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Definitions for Advocacy and Policy

Advocacy is a deliberate process of persuasive communication that seeks to build momentum and support behind an idea. It is a relatively slow process of changing attitudes and positions that requires ongoing engagement and negotiation with stakeholders.

Policy is a more targeted, solution-based activity in which the causes of a problem or issue are analysed, and policy-based solutions are communicated to decisionmakers to address them in a manner that creates favourable change. Efforts will typically try to establish new policies, improve existing policies or challenge the development of unfavourable policies.

The primary audience of Icon’s advocacy and policy are decision makers as the ultimate target of advocacy efforts is to influence those who hold decision-making power. These decision makers include government leaders, officials and funders. In some cases, Icon speaks directly to such leaders but in other cases, we put pressure on them by addressing secondary audiences such as the media, the public or other advocacy bodies.

The primary objective is to lead and steer opinion formers and decision makers to make our words, ideas, evidence and proposals their own and to act on them. We see this as a four-step challenge of changing awareness, attitudes, rhetoric and ultimately, behaviour, as shown below: