Past Edition
Edition Four, 2002
NGOs & Advocacy
A voice for the poor?

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Edition Summary:
ALL NGOs - even if they would seem to be advocates for the poor - have agendas of their own. So claims Eduardo Nunes on page 21 of this issue. Nunes, director of Strategy and Policy for World Vision Brazil, goes a step further, suggesting that it could be argued that NGOs cannot truly speak for the poor. (Read his full text and you'll discover he's not entirely critical of NGOs - after all, he works for one.) Given what Nunes suggests, one could ask, what's the point of trying? As even Nunes and other contributors to this issue have found, despite daunting challenges, endless meetings, and often baffling global summits, advocacy work is making a difference, even for the poor. Anti-Slavery International's Child Labour Advocacy Officer Pins Brown points to the impact ASI - the world's oldest human rights organisation - has had since it was founded in 1839, and continues to have today. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Rudd Lubbers says that public advocacy - especially with the weight of media focus behind it - can have enormous impact on the plight of refugees and displaced persons. And Richard Bennett, General Secretary of the UK-based international development network, BOND, says that even groups with widely diverse interests, when focused on global poverty and injustice, can have profound impact. Doing advocacy may not always bring about desired results - and even when it does, the process can be painfully slow. But the alternative, as one contributor puts it, is a one-dimensional approach to development that loses sight of the broader context in which the poor seek to overcome poverty.
  • Calling attention to hidden crises - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Rudd Lubbers discusses the fact that the crises the world sees - due to extensive media coverage - usually receive the most help. But it doesn't always have to be that way, he claims.
  • NGO legitimacy - voice or vote? - Michael Edwards, director of Governance and Civil Society for the Ford Foundation, helps clarify the role of NGOs in global advocacy.
  • Campaigning for education - Global Campaign for Education Co-ordinator Anne Jellema says education, paradoxically, may be cursed with too much support.
  • Pursuing policy change
  • Long-haul fights
  • Challenges for Northern and Southern NGOs
  • Finding a voice in all the noise
  • Offering constructive alternatives
  • Advocacy in complex settings
  • Advocacy in a network of Northern NGOs
  • Carving a niche in New York
  • Advocacy and NGOs - in search of legitimacy
  • Filling in the gaps
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