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Building Skills to Advocate for Change with Health Data
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Building Skills to Advocate for Change with Health Data



Presented by Tara Nutley at the Global Health & Innovations Conference in April 2014.

Presented by Tara Nutley at the Global Health & Innovations Conference in April 2014.



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  • By the end of the session participants will be able to: <br /> In this session, I will describe the basic elements of a communication strategy. You want to consider a communication strategy after you have conducted a data review, and you’ve identified specific recommendations that could improve a health program or change a health policy and there are other stakeholders beyond the target decision maker you want to involve. <br /> Whether you are targeting an individual program manager or policy maker, a larger group of donors, or the general public, it is always helpful to have a plan and articulate what you want to achieve. <br /> I will also talk about adapting your data-informed message to your target audience. <br /> And finally, I will touch on how you might go about assessing the effects of a data use intervention. <br /> It is important to keep in mind that developing and implementing a communication strategy will put demands on your organization’s operating systems. There is that added staff burden to continually apply, implement, and assess the effects of your communication efforts. Management must support the time that goes into implementing a communication strategy for it to be successful. <br /> Also, when considering routine data and possible changes to health programs, your team may NOT require an extensive communication strategy. But it is still useful for your team to consider some of the topics I will review in this session so that your team can have some idea on how to advocate for recommendations based on any data review. <br />
  • . Underutlization of data in decision making <br /> This sentiment is reflected in the opinions of our peers who participated in an international survey conducted by the Overseas Development Institute, Jones et al in 2008. The study found that there is a high level of dissatisfaction among policy-makers, intermediaries, and researchers alike with the degree to which policy decisions are informed by research evidence. To clarify, intermediary organizations refer to NGOs or global partnerships working to advance a specific area. <br /> Y axis = % <br /> Specifically we see that: <br /> 42% of policy-makers <br /> 60% intermediaries and <br /> 54% of researchers stated that they were dissatisfied that policy is based on evidence. <br />
  • Elaborating on this: advocacy involves delivering evidence-based recommenda- <br /> tions to decision makers, stakeholders and/or those who influence them. Advo- <br /> cacy is a means of seeking change in governance, attitudes, power, social rela- <br /> tions and institutional functions. It supports actions which are taken at scale, and <br /> which address deeper, underlying barriers to the fulfilment of children’s rights. <br /> The goal of advocacy can be to address imbalances, inequity and disparities, <br /> promote human rights, social justice, a healthy environment, or to further the <br /> opportunities for democracy by promoting children’s and women’s participation. <br /> Advocacy requires organizing and organization. It represents a set of strategic <br /> actions and, at its most vibrant, will influence the decisions, practices and policies <br /> of others. <br />
  • Our focus. Have findings want to get them out – as opposed to have a concern want to make something happen <br />
  • The importance of data-informed decision making is expressed on this slide by a national-level policymaker in Nigeria who participated in a data use assessment conducted by MEASURE Evaluation. The assessment involved interviews with a range of professionals at the national, regional, and facility levels. The policymaker interviewed, stated… (READ SLIDE) <br /> “… without information, things are done arbitrarily and one becomes unsure of whether a policy or program will fail or succeed. If we allow our policies to be guided by empirical facts and data, there will be a noticeable change in the impact of what we do.” <br /> This statement nicely summarizes why we are here today to discuss the importance of improving data-informed decision making. <br />
  • It may be the case that in order for your recommendations to be implemented, you need to influence a great many stakeholders over an extended period of time, each with their own preferred method of engagement. <br /> It can become a challenge to understand how your stakeholder engagement efforts will lead to the adoption and implementation of your recommendations. You also want to use your resources and staff time as effectively as possible, while engaging with multiple stakeholders. <br /> In this case, you may want to consider developing a communication strategy for your recommendations. <br />
