Vision and History
AP is committed to action and we encourage partners to develop campaigns to address the cause of their dis-empowerment. Most need no urging. To them, advocacy means action. Our job is to provide the tools.
To be supported by AP, a campaign should seek to protect one of the following: women; children; survivors of conflict (such as relatives of the disappeared); persons with disability; the environment; a threatened indigenous group or minority. Each campaign should strive for social change; identify beneficiaries; combine essential services with advocacy; set clear goals; be sustainable; and be managed by the partner.
The following campaigns have been supported by AP and attracted donor support: Remembering the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia (1999-2015); Empowering women in newly-independent Kosovo (2000-2005); Advancing girl’s education in Afghanistan (2003-2008); Helping Roma women in Europe to use IT and organize (2003-2006); Protecting the Travelers of Dale Farm from eviction (2006-2012); Protecting human rights in the minority Tamil areas of Sri Lanka (2008-2012); Reducing the risk of war rape in South Kivu, DRC (2009-2013); and empowering survivors of war rape in Mali (2013-).
AP supports this process by sending a staff member or Peace Fellow to help design a program and identify an innovative approach that may not be immediately apparent to the partner. One example occurred in South Kivu, DRC, in 2008 when we suggested that our Congolese partner SOS Femmes en Danger could reduce the risk of armed sexual violence by renting land where women could cultivate in security. This formed the basis for a 4-year campaign that attracted support from the German government and reduced sexual violence in that area.
Often these ideas will come from our Peace Fellows as in 1006, when Yvette Barnes (2006) helped her hosts at BOSFAM to produce the first Srebrenica Memorial quilt and opened the way to AP’s global program of advocacy quilting. Ned Meerdink (2009) came up with several innovative approaches during his fellowship at SOSFED in the Congo. Simon Klatschi (2010) opened our eyes to the suffering of Agent Orange survivors in Vietnam. Rebecca Scherpelz (2011) had the idea for building accessible toilets in Uganda for persons with disability. All of our current campaigns began with these or similar inspired ideas.
AP supports partner campaigns with technical support and research, as described on these pages. In each case, our main goal is to strengthen the partner’s motivation and capacity, without which a campaign will not be sustained. This is undertaken in the spirit of partnership, with AP and the partner benefiting equally and contributing on the basis of our respective expertise. We withdraw within five years, by which time the campaign should be sustainable. We never take more than 20% of funds that we raise for a campaign.
We measure results carefully even though the long-term impacts of social change may only become apparent after several years. Donors, of course, will expect regular feedback and AP may submit up to 10 reports a year on each campaign. Our monitoring has become more methodical through the years. In 2007 we analyzed the results achieved from working with 50 partners over the previous ten years. In 2009, we began tracking the progress of campaigns in annual reports. Each campaign page on this site will also track results.
It must be said that some of the outcomes from these campaigns have been bitterly disappointing. In Afghanistan, the Taliban have forced the closure of two pioneering girls’ schools that were opened in Wardak province by the Oruj Learning Center with support from AP and several Peace Fellows. In England, the Travellers of Dale Farm were evicted in 2011 after six years of peaceful resistance.
These were huge defeats, but even such setbacks cannot take away from the larger impacts. After the Dale Farm Travellers brought their case to Britain’s High Court in 2008, the judgement by Justice Andrew Collins changed British law by making it illegal to evict minorities if this would lead to homelessness. Hopefully, it will be hard to completely reverse the progress made in Afghanistan since 2003 in educating girls.
As history has shown, the path to change is uneven. Our bet is that history will eventually validate the actions of most, if not all, our partners.