Inter-Agency Collaborative Advocacy

Sphere India Collaborative Advocacy is a platform for humanitarian agencies to collaboratively advocate for assistance and protection of the rights of people affected with humanitarian crisis; promote reform of humanitarian system with focus on developing policies, designing and implementing better coordination, financing and accountability structures; create awareness on humanitarian issues and promote adherence to humanitarian principles; and address underlying causes of vulnerability.

Rationale

The experience of the past emergencies in India have shown the clear gaps in the delivery of response programs by government and humanitarian agencies and the aspirations set by the Sphere minimum standards and the process. There is also a growing realization in the humanitarian collective as Sphere India that all the humanitarian agencies put together can only meet a small percentage of the total humanitarian need. So, the effort of humanitarian agencies should focus on meeting the needs of most vulnerable and marginalized groups and taking on a strong advocacy program focused on government and other stakeholders to meet the gaps between the delivery and aspirations.

Strategic Objective

Some of the strategic objectives of Inter-Agency Collaboration for advocacy are:

  • Common Advocacy Platform: To build and strengthen a common forum for advocacy issues in humanitarian sector
  • Advocacy Mapping and Analysis: To map the existing advocacy efforts on humanitarian issues in India and analyze the gaps and identify and prioritize current and future advocacy issues in Humanitarian Sector
  • Advocacy campaign in identified areas: Some of the identified areas for advocacy are:
    • Social Inclusion: To identify and quantify social exclusion and mainstream inclusion in Humanitarian programming
    • Relief entitlement: To advocate for policies on minimum standards and review of state relief manuals as measures to promote quality and accountability
    • Relief Monitoring: To build awareness and mindset for common monitoring and evaluation of relief efforts amongst stakeholders.
    • Mainstreaming DRR in government policies and plans: To strengthen engagement with Planning Commission and nodal Ministries to incorporate disaster risk reduction activities in all its development plans and policies
    • Recovery Platform: To highlight the status of recovery post disasters in India and advocate for adequate and efficient recovery process
  • Creating Space for Civil Society Organizations:
    • Creating Formal Space: To negotiate with government for formal space for civil society organizations to get involved with government planning and decision making
    • Engaging legislature: To engage MPs and MLAs across party lines and provide information and secretarial support to them to table key issues for debates in the parliament and policy development
    • iii. Engaging Corporate: To engage corporate and for profit institutions for taking forward the social responsibility program and observing social ethics in their activities
    • iv. Engaging Media: To engage media to highlight humanitarian issues

Collaborative Advocacy in Practice

Even though Collaborative Advocacy as one of the theme of Sphere India was formally launched in 2009, Sphere India had been doing advocacy by engaging with government and other stakeholders since its foundation. Click here for details on activities and engagements pre Phase I
As most of the member organizations felt the need for Sphere India to be more focused and organized to have long term advocacy program based on agreed strategy to engage different stakeholders, a series of meetings and consultations were held with different member organizations and outreach partners of Sphere India to finalize the long term strategy of Sphere India Advocacy program and introduce Collaborative Advocacy as a separate theme and recruit a focal point for the same.

Phase I (2009-2010)

Collaborative Advocacy Phase I begun in the year 2009 with the core support from Christian Aid to initiate work on the identified strategic objectives of Collaborative Advocacy. A series of activities were done in Phase I which included advocacy on food security, consultations and debates on exclusion of Dalits, strategic engagement with National Disaster Management Authority by conducting State level consultation across India to initiate the process of introducing guidelines on minimum standards of disaster management in India, initiating discussions with corporate, legislators, and other government institutions. Click here for report on Collaborative Advocacy Phase I

Phase II (2010-2011)

Six month report and revise plan to be uploaded
Collaborative Advocacy Sub-Committee is constituted of the following organizations:

  • Action Aid
  • Christian Aid
  • Concern Worldwide
  • Cordaid
  • DanChurchAid
  • Oxfam India
  • Tearfund
  • Welthungerhilfe