  • trategic advocacy is the backbone of effective advocacy. It is a disciplined <br /> effort to generate fundamental decisions and actions that guide an organization <br /> and shape its course for a specific issue.1 Planning is indispensable, <br /> and following are some of the reasons why: <br /> • Planning helps put resources (time, funds, skills) to their most effective use. <br /> • Planning helps minimize risks and maximize opportunities for advocacy. <br /> • Planning helps advocates navigate the complex, <br /> dynamic and diverse environments in which <br /> UNICEF operates. <br /> • Planning helps align advocacy with other areas of <br /> work and organizational goals, both long term and <br /> short term. <br />
  • There are 4 essential questions that you need to answer to develop a good communication plan: <br /> What are your communication objectives? If you were successful in communicating your recommendation, what would you want your target audience to then do with the information? A well crafted communication objective will help you to track the use of your data by your target audience. <br /> Who is your target audience? Who is going to take action based on your recommendations? You have already identified your target audience in your stakeholder analysis. <br /> What communication channel does that target audience rely on for their information? Should you do a formal presentation? publish? Meet a policy-maker face-to-face? Use Internet, television, or radio? Do you want local, state, or national coverage? Each method of communication will influence how you craft your message. <br /> And 4th: How will you assess information use? The vision of a health information system is that each indicator informs and helps to improves a specific aspect of a health system. Demonstrating information use, telling the data use to data-informed decision making story will help to show how investing in information systems and data use interventions has a real benefit to people in the country. <br /> (CLICK ANIMATION) I will start with describing the steps that go into answering the first question – what are your communication objectives? <br /> Everything I talk about in this presentation can be found in your handouts. <br />
  • When trying to develop communication objectives, I start by looking at what the data are saying about the health issue – what is the storyline. Then I break that down into small pieces of actionable findings, and then pick the 1- 3 most important recommendations to write up my health story. <br /> I then write this story up as a 500 – 700 word opinion. I may not actually submit this draft to anyone target audience. But I will use this draft story as my template to clearly articulate the health issue and recommendation, and then latter adapt this message to the communication needs of each of my target audiences; <br /> writing it up as a story or narrative, like opinion piece for a news source. The reason for doing this exercise is so that I can step away from my scientific need to write a proper technical report, and begin to think about how best to communicate only the essential information in the style of a journalist. <br />
  • Once I have a solid health story explaining the problem and the solution based on data, I identify who needs to hear this message. <br /> In the morning session we already discussed identification and engagement with stakeholders, so I will not go into great detail about that here. It’s just good to remember that when you choose an intended audience for your message, you consider: <br /> Who can take action? <br /> Who has influence and resources to support that action? <br /> Who can affect the outcome of those actions? <br /> Who will oppose this action? <br />
  • Typically, stakeholder analysis is done informally, in an ad hoc way. The rationale behind choosing and engaging stakeholders is rarely consistent, systematic, or documented. A researcher may talk to people to identify stakeholders and their roles, but the process is intuitive rather than systematic, and it rarely happens the same way twice. As a result, the following scenarios are typical: <br /> Only data producers are included <br /> Only those stakeholders in agreement with the proposed plan are invited to participate. <br /> Stakeholders are selected only from the organization that is directly involved in the project. <br /> Stakeholders are invited to a preliminary briefing, but they are not included thereafter in project design. <br /> The process includes only the bare minimum number of stakeholders required to obtain formal approvals. <br /> Stakeholders included in the project may not be at the appropriate level in a community or organization to contribute to the project or make decisions. <br /> When working with different stakeholders it is important to recognize that each stakeholder may affect the data-informed decision-making process in different ways. <br /> ENGAGE PARTICIPANTS: What might you want to know about your different stakeholders that may have an effect on how decisions are made? <br /> AFTER 3-4 RESPONSES CLICK TO REVEAL SLIDE ANIMATION. <br /> SAY: Different stakeholders may: <br /> View activities from different perspectives. <br /> Have different degrees or levels of understanding <br /> Need or want different information <br /> Need information at different levels of complexity <br /> Have different intensities of interest <br /> Have different roles in the decision-making process <br />
