On December 2nd, the Net-Works project partners met in Tetovo (North-Macedonia) and online for the 3rd project meeting. All the partners were glad to meet each other in a hybrid way to take stock of what has been done in the last few months regarding the project and what is expected for the future
The day after, the partners gathered again in Tetovo and online, this time for the 3rd hybrid peer-to-peer working session, this time dedicated to advocacy, led by ISEN and AFF.
After a short recap of what has been done during the previous sessions, the partners started the work by brainstorming on what “advocacy” and ‘lobbying” mean. It was a very interesting moment, most notably the drawing of a distinction between advocacy and lobbying which concluded that lobbying was a part of advocacy. Globally, advocacy is seen as a way to change the public perspective on a subject, to influence policy making or just to share information and raise awareness on a topic, it could target public authorities or the wider public. Whereas lobbying concerns only communicating with decision makers and ask for legislative changes.
Participants then discussed issues affecting social economy organisations in their countries. For example, in Portugal, there is no law protecting work integration social enterprises (WISEs) anymore, in Serbia, there is no legal recognition of social enterprises. However, the participants discussed the relevance of such a law as it can also be limiting for the sector.
The discussions then went to “campaigning” and defining what is a campaign. They agree that the first role of a campaign is to raise awareness and to share information, they are an instrument of advocacy. ISEN presented a few tips to run an effective campaign:
- Define your issue
- Gather evidence
- Find useful allies
- Know who to lobby
- Use a range of tactics
- Develop collaboration
Based on those tips, the partners then separated for a group exercise where they had to come up with a campaign for a cause affecting social economy.
It was a very interesting peer-to-peer session, where all the partners were able to exchange their ideas on advocacy and campaigning and learn from each others. Overall, lobbying and advocacy are answers to the WHAT question on an organisation, its mission, values and principles. Campaigning is an instrument to show HOW an organisation put its mission into practice. The project will work further on this topic and provide some guidelines for networks on advocacy and campaigning.