Advocacy programmes seek to change the behaviour of those key stakeholders who can have an influence on a certain policy issue. New legislation must be passed, a policy must be developed and adopted, a budget must be allocated or existing decisions or standards must be implemented. These are typical outcomes of advocacy approaches. For outsiders or development practitioners who are used to service delivery programmes, advocacy programmes may seem unsuccessful if these outcomes are not reached.
Interim outcomes can prevent you from making hasty and inaccurate judgements. Interim outcomes are intermediary outcomes that may indicate that the wished-for outcome of the advocacy campaign has moved closer. The targeted decision-maker may not yet have taken the wished-for decision, yet your advocacy campaign might still have helped new champions to stand up and defend your cause, the way in which the issue is raised and discussed might have improved, new coalitions might have formed; more or different donors might have offered their support, or your alliance might have grown in strength and numbers.
My tip to all advocacy monitors and evaluators is to try to identify these interim outcomes in advance and – where possible – measure progress regarding these changes. They may be strong indicators of how close the advocacy efforts have come to the desired outcome!
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