How to influence our causes?

December 11, 2019
Communications Colunga Foundation

This is a question that many in civil society have asked themselves. Margarita Maira, Regional Advocacy Coordinator of the Smart Citizenship Foundation, made a talk at Fundación Colunga, to resolve this query and clarify the steps to follow to generate a real impact, whether on the public agenda or in politics.

Why influence?

To influence is to influence, we influence to transform our living conditions. But also because it is necessary to have more open governments. “We have as a diagnosis that many of the problems of representativeness or lack of trust and the entire crisis of the institutions in Latin America, in general, respond to a way of doing politics that does not take into account the citizens, which leaves aside the civil society and responds to the interests of a few, ”said the speaker.

That is why, if bridges are created between the State and civil society, more representative governments will be generated. Influence empowers us as a society. “It is the tool we have to make ourselves heard, if there is no dialogue, the distance between the representation and the represented increases,” says Margarita.

How can it be done?

Installing the issue in the public agenda or in the political agenda.

There are several examples of movements that have had an impact on the public agenda, so much so that the cause has been legislated successfully: Ricarte Soto Law, Emilia Law, Zamudio Law, Street Harassment Law, Patagonia Without Dams, among others. 

While for the impact on the political agenda - although it is a more complex goal - for the Smart Citizenship professional it is essential to know the cycle in which a public policy is. The problem must be characterized and the context known, then contact the potential allies and generate an advocacy strategy. You can start with small actions, meet with the mayor or mayor of the commune, generate meetings with senators and deputies, to start installing the issue.

“This is the minute that Civil society has a vital role. All of us, and all the people who are part of organizations, have to get to work now, so that in this crisis the things that have to be promoted are promoted ”, emphasizes Margarita and concludes that to be successful it is necessary to do it with the greatest number of allies and support possible. That is the invitation, to connect and collaborate to relieve the causes and finally generate the changes that are being sought.

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