The dictionary defines advocacy as a movement by an individual or by a group of people to drum up support and take action to influence public policy or decisions within the political, economic, social and institutional systems. It can include many activities that a person or an organization undertakes such as public speaking engagements or attending interviews through the television or radio to reach as wide an audience as possible. It can also include other activities such as hiring writers to publish articles regarding certain issues of interest, publishing research studies that confirm what they are saying or reinforce their views, or taking a poll to find out the reaction of the general public regarding policies that are currently being debated in.
Members of an advocacy group may belong to a certain demographic segment of society such as businessmen or people engaged in a particular craft, professionals such as lawyers, government workers or other groups within the community who needs a mouthpiece or valid representation in order to be heard in thepolicy making body of the land. The movement is characterized by members or stakeholders who share something in common such as beliefs, goals, religion, interests or some other things that makes them want to belong to a certain group and most of the time they also share the same idea on how to achieve what they asking for.
Advocacy can take many forms. There are many problems besetting society that an issue could trigger mass reaction from a sector of society to stand up and take notice. One of the most obscure examples of this is the recent release of a new beauty product called “luminess air” which has prompted a whole mass of people to write their own luminess air reviews offering their opinions on how well this new device works.
They may also take different approaches in their method of expressing their views or their aspirations to bring about the change into society such as conducting a mass rally, a prayer vigil, a march through the streets, lobbying in congress, putting up billboards and posters and so on. Some groups may be more aggressive than others and lean towards the extreme.
People from different walks of life have different views and beliefs. When these people believe that they have the numbers to exact a change or influence policy, this advocacy is taken to a whole new level and advocacy becomes a movement. Through the years, the world has been an arena for different forms of advocacy that came into being.
Political, social, economic and environmental issues have been cropping up here and there and members of the movement try to make as much noise as possible to be noticed. If the members belong to a distinguished group, the more effective and powerful it can be. People are starting to become more aware and enlightened about a lot of issues that needs to be addressed.
Ignorance is the worst enemy of advocacy. It leaves people in the dark about a lot of issues that concern them. That is why it is important to educate people through information campaign. With education, people will become more vigilant and more pro-active. Education empowers the people to stand and speak up against issues that they are not comfortable with. When people are better informed, they are more willing to participate in agenda setting and more responsive to the call for change.