The main purpose of monitoring is to hold States accountable for their actions related to the right to education. Therefore, writing a human rights report should not be the end-goal of the monitoring exercise, but rather the springboard for effectiveadvocacy.
As a rule, the overall goal of your advocacy activities related to a monitoring exercise is to influence policy-makers to adopt the recommendations you set out in your report. Governments often have a whole set of political, economic and other interests that influence the extent to which they may be willing to adopt the necessary policies to implement the right to education. Therefore, typically, it will not be sufficient to apprise decision-makers of your findings and make your recommendations for them to adopt them. Rather, you need to think about what leverage you have and how you can put pressure on relevant decision-makers to adopt your recommendations regarding the right to education.
Types of advocacy strategies
There are many strategies that you could use to advance your advocacy goals. These include:
Report to human rights mechanisms
There are various human rights mechanisms at the national,regional and international level that monitor the implementation of the right to education and could be used to report violations of the right to education or gaps in implementation. For information on how to report to international human rights mechanisms related to the right to education (UN treaty bodies, the Human Rights Council, UN Special Rapporteurs, UNESCO Committee on Conventions and Recommendations) as well as to regional and national human rights mechanisms, seehere.
To strengthen your leverage in your advocacy efforts, you may want to join forces with other individuals and organisations that share your concerns regarding the right to education and want to promote similar recommendations. There arevarious types of partners that you may consider teaming up with for your advocacy efforts. In selecting them you should take into account how they can complement the skills, resources, contacts and experience of your own group; the political context around the issues you are trying to promote; and the objectives you are trying to achieve.
Use the courts
There are judicial and quasi-judicial mechanisms to litigate on the right to education at national, regional and national level. To explore issues surrounding the decision to take this course of action in a case related to the right to education, seehere.
Parliamentarians can be particularly useful allies for promoting your advocacy goals. Typically, parliamentarians have little time for research and may appreciate receiving well-researched information from civil society organisations. This could help them to develop appropriate policies and to hold governments to account for implementing them. You may consider holding meetings with relevant parliamentary committees (eg the education or the human rights committees, etc) to present your findings as well as working with individual parliamentarians who support your advocacy messages, so that they use their leverage to put pressure on policy-makers.
Work with the media
Using the media effectively to convey your findings and recommendations is a key ingredient to any advocacy effort. Working with the media can help you reach out to many people in order to:
Raise awareness of the issue you have identified and how it affects people.
Show them that there is a way of dealing with the issue.
Enlist them to put pressure on the government to adopt your recommendations.
Somegeneral rules may help you to work effectively with the media. There are various types of media, including TV, radio, newspapers, Internet, etc. When selecting which to use, you should consider the relativeadvantages and disadvantages of each of these forms.
Bear in mind that you may need to adapt the content of your monitoring report for implementing each of these strategies. For instance, if you are submitting ashadow report to aUN human rights treaty body you will need to focus on those aspects of your monitoring initiative and recommendations related to the mandate of the treaty body and explicitly link your concerns with thehuman rights standards related to the corresponding convention. If, on the other hand, you plan to start a public campaign or to reach out to the media, you will need to summarise your findings in a succinct and attractive manner, so as to draw the attention of the public and journalists. In short, you should consider thevarious ways in which to spread your advocacy message.
Criteria for selecting advocacy strategies
To select the most appropriate strategies to promote your advocacy efforts, you should take into account anumber of factors:
Who you are
The identity, public standing, skills, experience and resources of your group will influence which strategies you adopt. For instance, if you are a local NGO with very limited resources, you probably will not be able to undertake a large nation-wide advocacy campaign, unless you collaborate closely with other groups that have greater resources and experience working at that level.
Who are the stakeholders?
There are probably many different individuals, organisations, departments and institutions that have a stake (either directly or indirectly) in the change you hope to bring about. Amongst all these stakeholders, there are likely to be some who approve of the change you want, others who oppose it and some who do not have strong feelings either way. To determine which strategies to adopt, you will need to take into account who your potential allies and opponents are, what their interests and motivations are regarding the issues you are promoting, and what power they have.
Timing of your advocacy efforts
The adoption of some strategies may be tied to particular events taking place at a specific time. For instance, if a UN treaty body will be discussing your country’s compliance with a human rights treaty that is relevant to the issues you are raising you may decide to produce a shadow report based on the monitoring report you have produced.