This year’s Spring Advocacy Forum was held on 3 and 4 May and was kindly hosted by LM International in sunny Stockholm. Our purpose was to motivate, connect and inspire participants to continue operating as effective partners in the advocacy landscape.
Show & Tell Advocacy priorities
The first day began with our Swedish members’ presentations of their advocacy strategies and initiatives.
- Sauda Luzze, LM International, introduced an ongoing project that aims to reduce the distance between competent young people with a foreign background from marginalised areas in Stockholm and EU decision-makers;
- Kristin Flodström, PMU, described the lessons learned from an advocacy campaign that aimed to push for a commitment to allocate 1% of Sweden’s GNI to development funding;
- Jessica Albertson and Anna Sperl, Erikshjälpen, presented the report ‘Hear the children’s voices’, based on consultations with more than 120 children and submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Participants had the occasion to exchange their views on what was successful and what could be improved, discussing common challenges and potential recommendations.
The 2023 Advocacy Hub Workplan: Putting Words into Practice
A lively discussion addressed practical ways of actualising the Advocacy Hub objectives while reflecting on individual and shared concerns. Suggestions for becoming more active in the Hub’s work included: gathering data from local partners and inviting them for input into strategies, having the Advocacy coordinator provide advocacy training to member’s partners, and sharing best practices.
Connecting EU-Level Advocacy with the National and Local Level
In the afternoon Benjamin Hauville, EU Policy Advisor at CONCORD Sweden, elaborated on how to advocate EU actors from Member States and what CSOs can expect when trying to influence EU processes. This was an enriching opportunity to gain insight into the interconnectedness of advocacy and receive advice on how to navigate the EU system.
Becoming more effective Parliamentary Lobbyists
Another excellent speaker, former member of the Swedish Parliament and former MEP Hon. Aleksander Gabelic, opened the second day of the Forum with an interactive discussion and practical tips on parliamentary lobbying at national and European level.
“A good advocacy strategy requires moving like a chess player: you should not only focus on reaching the king, but also develop a strategy involving other pawns before achieving the final goal”.
EU-CORD Advocacy Coordinator, Dr Tabeth Masengu
A Fireside Chat with two LM Board members
To bridge the gap between theory and practice in advocating for structural change, Charity Resian and Ntobuah Julius Mveny shared their personal experiences regarding human rights issues on FGM and disability inclusion, describing the background of their journeys and their current advocacy initiatives.
Engaging Southern-based Partners; How will we make this happen?
The final session aimed to reflect, learn, brainstorm and imagine what advocacy at the local level could be like. Istefanus Gimba, a local actor working with Tearfund Netherlands, reported on his experience with advocacy, underlining the importance of working with stakeholders in the project locations and exploring opportunities with EU delegations.
The Advocacy Forum once again proved to be an excellent space for valuable and inspiring conversations, and a unique opportunity for members to interact with each other and define the future of the Hub’s strategy.
The next Advocacy Forum will be held in The Netherlands on the 6th and 8th of November alongside the General Assembly.