CARE defines advocacy as the deliberate process of influencing those who make policy decisions. CARE's use of advocacy will always attempt to improve the livelihood of a significant number of people, target policy-makers and implementers at levels above the household and be rooted in CARE's field experience and core values (Beckwith 2000). Advocacy is an approach that CARE uses to complement its efforts to strengthen capacity for self-help, provide economic opportunities, deliver relief in emergencies and address discrimination in all its forms (Beckwith, 2000).
Advocacy is brought into the HLS analysis in the following ways. First, a livelihood analysis facilitates the identification of a broad hierarchy of causes, including the policy dimensions of the root causes of poverty. Second, advocacy interventions can expand the means and strategies for addressing policy-related root causes and therefore the scope or impact on household livelihood security. Third, the HLS framework helps establish an information base that will enable better positioning and the building of a credible case for advocacy. Fourth, through the HLS framework, advocacy may improve the support of donors towards investing in a holistic approach to solutions to poverty. Fifth, advocacy should be an integral part of or add value to CARE's ongoing/regular programmes, rather than be a project by itself. Through good problem analysis and programme design, advocacy strategies and activities may expand CARE's options for finding solutions. Sixth, all CARE programmes are beginning to work on identifying policy issues in assessments and analysing the policy environment in relation to planned programmes (Beckwith 2000).
There is a strong link between advocacy and a rights-based approach to development. First, a rights-based approach requires CARE to view the people it serves as rights-bearers. This implies a commitment on CARE's part to respect the people it works with and to help them in their efforts to realize their rights. CARE strives to raise people's awareness of their rights and to build and support their capacities to participate in decision-making processes that affect their lives. Second, a rights-based approach recognizes that governments are legally accountable for respecting, protecting, facilitating and fulfilling the rights of their citizens. Advocacy is a means for holding governments (at all levels) and other institutions accountable. Third, a rights-based approach affirms the importance of systematic identification of the root causes of livelihood insecurity and of a commitment to confront such causes in CARE's work through advocacy whenever possible. Fourth, a rights-based approach upholds the principle of non-discrimination. Throughout the programme cycle, it requires that CARE assess and seek to address the unequal treatment of marginalized individuals and groups. The HLS framework can help CARE to understand better the differentiation and discrimination between individuals and between groups to target advocacy efforts. Fifth, broadening an understanding of livelihood security, a rights-based approach helps CARE identify the minimum conditions (civil, political, economic social and cultural) for living with dignity. Advocacy can be used to redress violations of dignity (Beckwith 2000).
Advocacy initiatives are also closely tied to CARE's efforts to strengthen civil society. Through analysis of the dynamics among the State, the private sector and civil society, power relationships can be identified that help inform advocacy efforts (Beckwith 2000).
Figure B depicts the internal and external relations that influence household livelihood security.3 While the initial intent of the HLS approach was to understand these constraints and take them into account in programme design and implementation, CARE's programme is increasingly being expanded to include advocacy and attempts directly to influence or change the way in which external relations influence household livelihood security. In the private sector, this primarily affects the way programmes are influenced by the market. In the civil-society sector, this primarily affects partnership relations and the way CARE participates in NGO coalitions to influence policies. In the governmental sector, this has traditionally meant attempting to address or shape policy in areas where the HLS framework suggests a constraint.
Increasingly, the HLS framework has driven advocacy into the realm of political constraints. Two examples, one technical and one political, illustrate the ways in which HLS has both pushed CARE in the direction of policy advocacy and given it the credibility to address such issues.
During the 1980s, CARE was involved in a project designed to reduce pesticide poisoning among agricultural labourers working on cotton estates in Nicaragua. It eventually became one of the first successful programmes at promoting integrated pest management (IPM). Along the way, project staff began to assist the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health to collect, analyse and publish data about the extent of pesticide poisoning. The study found that the problem was much more prevalent than previously thought, and in fact was as serious a problem as many infectious diseases such as malaria. CARE Nicaragua decided that one technical intervention was not an adequate response to the problem. CARE staff led an effort by a number of agencies in the country to work with legislators to draft new legislation governing the registration and use of pesticides nationwide. CARE also helped to design a regional programme, under the auspices of the Pan American Health Organization, which replicated the methodology of its own Nicaraguan IPM project. This experience also had a strong influence on CARE's own adoption of a worldwide policy on pesticide use.4
Although this example took place before CARE officially adopted the HLS as its programme framework, strong field experience and a cross-sectoral, holistic problem analysis (in the agriculture and health sectors) led CARE into an advocacy initiative. The initiative was neither particularly planned, nor incorporated into subsequent project re-design, but it had a direct and significant impact both nationally and regionally.
Sudan: promoting the ceasefire and the peace process
CARE has worked in Sudan for 20 years, in both the northern and southern parts of the country. Sudan is a country that has been wracked by a civil war between North and South for 33 of the last 44 years. An estimated 2 million people have lost their lives in this conflict - far more to disease and starvation than in the battlefield. Given the circumstances in the country, CARE's programmes have mostly been in the areas of emergency response, rehabilitation and mitigation, and have been almost exclusively limited to on-the-ground, practical interventions. A regional body, the Inter-Government Authority of Development (IGAD), has been brokering peace talks among the various parties in the conflict, but without the strong support of major international players, including some of the governments from whom CARE receives funding for humanitarian assistance in the country.
When a major famine recurred in Bahr el-Ghazal in 1998, CARE was one of the few organizations able to respond both in SPLA-held territory and territory held by the Government of Sudan, and those interventions were credited with saving thousands of lives. However, CARE and several other humanitarian agencies in Sudan began asking how many times they would have to "save" the same people's lives during the war. In partnership with three other major NGOs (Oxfam-UK/Ireland, Save the Children Fund-UK and Médecins sans Frontiere), CARE devoted significant resources and staff time toward advocacy at the United Nations and the United States Government to support the IGAD peace process and to bring about a just and mutually agreeable solution to the Sudan civil war, and to use their influence with the actors to extend the ceasefire in Bahr el-Ghazal to continue to permit humanitarian assistance to reach vulnerable groups in the short term.5
This advocacy initiative was deliberately planned and had been incorporated into ongoing efforts in the country and the region, as well as at the international level. But the initiative was based on solid information and experience on the ground, working with the civilian population on both sides whose lives and livelihoods had been devastated by a decade and a half of war. The impact of such an initiative is difficult to measure; the ceasefire was extended, but it is difficult to attribute causal factors to the extension. The civil war in Sudan continues, as do CARE's efforts to raise awareness of and generate support for the peace process.
Both the Sudan advocacy initiative and the benefits-harms tools described earlier are examples of the way in which a livelihoods approach has begun to interface with a rights-based approach to programming. Defining this livelihoods/rights interface, and exploring the ways in which the two approaches can benefit from each other, is a major challenge for the operationalization of the livelihoods approach.
One of the major concerns of country offices as they move into advocacy activities is that the staff may not have the necessary skills or time adequately to engage in policy dialogue. Senior management acknowledges that staff workloads could increase significantly as they got more involved in policy issues. There are no guidelines that currently exist as to how country offices are to proceed on these initiatives. The context will determine the approach to be used, recognizing that each country in which CARE works is different.
3 This figure builds on the work of Kirsten Johnson, CARE Bolivia.
4 See J. Stuckey. 1999. "Raising the issue of pesticide poisoning to a national health priority", CARE Advocacy Series, Case No. 1. Atlanta, CARE USA.
5 See J. Stuckey. 1999. "CARE International Advocacy for Peace in Sudan". CARE USA Advocacy Series, Case No. 3. Atlanta, CARE USA.