  • The Stakeholder Analysis Tool is designed to help you determine who are the important stakeholders to include for your project and develop a plan for how to engage them. <br /> While this tool encourages you to involve more people (which freaks folks out) it also helps you to be strategic for how to involve them.  The tool isn’t recommending that you involve all these stakeholders all of the time in every step. <br /> Another point to emphasize – often folks think they already know who the stakeholders are. They often only think about those stakeholders that are the usual suspects and need to be involved. <br /> What they don’t think about is if there are other stakeholders outside the usual of the health sector that you could add to improve your activity OR – as important – other stakeholders who could impede your activity <br />
  • NOTE TO FACILITATOR: click on each column to show the red circle highlighting each column. <br /> Here is an example of the Matrix. At the end of this session, your groups will have the opportunity to use the tool to select a set of stakeholders specific to a professional decision you need to make. For now, let’s look at the information required in each column. <br /> In the first column, you list your stakeholder and whether this stakeholder is a person, group, or organization. <br /> In the second column, you describe the stakeholder, including job title, organizational purpose, funding sources, etc. <br /> In the third column, you include a brief explanation of why this stakeholder is relevant to your activity. <br /> In the fourth column, you list the stakeholder’s level of knowledge about your issue. This is important because sometimes you will choose a stakeholder for his/her knowledge level, and sometimes you will choose one in spite of his/her knowledge level because of other resources he/she can bring to the activity. <br /> In the fifth column, you list each stakeholder’s level of commitment to the activity. <br /> Finally, in the last column, you list the resources that each stakeholder brings to the activity. <br />
  • This matrix is designed to be a platform for a discussion among your team members on how best to engage the key stakeholders you have identified in your stakeholder analysis. <br /> The first column lists the stakeholder. Remember to only include those key stakeholders you ranked as highly relevant in your stakeholder analysis. You want to be strategy with the time it takes to engage each and every stakeholder. <br /> The second column lists the potential role of that stakeholder. If you are successful, what would you want this stakeholder to do in order to support your agenda. <br /> The third column shows how you plan to involve the stakeholder. There are many ways to engage a stakeholder: memos, emails, face-to-face meetings, presentations, reports, public forums, social media, etc. It is important to think about how others may have successfully engaged this stakeholder in the past. <br /> The final column lists who among your team is responsible for engaging this particular stakeholder and providing feedback to the rest of team. <br /> NOTE to facilitator: Cick on each column to show the red circle highlighting each column. <br />
  • Now that you have your DRAFT storyline, you need to adapt it to your intended audience. This starts by learning as much as possible about your intended audience. <br /> If you have a large audience, like the general public, you can segment that audience by many different characteristics: their beliefs, current actions, social and physical environments, behaviors, cultures, demographics, etc. <br /> For example, perhaps you see a need in your routine data to encourage HIV+ women to give birth in a health facility that provides Mother-to-Child HIV prevention services. You may want to segment this audience by: <br /> The patients of health clinics with the lowest assisted birth rate in the area; <br /> Those women who have NOT attended all 4 counseling sessions at an antenatal clinic; <br /> Those women who are HIV+ in general <br /> Those women who have NOT given birth in a health facility before; <br /> As you further research your target audience you may find that this group shares common cultural beliefs, ethnicities, or other social and economic characteristics. You begin to identify groups or sub-groups within the larger audience, that share common characteristics that you are interested in. <br /> These groups may also have preferences for how they like to receive new information, as well as when and where they prefer to hear that message. You can use this information to adapt your message to that specific target group. <br /> For pregnant women who are HIV+, they may prefer to hear the message from a trusted community member such as a traditional birth attendant. So your strategy may involve developing simple messages that can be delivered by TBAs associated with a health facility. <br /> You will also want to consider the communication context for this target group: <br /> What may be other health issues competing for their attention? How will that competition for attention influence how effective you will be in conveying your message? <br /> Other health messages competing for the attention of expectant mothers may be malaria, sanitation, vaccinations, nutrition, etc.. <br /> What emotional tone will resonate with this particular target group? What would be most appropriate? <br /> Would it be appropriate to invoke the maternal desire to protect the child’s welfare? What emotional motivation is there to change this behavior? <br /> In what venue will your target group be most receptive to the message you want to convey? <br /> It may be better for a TBA to have this discussion individually or at times of the day when women are working together. <br /> Does timing matter? Is there a particular moment in the day, week, month, or year that would strengthen your message? <br />
  • If your intended audience is not so much the general public, but more an individual decision-maker, policy-maker, or donor, then you will need to tailor your message to that specific individual. In this instance, you will focus more on understanding their knowledge about the health issue and their core values. <br /> When assessing an individual’s knowledge about your health issue, you want to know <br /> Their previous experience with health issue and <br /> Their level of health and data literacy. What I mean here is their ability to read, understand and use health information to make decisions. It is also the ability to synthesize and interpret health data. <br /> It may be that the policy maker you want to influence has very limited understanding of the complexity of your health issue. Your communication strategy and message will need to reflect this level of understanding by: <br /> Keeping materials short and simple <br /> Using examples and graphics <br /> Generating a consistent message across materials and communication channels <br /> Another marketing principle we can apply to developing our health message is understanding the core values of your intended audience. By identifying and understanding the needs and wants of your intended audience, their core values, you can define your message so that it offers a benefit that is desired by your intended audience. <br /> For example, historically telling a policy maker there is a disease in the population has not always been a great motivation to adopt a major public health program. <br /> But describing the political and economic consequences of loosing control over the spread of a disease has been effective. <br /> The health message needs to connect with the core values of your intended audience – the needs, wants, and desires of your policy makers. <br />
  • You have your story. It’s adapted to your target audience. Now you need to revisit your communication objective so that you can craft your message - what do you want your target audiences to do with the information you share with them. <br /> In refining the objective, I think about what are the information needs of my target audience, and then align my communication objective with that information need. <br /> For example, your target audience may be wanting to: <br /> Determine the effectiveness of a health program or policy; <br /> Be convinced or persuaded that a health issue or program change is needed. They may not even be aware that there is a health issue. <br /> They may be looking to become more educated or informed about the health issue. <br /> They may be wanting to know more about why a certain health policy or program was a success or failure <br /> They may want to share lessons learned to similar programs offered elsewhere <br /> Or they may need your information to gather support and influence others. <br /> These information needs can easily overlap. Try NOT to meet all the information needs, but careful select and focus on the most important. <br />
  • In order to put your communication objective within a larger communication strategy, I also include a: <br /> Goal: the overall program or policy improvement vision for the future – this is what I would like to see in my ideal world. Again, this should be similar to the information needs of your target audience. <br /> Objective: the specific communication outcome I aim to produce with a specific target audience in order to achieve my overall goal. <br /> And then my strategy: How I will go about achieving this objective based on: <br /> Knowledge about effective communication methods for the selected target audience, <br /> My organization’s capabilities <br /> Timeline for action <br /> Resources <br />
  • Now I want to convey the story of why these recommendations for action matter - why does my target audience needs to know this: <br /> I begin with the a short description of how the health issue affects an individual or group of people to introduce the problem and encourage listeners to want to know more. In a few sentences I describe: <br /> What’s wrong? <br /> Why does it matter? <br /> What should be done about it? <br /> From that short description, I try to apply the issue to the broadest possible context. For example, I may start out with describing a health issue for 1 health facility. Then describe how this also affects health facilities across the country. <br /> At this stage, I don’t assume my audience knows anything about the issue. <br /> I also stay focused on 3 or at most 4 major points. <br />
  • - When describing the health issue and recommendations, I spend about 20% of the piece describing the problem, but 80% describing the solution. My solutions often include how the actions taken will save lives and money. The last paragraph drives home my main take away message, and includes a specific call for action. <br /> For this draft story, I avoid technical jargon and acronyms – keeping my sentence short, simple, and to the point: <br /> Aim for 1 idea per sentence <br /> Start each paragraph with the most important message <br /> USE Active voice: The economic crisis caused the unemployment rate to rise. <br /> AVOID Passive voice: The unemployment rate increase was cause by the economic crisis. <br />
  • After drafting this story that conveys my data-informed recommendation I re-read it to see if I was effective in getting my points across. But also I think about: <br /> What other health professionals and researchers may have written about the subject, and make sure that I am contributing something different to the debate. <br /> How much data is needed to tell the story? <br /> Data can enhance credibility and message believability, but may not always be necessary or helpful in communicating your message. The more variables or values displayed, the more difficult it is to present the data clearly. <br /> Even though you have a data-informed recommendation, you don’t want your target audience getting lost or distracted in the data and not receiving the main point of your recommendation. <br /> If I do include a graph or table, I use only rounded figures. I also use the text to present the analysis, trends, and context without repeating the values in the graph or table. <br /> Also, when re-reading my draft message I consider whether I appropriately conveyed the limitations of my data <br /> Then I consider the recommendation itself: Will those who I hope to influence be able to support my call to action? <br />
  • There are several methods of communication available. I’ve listed some here. When deciding which fits best with your target audience, it is helpful to consider: <br /> - the cognitive burden of data, and which method presents data in a format preferred by your intended audiences; <br /> - How your intended audience will perceive the credibility and influence of your communication method; <br /> - When you want the intended audience to receive the message. <br /> Possibly integrating a range of communication messages and channels over time. <br /> Always be prepared to provide additional resources for information seekers. <br /> Your resources. If you have to, prioritize the communication channel with the widest reach if your target audience is a group, prioritize the communication channel most likely to evoke a response if your target audience is an individual <br /> When I refer to Social Media, I mean websites like YouTube, Twitter, Blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Wikis, Email list serves, and other social networking sites <br /> Overall keep in mind that: <br /> Any use of media or a communication channel is NOT a communication strategy in itself. The various media outlets are tools to support your communication strategy. <br />
  • Another target audience – Program managers. <br /> Their information needs often consist of: READ SLIDE. <br /> What do you think their preferred communication methods might be? <br /> NOTE TO FACILITATOR: Allow time for comments. Then CLICK ANIMATION. <br />
  • Matching your target audience with the their information needs and the most appropriate communication methods can be a challenge. <br /> I’d like to open the discussion now around some more specific target audiences. <br /> Let’s say that your target audience is a government agency or policy maker. <br /> What do you think are their information needs? <br /> NOTE TO FACILITATOR: Allow time for comments. Then CLICK ANIMATION X 2. <br /> Good comments. From our research and experience we have noted that politicians and government officials often use data to make decisions about policies, resource allocation, and strategic planning. <br /> They have a limited time and expertise to read detailed reports. They often prefer a dissemination forum, face-to-face meetings, policy briefs, brochures, and executive summaries that highlight actionable recommendations. <br />
  • READ SLIDE <br /> Ask for communication methods <br /> NOTE TO FACILITATOR: Allow time for comments. Then CLICK ANIMATION. <br /> ADD: <br /> Build relationship with journalist: <br /> Invite journalist to dissemination or town hall meetings <br /> Issue press releases early in the day and earlier in the week, and make a follow-up phone call to ensure receipt/coverage. <br /> Good to have available a summary of the analysis and recommendations. <br /> Remember to stay focused on the information needs of your intended audience. Don’t be pre-occupied with the media’s agenda. <br /> Keep in mind that print media, television, and radio are all one-way communication systems – challenge to get immediate feedback. <br />
  • Ask for both columns <br /> NOTE TO FACILITATOR: Allow time for comments. Then CLICK ANIMATION. <br /> Read slide <br />
  • When you want to influence an individual policy maker with your communication message, it helps to think about a few additional aspects of your communication strategy: <br /> Research the past activities of that policy maker and their role in the legislature or parliament. If they are a representative, what was their voting record and who endorsed their campaign. <br /> Network and develop relationships with policy makers – make sure they know who you are and your subject expertise. They may reach out to you when they need an answer in a particular health subject area; <br /> Understand their preferred method of communication and when it is best to communicate with them <br /> Coordinate with others who can jointly support the proposed policy <br /> Seek media attention to rally public support using some of the ideas I stated earlier <br /> Listen to those who may oppose your policy proposal. They most likely have a following and some credibility, so it is important to be prepared with counter-arguments. <br />
  • ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS <br /> Formally and/or informally test the message, materials, and presentation formats with people who share the attributes of the intended audience(s). <br /> Some aspects to look at are: READ SLIDE <br />
  • We now would like you to work in groups over the next 30 minutes on putting together a brief communication strategy. Based on <br /> message, 250 words, that explains: <br /> What’s the key study finding? <br /> Why does it matter? <br /> What should be done about it? <br /> We will be looking for: <br /> The extent you focus on the problem versus the solution <br /> Your call to action <br /> Use of data to support your recommendation <br /> Feasibility of your recommendations <br /> Considerations of counter-arguments <br /> Tailoring of the message to the target audience’s knowledge of the issue, core values, and information needs <br /> We then would like you to craft your communication goal, or vision of what the world would be like with your recommendation implemented. <br /> From that goal, devise at least 1 communication objective, the specific action you intend for the target audience to take. <br /> And finally, a strategy or approach to achieve that objective. Your approach will depend on the communication method you think is most effective in reaching and convincing your target audience that your recommendations should be implemented. <br /> We ask that you identify at least 2 communication methods. You do not have to develop these communication methods into a product, just describe what method would be applied and how it would be used to achieve the communication objective. We advise you to select a primary communication method, and a follow-up communication method if your target audience requests further information about the health issue. <br /> Also consider what the wants and needs of that target audience, your own team’s capabilities in pursuing this strategy, and an estimated timeline and cost to develop communication materials and present them to your target audience. <br /> Keep it simple and specific to 1 recommendation. <br />
  • Goal: <br /> Overall program or policy improvement that you want to take place <br /> Objective: <br /> Specific communication outcome you aim to produce to achieve the overall goal <br />
  • We now ask of you to put your money were your mouth is as they say. You came up with these recommendations. You devised an effective strategy to communicate and convince a decision-maker to adopt your recommendation. You now need to make the sell. We want your team to develop what we call an ‘elevator speech’ based on the message development and communication strategy your developed in the previous exercise. <br /> We call it an elevator speech because it conveys your recommendation in the time is takes for you to explain your position while riding in an elevator. The reason this is important is in advocacy, you often do not have more than this time to convince a decision-maker that your recommendation is the best decision they could make at the time. It also gives you something to practice that gets your most salient points across when you need to. <br /> Typically you should have multiple versions: 60 seconds, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes. We ask that your team develop a 5 minute speech. <br /> The structure of the speech should follow (refer to flip chart): <br /> introduce yourself and your organization <br /> State the topic <br /> Make the ask for support <br /> Thank <br /> Explain how you will follow-up with them <br /> Play to the heart <br /> 3 to 4 facts <br /> Show how efforts save $ <br /> Other things you can do are… READ SLIDE <br /> Many of these tips apply to other communication methods as well. <br /> We ask that you pick a representative from you team to present this 5 minute elevator speech to the rest of the groups. We will randomly select 3 teams to present. Each team will have 5 minutes to present, followed by 5 minutes of feedback from the group. Good luck! <br />
  • Before we finish this Session today, I would like to talk to you about the benefits of assessing the effects of data use. <br />
  • Why do we need to assess the effects of our research studies? <br /> NOTE to facilitator: Read slide. <br />
  • Important to establish a baseline so you understand what was the program status before you started? <br /> What were stakeholders awareness of the information before and after the communication efforts? Did they see and understand the data? <br /> Was data considered in the decision making? <br /> Were recommendations acted upon? <br /> If recommendations were NOT acted upon, what were the barriers? Did any of the barriers relate to: <br /> Data availability <br /> Data accessibility <br /> Data relevance <br /> Data usefulness <br />
  • What are the methodologies we can use to assess the effects of our data use and communication efforts? <br /> Conduct key informant interviews with the key stakeholder groups identified in your communication plan. <br /> If your target audience was a larger group then you may want to gauge their reaction to your communication efforts through focus groups. <br /> Survey – all who attended the dissemination events or received communication materials. <br /> Keep a Data Use Log. Search for the citations of your study in the academic literature (if results were published), track various media (newspapers, TV, key websites, specific tweets) to determine if your research has influenced any changes. <br /> And finally, if you can’t do anything formal, simply pick up the phone and follow up with your stakeholders to discuss any uptake and use of your data sources in decision making. <br /> If your are striving for regular data reviews or use of findings from a large survey or impact evaluation, you may consider assessing effects of your efforts again 6 months later. <br /> By following up on your data use and communication efforts you learn invaluable information on how to do it better next time. You also can demonstrate how effective your team is in using data to improve health programs, which will lead to further support for future efforts both in terms of resources and organizational policy. <br />
  • Finally, please consider joining Data Use Net, a community of practice for professionals interested in increasing their demand for and use of data in decision making. <br />

Building Skills to Advocate for Change with Health Data Building Skills to Advocate for Change with Health Data Presentation Transcript

  • Add gov’t logo Building Skills to Advocate for Change with Health Data Tara Nutley, Futures Group Global Health & Innovations Conference New Haven, CT April 12, 2014
  • Learning objectives  Describe the 6 elements of an advocacy strategy  Develop 4 elements of an advocacy strategy  Describe a tool to identify and engage stakeholders  Understand the importance of assessing the effect of advocacy activities
  • Agenda 5:15 – 5:20 Welcome, agenda, introductions 5:20 – 5:50 Presentation – Elements of an advocacy strategy 5:50 – 6:20 Activity P1– develop an advocacy strategy 6:20- 6:35 - Activity P2 – develop an elevator speech & present it to the group 6:35 – 6:40 Presentation - Assessing the effects of advocacy activities 6:40 – 6:45 Workshop evaluation & adjourn
  • Influencing decision making  Decision – a choice between two or more courses of action  Ideally information is considered in decision making process and decision based on data  Influencers  Culture, politics, individual behaviors, norms, technical issues, etc.
  • Satisfied that Policy is Based on Scientific Evidence
  • What is advocacy? Advocacy is the deliberate process, based on evidence, to directly and indirectly influence decision makers, stakeholders and relevant audiences to support and implement actions that contribute to advancement of an issue or cause.
  • What is evidence?  Data – raw observations and statistics collected together for reference or analysis  Information – results of analysis or synthesis of those observations  Bodies of evidence – synthesis of information about a specific topic
  • Value of data-informed decision making “… without information, things are done arbitrarily and one becomes unsure of whether a policy or program will fail or succeed. If we allow our policies to be guided by empirical facts and data, there will be a noticeable change in the impact of what we do.” National-level Policymaker, Nigeria
  • Developing an Advocacy Strategy
  • Why an advocacy strategy?  Planning  Secure resources  Minimize risks and maximize opportunities  Understand context, timing, organizations  Align efforts with other initiatives Assumption – starting with data not an issue
  • Advocacy strategy - six elements 1. Develop a communication objective 2. Identify the target audiences 3. Develop a message 4. Identify the appropriate channels of communication 5. Consider the advantages and challenges 6. Assess information use
  • 1) Develop a communication objective • Identify the main findings – storyline • 2 to 3 recommendations • What do you want to see happen? • 500 to 700 word opinion piece 5 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6
  • 2) Identify target audiences  Who can translate the information into action?  Who has influence and resources that can support the action?  Who can affect the outcome of this action?  Who will oppose this action?
  • Importance of Knowing Your Stakeholders  View activities from different perspectives  Have different degrees of understanding  Need / want different information  Need information at different levels of complexity  Have different intensities of interest  Have different roles in the decision-making process
  • Stakeholder Analysis Matrix and Engagement Plan Purpose:  To ensure that needs and values of relevant stakeholders are understood to support data use in decision making Description:  Identify relevant stakeholders in the process.  Determine appropriate strategies for engaging with stakeholders.
