When I get invited to evaluate an advocacy programme, my first suspicion is that the advocacy programme is usually much more than just an advocacy programme. A wise first step in any evaluation is to analyse the object of the evaluation; to check the “content of the basket”. In this process, I often realise that many components of larger advocacy programmes are actually capacity-building activities, networking activities, awareness-raising efforts or monitoring or research on the subject-matter of the advocacy.
Pre-conditions of Advocacy interventions
While all these types of activities are closely linked to advocacy strategies, they are in fact pre-conditions for engaging successfully with key decision-makers. Before a campaign can start coalition partners need to meet and connect, information needs to be collected to prove your points, beneficiaries may first need to become aware of the issue and of the solution you want to promote. Allies may need to build up their capacity. All these activities pave the way for you to inspire these decision-makers to change their behaviour. In other words: the outcomes of this networking, capacity-building, monitoring or research, or awareness-raising activities are the advocacy interventions.
Evaluate each component
This simple discovery has implications for the design of an evaluation as evaluating networking efforts or evaluating monitoring activities are different from evaluating the components that are truly about getting decision-makers to change. Capacity building activities are also of a different nature, and awareness-raising asks for different evaluation approaches as well.
Combine different evaluations
Evaluations of larger advocacy programmes often demand to combine different evaluations in one. Once these distinctions become clear, you will realise you may need different evaluation methods for each component.
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