How do I advocate before the local government?
The context of each country, or even local district, can vary greatly based on the government directives therein. Aside from determining a country’s approach to residential care facilities and alternative care, a government can also issue specific directives on service provision that either enhance or diminish what a program is able to accomplish.
Advocacy may be an important starting point for your organization if the context you work in has policies or practices that are not in alignment with family based social services.
BUILD A COALITION
Governments are more likely to respond when they see the concerns of multiple actors in a given field. Determine what the most pressing issues are for children in your area and approach the government with other service providers and community members.
Government offices are a place for formality and officials will want to have letters of the request. Ask them if there is a particular format that they like to see when documentation is submitted. Include a rubber stamp for your organization if this is customary in your context.
Advocacy can take time and patience and persistence may be necessary. As things change rapidly, being a regular presence in your government office can help things move to see local policy develop in a way that helps the children you are serving.
Honor the government by inviting them to play a part in your operation or the proposal that you are submitting to them. If there is an ethical way for them to be directly involved, this can help things move faster.
EXPAND YOUR PERSPECTIVE
Try and understand things from the government’s perspective. Most often, they’re just trying to do their job. Ask them what their goals are, and see if you could help them accomplish their goals while you accomplish your own goals at the same time.