Global Changemakers for the Middle East Advocacy Network Draft Framework

This document provides a guiding framework for the elaboration of the Advocacy Network, one of the components of the Global Change Makers Project in the Middle East. The document is in draft status, and serves to inform potential partners and to guide the planning processes. Once the country-level partners and teams are in place and have had time to review the document and adapt it to the local context, the document will be amended and elaborated as the ‘Advocacy Network' Strategic Plan. Purpose of Advocacy Network To empower an informed cadre of young advocates from across the region to speak out effectively in the interests of all youth in local, national and international forums and to influence decision makers to act transparently, accountably and inclusively when making policy, institutional and resource allocation choices affecting youth in the Arab region. Vision of Advocacy Network To be recognised locally and internationally for the positive influence that our youth advocates bring to public policy debates, and to be respected as a credible voice in setting agendas, and mobilizing resources to create opportunity and effect positive change for youth in the region. Strategic Objectives

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To empower young advocates with the necessary knowledge and skills and help them to speak responsibly & effectively in their own interests, while respecting the rights of others; To build a shared platform from which diverse youth voices can speak out across the region – sharing, exchanging and learning from each other; To collaborate with similar networks in the region & UK to share experiences and learning; To strengthen partner institutions helping them act as facilitators for authentic youth voice; To provide opportunities for youth advocates to participate in policy-making forums (such as WEF, LAS summits) so that youth's voice is heard; To create a framework for individual voices to join together in common cause and create a critical mass speaking out effectively on priority issues.

Rationale for Advocacy Network Advocacy, and especially youth advocacy is relatively new in the region. The most important factor is that, traditionally, it is a patriarchal society where older men are expected to make decisions on behalf of all age groups. This tradition is changing, but the social, political, cultural and economic barriers to voice for youth still exist in many ways. Youth often lack confidence and self-esteem and many youth feel a sense of hopelessness, and are apathetic about their role in making change. Their voices are scattered, they lack the opportunity to work together collectively and they lack a focus to move from talk to effective action. They lack skills of advocacy and rational discourse, and are therefore prone to anger and emotional discussions. The youth recognise that times are changing and that their leaders state that they want youth to be involved. But they comment that youth role in the political arena is weak, or else that they are simply used as part of a 'tick box' consultation exercise that pays lip-service to youth voice. They complain that the interaction with policy makers is weak, and that there is no real listening and response, there is no two-way dialogue, so they feel politically disenfranchised. Background to the Project

The idea of an advocacy capacity was raised at the Learning from the Future forum held in Dubai in April 2008. It was then proposed as one component of the Global Changemakers Project for the Middle East & North Africa regions. The concept of the advocacy network was further developed in a meeting held in Doha (February 2009) which brought together some of the young participants from the Dubai forum as well as a variety of experienced civil society professionals and activists. As a result of these deliberations, this framework was developed. Selection Criteria for Advocacy Campaigns • The issue is urgent and requires immediate response

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It affects the majority of youth, and stimulates the community to respond at grass roots level The issue is one of human rights – which unites the youth of the region The interventions will have a long-term impact The issue engages youth – they feel passionate about it and want to work together It creates the opportunity for youth to have fun together and enjoy the experience The scale of the theme is big and therefore many youth are affected Tackling this theme is realistic and we can achieve results

Proposed Advocacy Themes On the basis of discussions by the team in the Doha Planning Meeting, the following main themes and focuses for sub-regions for 2009/2010 emerged: 1. Identity, Diversity and Inclusion • Including diversity in the national curriculum • National day to encourage social cohesion • Encouraging youth to celebrate their differences • Combating stereotypes 2. Education and Employment • Quality of teachers • A broader set of issues in extra curricular activities • Proactive strategies for self improvement • Reform university to provide skills for work • A focus on vocational training • Focus on private sector role • Matching training to the labour market • Job opportunities for returning migrants • Encouraging nationals to replace migrant labour 3. Human rights • Including human rights in the national curriculum • Monitoring human rights abuses • Gender equality • Freedom of expression

Safety and security

Advocacy Forums/Interventions The regional team will identify a wide range of possible advocacy interventions that will draw on the skills and resources of youth locally, and address relevant policy issues in ways that meet the cultural context. These can include actions such as: • Getting invited to speak at forums • Taking part in local debates • Writing letters to leaders informing them of the issues that affect youth • Organising a petition and presenting it • Issuing press releases

Working with GCM / AYRN to gain new evidence and channelling the latest data / research findings to decision-makers and asking for a follow up to discuss • Working with GCM Awareness Network to build critical mass of youth support, recording interventions and channelling to Awareness Network to reach out to broadest audience Targets of the Advocacy Campaigns 1. Community • Family (parents, siblings, cousins, extended family, tribe) • Neighbourhood associations / Youth clubs / civil society 2. Local • Governorate etc • Municipality / Local authority • Local chamber of commerce / industry • Directorates of education, health 3. National • Parliament, Ministerial, Policy group • University / college • Labour association • Chamber of industry / commerce • NGOs and civil society with shared objectives 4. Regional • WEF regional Gulf Council 5. Global / International • WEF Davos,

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League of Arab States Summits

UN, EU Brussels, ILO International / regional conferences on thematic issues (education reform, youth employment)

Training and Development The youth will have a sold foundation of skills on which to base the start up phase but will also have access to training and other learning opportunity. • Public speaking / presentation skills • Advocacy and representation of others

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Diplomacy and protocol training - how to speak to leaders / decision-makers Negotiating / lobbying How to consult with youth from different backgrounds Leadership and team building Training in rights and entitlements (and how to claim them) Legal framework / laws that affect youth / how to engage in law-changing Internships with advocacy organisations

Capacity Building for Country Partners The NGOs will need training in order to understand their facilitative role, and to embrace the opportunity to gain new technology skills • How to engage with youth and let them lead the process • Project planning and management to international donor standards • Reporting, monitoring and evaluation • Fund raising • Use of media / ICT (web design) Advocacy Network Structure & Roles

National Advocacy Teams In each country, working through local partners, a team of 10-20 young people interested in working with the Advocacy Network will be selected according to agreed criteria. They will have access to the appropriate training programmes to prepare them to start working together. Local experts and mentors will be identified from partner organizations or externally to support the country teams. A number of Advocacy Attachments will be made available for members of the network both in the UK and in the region.

Role of National Advocacy Team • Identify the themes they wish to tackle, the focus that is most relevant to their country and local context • Identify and plan resources available

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Develop an advocacy action plan Lead the advocacy process, drawing on country partner for support and guidance Coordinate with other national advocacy teams Share / exchange information and knowledge at country and regional levels Work closely with their counterpart teams working on research and awareness raising

Regional Coordination Team A regional Advocacy Network team will be formed to direct and manage the work of the AN at regional level. The regional team will include a member from each country, elected for one year. Members will be eligible to be re-elected once only in order to give opportunity to other members of country teams. Role of the Regional Coordination Team • Plan the advocacy programme for the network at regional level

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Coordinate between National Advocacy Teams Plan the regional dissemination of the information of country teams’ achievements Manage the joint collaboration of the Advocacy Network with similar UK networks Assess training and internships

Role of Country Partner • Identify young people to be part of the Advocacy network according to the set criteria

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Support and supervise young people in carrying their advocacy programme Help young people in developing their part of advocacy plan Support young people in identifying and applying for funding Help secure advocacy platforms

Mechanisms of Interaction Face-to-face -The network will rely on both face-to-face and virtual working. The national team will have the opportunity to work face to face at the local level. They will be encouraged to coordinate with other national teams virtually and by sending representatives/ exchanges/ to sub-regional training and forums. Virtual meetings - Groups will be encouraged to use e-tools for virtual meetings (chat, skype talk, facebook, messaging etc). Horizontal linkages between youth will be emphasized (i.e. without passing through BC / NGO systems) to facilitate ease of information sharing, and to increase the future sustainability of the network. Working with the GCM AYRN and Awareness Teams The Advocacy Network will work closely with the GCM teams working on research and awareness raising and recognizes that these two audiences have different needs, and they

will develop different communication strategies to ensure that their messages are transferred effectively, leading to the desired response. Selection Criteria of Young People • Able to influence others based on rational argument and evidence

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Good communicator (especially spoken) Good listeners and able to empathise with others and consider different views Is able to challenge views objectively and constructively Able to adapt written and spoken materials to different audiences Understands, respects & advocates equal opportunities, human rights & cultural diversity Willing to act on a mandate and to report back to constituency Confident in public forums and assertive without being aggressive Clear about youth issues in his/her community and country Have a commitment to bring about positive change

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