiles and clothing from Programme of Action for the developing countries Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States and the 8.8 Agricultural support estimate for OECD countries as a outcome of the twenty-second percentage of their gross domestic product special session of the General 8.9 Proportion of ODA provided to help build trade capacity Assembly) Debt sustainability Target 8.D: Deal comprehensively 8.10 Total number of countries that have reached their with the debt problems of HIPC decision points and number that have reached developing countries through their HIPC completion points (cumulative) national and international measures 8.11 Debt relief committed under HIPC and MDRI Initiatives in order to make debt sustainable in the long term 8.12 Debt service as a percentage of exports of goods and services 2 The actual proportion of people living in slums is measured by a proxy, represented by the urban population living in households with at least one of the four characteristics: (a) lack of access to improved water supply; (b) lack of access to improved sanitation; (c) overcrowding (3 or more persons per room); and (d) dwellings made of non-durable material.
    • Target 8.E: In cooperation with 8.13 Proportion of population with access to affordable pharmaceutical companies, provide essential drugs on a sustainable basis access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries Target 8.F: In cooperation with 8.14 Telephone lines per 100 population the private sector, make available 8.15 Cellular subscribers per 100 population the benefits of new technologies, 8.16 Internet users per 100 population especially information and communications The Millennium Development Goals and targets come from the Millennium Declaration, signed by 189 countries, including 147 heads of State and Government, in September 2000 (http://www.un.org/millennium/declaration/ares552e.htm) and from further agreement by member states at the 2005 World Summit (Resolution adopted by the General Assembly - A/RES/60/1, http://www.un.org/Docs/journal/asp/ws.asp?m=A/RES/60/1). The goals and targets are interrelated and should be seen as a whole. They represent a partnership between the developed countries and the developing countries “to create an environment – at the national and global levels alike – which is conducive to development and the elimination of poverty”. 101
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    • ———. 2008b. “Kenya: Concert starts global action against food crisis and calls on leaders to act now to stop the looming hunger.” 31 May. ———. 2008c. “March on October 17th Will Demand New Government Puts Poor First.” Pretoria, 17 October. ———. 2008d. “Poverty Hearings: A Weapon for Change.” Liberia, 13 September. ———. 2008e. “Stand Up and Take Action in Asia: Apart from the numbers, organizers tally up the emotions, moments and lessons of Stand Up.” 23 October. Government of Nepal, UNDP and UNICEF. 2006. “Voices of People on Development.” Kathmandu. GTZ and Bonn International Center for Conversion. 2005. Organising Civil Society Campaigns for Small Arms Action: A Manual for NGOs . Eschborn. Hakikazi Catalyst. “Millennium Development Goals: No more broken promises?” Plain Language Guides series. [www.hakikazi.org]. Herfkens, Eveline. “Looking Back, Looking Forward: The Successes and Challenges of the Millennium Campaign.” Hofbauer, Helena. 2006. “Using budget analysis to monitor the reduction of maternal 103 mortality: Fundar’s experience in Mexico.” [www.fundar.org.mx]. Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. 2005. “Electoral System Design: An Overview of the New International IDEA Handbook.” Interaction. 2008. “The Millennium Development Goals and a US National Development Strategy.” Policy brief. Washington, DC. International Knowledge Network of Women in Politics (iKnow Politics). [www.iknowpolitics. org]. International Republican Institute. Campaign Schools for Women and Youth: Candidate’s Handbook . Inter-Parliamentary Union. “Women in National Parliaments.” [www.ipu.org/wmn-e/world. htm]. IPS News Service. 2008. “Salil Shetty’s Tough Talk on the MDGs.” 22 June. Jubilee 2000 Coalition and World Vision. 2000. “The world will never be the same again.”
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    • We Want Your Feedback Help us to improve future editions of this guidebook by answering some simple questions: 1) Where were you working when you used this guidebook? a. Civil society organization b. Political organization c. Government d. International or intergovernmental organization e. Other 2) What was/is your position? a. Programme staff b. Communications staff c. Political candidate d. Manager e. Volunteer f. Other 107 3) How would you rate the usefulness of the information in this guidebook? a. Excellent b. Very good c. Good d. Not very good e. Poor 4) How would you rate the design of the guidebook, especially in access to information and ease of use? a. Excellent b. Very good c. Good d. Not very good e. Poor
    • 5) How have you used the guidebook? (Circle all that apply.) a. As part of an MDG advocacy campaign during an election b. As part of a political campaign c. As part of an MDG advocacy campaign outside an election period d. As a general reference on the MDGs and political advocacy e. For advocacy related to the MDGs but not explicitly about them f. For advocacy that is not related to the MDGs g. Other 6) In three or four sentences, please describe how you used the guidebook: 7) What did you find to be the most useful feature of the guidebook? 8) What was the least useful feature? 9) Do you have any other comments that would help the Millennium Campaign improve this guidebook or otherwise support MDG advocacy? 108 Submitting a Case Study The Millennium Campaign would also like to hear from you about your experiences in campaigning for the MDGs during elections. This helps us in sharing knowledge about what does and does not work with people and organizations embarking on similar initiatives. Please provide us with: Your organization’s name: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The country (and locality, if applicable) in which you operate: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The year and level (national, local) of the election in which you participated: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A brief narrative of what activities took place, where and who was involved:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The rationale for targeting any particular MDGs, and how you made the selection: . . . . . . . . . A brief description of the results of your activities: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Your analysis of what was learned, what you would do again, any challenges and how you managed them, what you plan to do next to build on your efforts, and any other details that you think are important: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .