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Tips for effective advocacy: lessons from the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa


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Preseantation by Daniel Otunge of OFAB-AATF during The Scinnovent Centre's training on the Art of Influencing Policy Change: tools and strategies for researchers, held on 12-14 February 2013 in Nairobi

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Tips for effective advocacy: lessons from the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa

  1. 1. Tips for effective advocacy: lessonsfrom the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa Sinnovent Policy Change Workshop: Feb 14, 2013
  2. 2. Presentation Outline• About AATF• About OFAB• What is advocacy• Purpose of Advocacy• Key advocacy techniques• Key Biotech advocacy stakeholders• Effective advocacy tips• Discussions
  3. 3. About AATF
  4. 4. These people represent the many others we work withThey have different United by desire tobackgrounds eradicate poverty and ensure food security in SSA AATF facilitates their working together – towards prosperous farmers and a food secure SSA
  5. 5. About AATFAATF is a not-for profit organization thatfacilitates public-private partnerships toaccess and deliver appropriate agriculturaltechnologies for use by resource-poorfarmers in sub-Saharan Africa
  6. 6. AATF Vision & MissionVision - Prosperous farmers and afood secure AfricaMission - Access and deliverappropriate agricultural technologiesfor sustainable use by smallholderfarmers in SSA
  7. 7. Current AATF activities (con’t)4. Protecting banana from banana bacterial wilt Developing Xanthomonas wilt-resistant transgenic banana from East African germplasm, using two genes found in sweet pepper, namely pflp and hrap5. Biological control of Aflatoxin Using bio-control product, Aflasafe, with holistic strategies to address aflatoxin problems in maize and peanuts6. Improving rice productivity Developing rice varieties with Nitrogen-Use Efficency, Water-Use Efficiency, and Salt Tolerant Traits; hybrid rice7. Cassava mechanisation Brokering access to mechanisation and agro-processing equipment for development and use in Africa, accelerating harvesting and processing
  8. 8. Enabling Activities• Public awareness: Case of Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) • enhances knowledge-sharing and awareness of biotechnology • contributes to building an enabling environment for decision making on agricultural biotechnology in Africa• Trends monitoring • R&D Priorities • Regulations for GM crops • Evolution of Seed Systems • IP policy and legislation
  9. 9. PPP in Action – MR-Cowpea Tech Transfor- Provider mation NARS: IAR, INERA & CSIR Monsanto CSIRO Licensing Negotiation Field testing & AATF Trait introgression KH Project Trust Regulatory Compliance Co-ordination Communication & outreachNGICA On farm demonstration NARS, NGOs, Seed Co., CBO Consumer acceptance Seed distribution systems Seed Multiplication Product stewardship and Distribution F F F F F F
  10. 10. About OFABAIM - To enhance knowledge-sharing and awareness on biotechnology that will – raise understanding and appreciation of agricultural biotechnology and – contribute to building an enabling environment for decision making OFAB is expected to ensure that quality knowledge is disseminated to both policy makers and the larger public through provision of factual information
  11. 11. OFAB Vision, Mission & ObjectivesVision: A food secure Africa where agriculturalbiotechnology is making significant contributionsMission: To enhance knowledge-sharing andawareness on agricultural biotechnology that will raiseunderstanding and appreciation of the technology andcontribute to building an enabling environment forinformed and timely decision-making
  12. 12. OFAB ObjectivesThe objectives of OFAB are to:• establish and manage a range of platforms to enhance understanding of biotechnology in agriculture for productivity;• contribute to informing policy decision making processes on matters of agricultural biotechnology through provision of factual, well researched and scientific information;• forge strategic alliances for optimization of resources through convening and encouraging inter-institutional networking and knowledge sharing in the agricultural biotechnology space;• enhance targeted capacity strengthening that will improve communication across all sectors interested in biotech for Africa’s development.
  13. 13. Management ModelOFAB is managed through collaborative efforts betweenAATF & like minded institutions supported by aProgramming Committee (PC). Roles of PC include:• Provide strategic direction to the country chapter• Development of strategic plans• Events planning and management• Development of action plans and budgetingHost institution serves as the secretariatThe PC is made up of representatives from differentrelevant institutions.
  14. 14. OFAB Chapters and Hosts OFAB Kenya ISAAA OFAB OFAB Ghana OFAB Uganda CSIR AFRICA UNCST AATF OFAB OFABBurkina Faso Tanzania INERA COSTECH OFAB Nigeria NABDA
  16. 16. What is advocacy?For OFAB advocacy simply means: Actively supporting a worthy cause, and trying to get others to support it as well Speaking up in an organized manner to drawing attention to an important policy issue Taking deliberate steps to influence policy making process
