Advocacy 101: What tools can we use?
Tags: #advocacy #lobbying #planning #tools #discussion #media #socialactions

Define advocacy, its outcomes and involved parties. Present and explain the 4 different groups of advocacy tools.

Learn what advocacy is and what are its outcomes. Learn who is involved in the advocacy process and how advocacy is planned. Learn 4 different groups of advocacy tools.

With less experienced groups there is going to be a need to explain the terms more thorough. Be aware of everyone’s level of knowledge about the topic.

Background information can be found in the OBESSU manual of school student rights (see preparation).


90 minutes

Set up the chairs in the form of a plenary.

20-30 people


Flipcharts, markers.

Find three advocacy definitions and write them to three flipchart papers. You can use these:

  • Advocacy is an activity by an individual or group which aims to influence decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions.
  • Advocacy is speaking acting, writing with minimal conflict of interest on behalf of the sincerely perceived interests of a disadvantaged person or group to promote, protect and defend their welfare and justice
  • Advocacy is taking action to help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain services they need. Have a copy of the OBESSU manual of school student rights at your side and look at pages 36-48 (can be found here) Prepare a big flip chart divided in 4 squares. In the corner of each square write one group of advocacy tools (Social action, media action, discussion, internal action). In addition, prepare little pieces of paper with specific tools written on them (see manual, page 42).

Activities step by step
Step 1:
10 Minutes

Hang the three flip chart papers with advocacy definitions on the wall of the room. Ask the participants to go around and select a definition which they like best. In the end, go back to plenary and ask the participants why they selected that particular definition.

Step 2:
10 Minutes

What advocacy aims towards is to influence decision makers to make a decision that is the cause of the advocacy campaign. Discuss with the participants who is involved in this process of advocacy, as well as who is responsible for what.

Step 3:
20 Minutes

Advocacy planning: The facilitator asks the participants to write down questions that organisations need to ask themselves when planning an advocacy campaigns: You can give examples with questions like:

  • What is the concrete objective?
  • Who has the power over the matter?
  • What are the different viewpoints about the issue? Do you have arguments to debate on those viewpoints and bring your counter-proposal forward?
  • What is the background of the matter?

The participants` questions are then put up on a big flipchart paper. At this step the facilitator can add question of his own. For another set of questions refer to the manual from the preparation part.

Step 4:
30 Minutes

Show or draw the 4 groups of advocacy tools (game):

The trainer briefly introduces the four groups and puts the flipchart on the wall (see preparation). Now a “show or draw game” is played. One participant will get a tool (a folded piece of paper from preparation), for example demonstration, and has 1 minute to draw) it to others on a flip chart or show (he/she chooses). This goes on for at least 3 tools per group (or more if there is time).

At the end the trainer puts other tools that are still left on the flip chart to complete the groups.

Step 5:
20 Minutes

To conclude the session, have a discussion about organisational realities. Ask participants to share about:

  • advocacy that they do in their organisations?
  • what tools have they used?
  • what has turned out to work well, and what didn't
  • what was more/less challenging?
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