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Step 4: Strategise

Partnerships and coalitions can be a good way of building support for your cause.

They may be particularly effective and important in situations where your advocacy work is perceived as a challenge to the status quo or a threat to authorities.

Make a map of your partners and allies

It may be a good idea to involve potential allies and partners and youth directly concerned about the issue you want to address already in Steps 2 and 3, to build a sense of shared ownership and commitment among the main partners and to promote meaningful youth participation.

Once you have identified key aims and objectives as well as how you want to achieve them, start to map out partners and stakeholders, including those that you want to target and try to influence. Some things to think about:

  • For each partner or stakeholder, consider their level of influence over decisions concerning your aims and objectives, as well as the extent to which they support your aims and objectives. It may help to use a graphical representation, as displayed below. Focusing on the players with both high influence and high support is likely to be most effective. You may want to consider how to build more support among the actors with high influence and low support, as well as how to leverage those who have high support even if their level of influence is low.
  • Be as specific as possible. For example, if you identify a civil society organization as a key partner, check if the organization has specific policy and priorities that are in line with yours, or whether a single team or individual within the organization is most closely aligned with your cause and what their influence can be.
  • Make sure to consider both youth and human rights actors, which may include:
    • Youth: Ministry of Youth, Parliamentary Committee responsible for youth issues, local authorities, youth-led and youth-focused civil society organizations such as Local or National Youth Councils, Youth Parliament, organizations representing and/or working with youth in vulnerable situations, informal youth networks, etc.
    • Human rights: Ministry of Justice and/or Ministry of the Interior, Parliamentary Committee responsible for human rights, National Human Rights Institution, civil society organizations focusing on the promotion and protection of human rights, etc.

If youth and human rights organizations are not already working together, it may be a good opportunity to set up new partnerships for youth rights advocacy.

  • When you identify the main partners you want to reach out to, think about what is most likely to guarantee their support and how you can convince them to partner with you. For example:
    • Clearly communicate your aims and objectives to them
    • What is the added value of your initiative or campaign, and how will it contribute to their overall goals? In other words, why is it in their interest to join forces with you?
    • What kind of support are you looking for? Be as specific as possible: are you forming a coalition of organizations, are you requesting resources (e.g. human or financial), are you searching for partners who can amplify your messages?

Step 5: Develop Messaging

Now that you know your objectives, how you want to achieve them, and who you will target to work towards human rights change, it’s time to work on your advocacy messages.