The stories shared highlighted how Coalitions' engage in advocacy efforts towards increasing the government’s responsibility and accountability towards improving health outcomes of girls, women and their babies. It is important to note that across sub-Sahara Africa, health challenges remain the same and, in each context, we have skilled advocates pursuing change with zeal.
The advocacy learning event opened doors for collaborations, other advocates including DSW, AMREF Health Africa (Youth in Action project) in Kenya and LAFIYA an Options Consultancy Services programme in Nigeria were part of the planning and delivery of the event. This collaboration provided a great networking opportunity for sustained advocacy efforts and campaigns across the continent.
Advocacy should be context specific
Kenya and Nigeria both have decentralised systems of governance with great disparities in terms of basic structure of governance. While Kenya has county governments, Nigeria has States and both of these units have the responsibility to deliver healthcare. What we know is that the political and administrative systems and how governments deliver services to its people is different across Africa. Each advocate during the learning event, pointed how the advocacy priority issue was specific to the local context. Further, they mapped local stakeholders and their influence and power dynamics in each county or state.
Relationships are key to achieve desired change
During the event, someone in the audience posed a question asking the coalitions how they have managed to maintain strong relationships with government actors. This question went further to understand what role does different government officers play in the advocacy process?
All E4A-MamaYe supported Coalitions use the political economy approach to inform their advocacy interventions. This requires them to identify how their issues align with the political agenda and what powers do different decision makers hold, what influences their decision making and who influences how they act. Therefore, within the health departments or ministries, strong relationships built among Coalition members and government would be key to achieve desired change.
Looking into the future, these Coalitions agreed to continue sharing advocacy experiences and best practices in their different contexts. In six months’, the Coalitions will convene another advocacy learning event. In Kenya, the Bungoma RMNCAH Network was inspired by the LASAM4MNCH in Lagos Nigeria to develop and use scorecards as advocacy tools. It would be exciting to hear how each advocate takes forward learning. Already, all E4A-MamaYe supported Coalitions have embarked on a journey towards sustainability, building and strengthening their own capacity to continue driving change and save lives of girls, women and their babies.