Creating change for LGBTI people across Europe is what activists are trying to do every day, all over Europe. LGBTI organisations often talk with policy makers or approach political institutions to explain why this change needs to happen. This deliberate process is called advocacy.
The ability to carry out this type of work doesn’t just appear overnight. For decades, ILGA-Europe have been working with our member organisations to optimise their advocacy skills. Increasingly, we encourage our members to aim for a deeper, more strategic approach to advocacy. Strategic advocacy is a holistic process and is very focused on practical outcomes. It means setting clear priorities, building support for those priorities and coordinating any advocacy action with the organisation’s other priorities. Moreover, we push for more alliance building, this means creating advocacy initiatives with like-minded national and international organisations.
Furthermore, to increase knowledge and inject energy into the LGBTI movement, we organise regular training sessions and study visits to international institutions for LGBTI activists.
ILGA-Europe can also offer tailor-made coaching to help organisations develop their strategic advocacy work.
One on-going activity used by ILGA-Europe to stimulate peer-learning and facilitate discussion on advocacy initiatives is the Advocacy Network. The network consists of LGBTI activists from our membership and from pan-European organisations such as IGLYO, Transgender Europe and NELFA. The network discusses issues relating to European legislation and policies and circulates relevant information at national level. Participants of the network meet at least once a year prior our Annual Conference. Throughout the year ILGA-Europe is in contact with the network if any need for systematic national action is needed.
In 2010, ILGA-Europe published Make It Work: Six steps to effective LGBT Human Rights advocacy. The advocacy manual provides a logical structure and a set of methods, tools and skills which human rights defenders can use when planning and implementing their advocacy work.