  • Stakeholder Analysis Matrix Name of Stakeholder organization, group or individual Stakeholder description Primary purpose, affiliation, funding Potential role in the issue or activity Level of knowledge of the issue Level of commitment Support or oppose the activity, to what extent, and why? Available resources Staff, money, technology, information, influence
  • Stakeholder Engagement Plan Stakeholder organization, group, or individual Potential role in the activity Engagement strategy How will you engage this stakeholder in the activity? Responsible for follow-up strategy and feedback
  • 2) Identify target audiences Understand your audience Segment by characteristic Target groups with similar characteristics Consider communication context for target audience
  • 2) Identify target audiences Understand your audience Tailor message to individual:  Knowledge base  Experience with issue  Health and data literacy  Core values
  • 3) Develop a message • Align message with information needs of target audience: • Accountability • Convince or persuade / raise awareness • Educate or inform • Clarify reasons for success / failure • Lessons learned • Gather support
  • 3) Develop a message • Goal: Overall program or policy improvement that you want to take place • Objective: Specific communication outcome you aim to produce to achieve the overall goal • Strategy: Approach to achieve objective
  • 3) Develop a message • Brief on how new information affects specific individuals/group/public’s health • What’s wrong & new? • Why does it matter? • What should be done about it?
  • 3) Develop a message • Write like a journalist: • 20% problem and 80% solution • Call for action • Simple and short sentences • Active vs. passive voice • Avoid technical jargon
  • 3) Develop a message • Review your story: • Current consensus on health topic • How much data tells the story? • Limitations of data • Assess scope/resources needed to support effort
  • 4) Communication channels  Email  Face-to-face  Presentation  Final Report  Executive summary  Newsletter  Social Media  Brochure  Poster  Video  Photographs  Public Forum
  • Channel - Program managers Information Needs  Design  Planning  Improvement  Management  Operations Communication Methods  Audiovisual presentation with charts & graphs  Summary reports  Executive summaries  Detailed report with site- specific information
  • Channel - Government / private sector Information Needs  Policy development  Resource allocation  Strategic planning  Show health or financial impact Communication Methods  Dissemination workshop  Face-to-face meetings  Policy forums  Policy briefs, brochures, & executive summaries  Audio visual
  • Channel - General public Information Needs  Public awareness  Enable people to make evidence-based decision about own health  Generate support for policy initiatives Communication Methods  Print/social media  Television/Radio  Web-based media  Public forum
  • Channel - Donors Information Needs  Assess accountability & program effectiveness  Investment decisions  Future-oriented projects/interventions  Database for public access Communication Methods  Peer-reviewed article  Research database  Presentation at conference  Websites  Distribution lists
  • Policy advocacy - tips  Background research policy maker  Network and relationships  Understand preferences for (in)formal communication and timing  Coordinate with allies  Seek media attention to support strategy  Listen to the opposition
  • Test the message  Ideas resonate with target audience  Hear what you want them to hear  Elicits intended response  Choose the setting where you hope to expose the audience to your message
  • Activity: Develop an advocacy strategy Answer advocacy strategy questions 1-4 1. What is the communication objective?  main findings, recommendations, what you want to see happen 2. Who are the target audiences? (primary)  Who can translate information into action?  Who has influence and resources that can support the action
  • Activity: Develop an advocacy strategy 3. What is your message? (250 words)  What’s wrong & new? Why does it matter?  20% problem, 80% solution  Call to action, info needs of audience 4. What are appropriate channels of communication & why? (2) ** Activity time 25 minutes
  • Activity: Develop an elevator speech  Brief and to the point quickly  Be definitive  Avoid technical jargon  Use data & local examples  Anticipate opposition / prepare responses Activity time: 10 minutes
  • Assessing the Effects of Advocacy Efforts
  • Why assess effect?  Validates the intervention Provides additional evidence that using data can improve decision making  Demand for future data informed activities Helps identify best practices in data communication & use
  • How can you assess program effects?  Did the target audience see and understand the message?  Was it understood that the message was based on data?  Were recommendations acted upon?  Has there been an evaluation of the impacts of such action?  Has the program status changed?
  • Methods for assessing effect  Key Informant Interviews  Focus Groups  Survey or Questionnaire  “Data Use Log”  Ad hoc mentions  Mass media tracking  Feedback from stakeholders
  • Session evaluation Thank you!
  • Keep in touch Tara Nutley tnutley@futuresgroup.com Join Data Use Net To: listserv@unc.edu From: youremail@youremail.com Subject: Subscribe Data Use Net
  • MEASURE Evaluation is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and is implemented by the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in partnership with Futures Group International, ICF Macro, John Snow, Inc., Management Sciences for Health, and Tulane University. The views expressed in this presentation do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.