Press release

Advocacy for development

Published on
March 24, 2016

The book Advocacy for development by Jennifer Barrett, Margit van Wessel and Dorothea Hilhorst is now available on ISSUU. It makes available for practice the most important lessons from the evaluation of eight lobbying and advocacy programs carried out over the past five years by alliances of civil society organisations working in international development. The e-book offers insights and practical guidelines for donors, advocates and evaluators.

Monitoring and evaluation of advocacy for development is an emerging field. Many CSOs, donors and evaluators are now involved with advocacy. Questions of how to understand and assess programmes are urgent. This e-book seeks to contribute to practical capacity on this front on the basis of lessons learned during the largest evaluation of advocacy for development in history.

It is rooted in the findings of the Joint MFS II International Lobbying and Advocacy (ILA) Evaluation. The Co-Financing System (Medefinancieringsstelsel, MFS) was the Netherlands’ 2011–2015 grant structure. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs awarded €1.9 billion to 20 alliances of Dutch organisations through MFS II. This evaluation covered 2011 through 2014 and included eight ILA programmes with differing topics, locations, organisational setups, types of people they wished to influence, aims and strategies.

The MFS II ILA Evaluation was an opportunity to learn more about advocacy and its evaluation. In terms of geography, time and topic, the evaluation was a unique project in the development field, with a bigger scale than earlier work. Most previous studies on advocacy focused on national-level advocacy or on certain parts of just one programme. The ILA Evaluation gave the opportunity to examine different parts of advocacy processes, which can be complex, in many cases, and take place across multiple countries. This opportunity made it possible for the evaluation to improve the understanding of these processes and to contribute to better methods for advocacy evaluation.

The aims of the MFS II ILA Evaluation were 1) to assess the effectiveness, efficiency and relevance of ILA programmes; 2) to develop and apply new methods for the evaluation of the ILA programmes and 3) to make justified recommendations so that advocates can take up lessons for future development work. These aims led to a focus for the evaluation that was results-oriented, learning-oriented and analysis-oriented.

The e-book draws out the most important lessons learned through the findings of the Joint MFS II ILA Evaluation on the effectiveness, monitoring and evaluation of advocacy and development. It explains these lessons in practical terms, and was in large part designed to be directly usable by advocates, donors and evaluators. We also hope our lessons learned may advance reflection and further experimentation and development of advocacy evaluation approaches and tools.