  17. 17. Purpose of AdvocacyWith regards to biotech in Africa, the followingare main purposes of advocacy are to:• Promote biosafety and biotechnology legal, regulatory and policy change,• Promote acceptance and uptake of biotech products• Counter propaganda spread by groups and individuals opposing application of the technology and use of its products
  18. 18. Key advocacy techniquesThe following are some of the advocacytechniques used by OFAB• Informing• Dialoguing• Sensitizing• Petitioning• Mobilizing• Negotiating• Pressuring
  19. 19. Key biotech advocacy targetsThe following are the main categories ofOFAB biotech advocacy program in Africa. Decision makers (The Executive, Legislature and Judiciary) Beneficiaries (farmers, scientists, regulators, relief agencies, consumers, millers, industry) Allies and partners (media, NGOs, donors, RECs, industry) Resistant groups (NGOs, media)
  21. 21. 1. Advocacy is a daily activity• Advocacy is not a one-time activity, rather it is a process.• It is not a one-hundred meter dash to the finish line.• It is more akin to a cross-country marathon race full of ups and downs.For example, it took Kenya almost a decade topass the Biosafety Bill into law, meaning ten yearsof sustained advocacy campaign
  22. 22. 2. Gather policy and political informationBefore you begin your advocacy initiative, it is vitalto: Have clear understanding of how key institutions work (parliament, ministries, AG, media) Identify decision/policy makers to target Build a network of supporters (Netmapping, stakeholder mapping) Gather all the necessary information you need on the issue Develop a media strategy Develop an advocacy strategy Have a budget to implement the strategies
  23. 23. 3. Assess risksThe more you understand the socio-politicalcontext in which you operate, the less likely youare to make a costly strategic mistake.In Tanzania for example, OFAB learnt that quietthat includes dialoging, informing, sensitizing andnegotiating is more acceptable to policy makersthan mobilizing the public and the media topressurize the government.The same also works well in Uganda but in Kenyapressurizing and mobilizing works faster.
  24. 24. 4. Develop specific goals• The secret for success in advocacy is to always pursue a single goal at a time, e.g. enactment of biosafety law.• Working towards one goal at a time helps to avoid the risk of spreading yourself too thin.• Focusing on one goal also helps you to avoid being viewed as a nuisance by policy makers• Even so, one can still have small SMART objectives/activities that can be attained in the short or medium term
  25. 25. 5. Cultivate strategic relationships• Undertaking an advocacy is a team effort• It is best done through alliances and friends• Globally, organizations supportive of and those opposed to modern biotechnology have combined forces to share synergies for maximum impact• They organize activities including workshops conferences, demonstrations and seeing-is-believing tours
  26. 26. 6. Identify and build key championsEffective champions must be or have: Trust worthy, Integrity, Credible, Supportive and committed to the cause KnowledgeableNetmapping can be used effectively to identifysuitable champions
  27. 27. 7. Be media savvy• Developing media relations skills is essential to effective advocacy• A good understanding of how the media work and utilizing that knowledge effectively is likely to make you more successful in getting them to support your course.• This is vital because the media’s agenda- setting and opinion-shaping role is well documented• Cultivating media relations takes time and resources
  28. 28. Ghanaian Journalists display their DNA after extraction
  29. 29. 8. Highlight benefits & cost of inaction• To get policy makers to act positively, it is vital to highlight benefits of your cause and costs of failure• For instance, OFAB relies heavily on findings of socio-economic studies on the benefits of biotech crops for effective messaging
  30. 30. 9. Maintain your focus• In advocacy consistency and focus on one goal at a time always pay off.• Never take your eyes off the prize even after winning : there are several adversaries who will never rest until they rob you of victory• Kenya biotech stakeholders’ strategic mistake was to celebrate too soon and let premature feelings of accomplishment :• Results: Ban on GMO imports, Stringent regulation on labeling
  31. 31. 10. Keep track of issues• Plant your network members into state commissions, agencies and relevant international bodies.• Designate associates as liaisons to commissions, agencies and bodies of interest to get prior information. E.g. OFAB Ghana chapter PC members also serve in the NBC• Track activities of parliament, RECs, UN, gov’ts• Closely monitor media reporting on the issue
  32. 32. 11. Be ready to tell your storyAs an advocate you and your networkmust: Be ready to tell your story on short notice Prepare messages focused on positive issues and benefits• A good example is a message map• Rule: APP (Anticipate, Prepare and Practice)
  33. 33. Example of a message map
  34. 34. Thank