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Policy advocacy is an effort to change policies in legislative, agency, and community settings by establishing new policies, improving existing ones, or defeating the policy initiatives of other people, that aim to help relatively powerless groups to improve their resources and opportunities.

Policy Advocacy

Policy advocacy is an effort to change policies in legislative, agency, and community settings by establishing new policies, improving existing ones, or defeating the policy initiatives of other people, that aim to help relatively powerless groups to improve their resources and opportunities.

Purpose

Policy advocacy is an effort to change policies in legislative, agency, and community settings by establishing new policies, improving existing ones, or defeating the policy initiatives of other people, that aim to help relatively powerless groups to improve their resources and opportunities.

In this discipline, you'll create policy briefs which analyze a policy, argue that something should done and tell us how to fix it.

Why

How do you make the world a better place?  You might become an activist, a journalist, or simply an informed citizen.  But in all cases, you'll be working for or against the national, state and local policies that affect our work, our health, our education and our social lives. 

Many of the things that affect your life: the availability of good jobs, the safety of your community, access to health care, and the quality of the environment, depend on policy—the laws, rules and programs we vote for to determine how our society works.

If you want to make a positive change you need to analyze and change policy.

The Design Process

Policy Advocacy can be thought of as a process of design.  A design process describes the the set of methods you use to make some change in the world, when you use them and why.  Each phase of the design process (shown above) describes the a set of methods with a common goal.  In this design process, we have 6 phases:

  • Focus -- in which you pick an important problem that your team can solve
  • Understand -- in which you try to understand the nature of the policy problem and existing solutions
  • Define -- in which you choose the policy goals you want to achieve
  • Conceive -- in which you identify the best solutions to the problem
  • Build -- in which you write and present a policy brief
  • Test -- in which you test the effectiveness of the brief on your audience.

To get started, figure out which phase of design most applies to your project and use one of the methods to move you forward.  If you're starting from scratch, go to the Focus phase.

And so...

We'd leave you with a final thought:

"Who will govern the governors?" There is only one force in the nation that can be depended upon to keep the government pure and the governors honest, and that is the people themselves. They alone, if well informed, are capable of preventing the corruption of power, and of restoring the nation to its rightful course if it should go astray. They alone are the safest depository of the ultimate powers of government.
—Thomas Jefferson

Remember that a country is only as good as it's citizens.