Designing your awareness-raising activities

Civil society organizations use a range of approaches to reach out to and mobilize Canadians on international solidarity issues. For example: information kiosks, conferences, debates, awareness raising workshops, exhibitions, screenings, theatre, workshops in schools, contests, roleplay and simulations, volunteer activities, etc.

When debating which approach to use, ask yourself whether men and women and boys and girls will be able to participate, understand, express themselves and get involved on an equal footing.

Consider the following issues:

– Is the activity equally accessible to women/girls and men/boys?
– Are women/girls and men/boys equally available to participate in the activity?
– Does the activity equally appeal to women/girls and men/boys?
– Will they be able to equally express themselves during the activity?

Deciding who will be the target of your advocacy campaign

To bring about change we need to challenge our governments and promote our vision of international solidarity. Advocacy is a public mobilization strategy that allows citizens to express their aspirations in a democratic setting.

When planning an advocacy initiative you should do a power analysis (see ‘Further resources,’ below) to determine who your allies and opponents are, who you may be able to convince, and who doesn’t yet have an opinion on the issue. You should then work with your allies, respond to your opponents and build support among people and groups who are still undecided.

When doing your power analysis, try to find out what each of these groups thinks of gender equality issues. This will help you determine the likelihood they will support or counter your efforts to promote gender equality and you can then strategize accordingly.

For example, a power analysis could reveal that a member of parliament (MP) is willing to push for legislation related to your advocacy issue, but that they are not aware of women’s specific needs and may therefore oppose certain gender equality clauses. Based on this information you can craft a narrative that addresses this lack of information and seeks to overcome these misgivings.

The MP does not know much about gender equalityProvide the MP with information about the gender dimensions of the issue
The MP is resistant to gender equalityProvide the MP with information about the gender dimensions of the issue AND work with allies to help convince him or her

A power analysis that incorporates gender equality will help focus your efforts and increase the effectiveness of your campaign, namely by ensuring that you use the right strategies and activities to reach your targets at the right time.

By integrating gender equality in your advocacy initiatives, you will contribute to transforming gender power relations, advancing women’s empowerment and promoting social justice.

Further resources: