Whenever I have run a training session on advocacy campaigning, I have felt a loss of energy and momentum when I have turned to the subject of monitoring and evaluation.
As an activist, very often training a room full of fellow activists, I am most interested in sharing the tools that will encourage people to tackle injustice and develop campaigns. But I also know that campaigning is not just about doing stuff, but it is about making a difference.
So I was really interested at the British Red Cross, when we started to discuss as a new advocacy team how we would want to approach the monitoring and evaluating of our own advocacy. I have written before about the power of using a theory of change approach – a simple chain of events connected by the words ‘so that’ – and then regularly reviewing progress against this theory of change.
But I was challenged by one of my research colleagues to take a look at the UNICEF monitoring and evaluating advocacy guide – see here.
I began reading it with a feeling of ‘I’ve seen all of this before’, but the more that I read, the more interested I became – in particular I was interested in their development of a log frame for advocacy. Part of me rebels against a chart with a series of boxes – advocacy cannot be tied down to just one page, surely?
But the more I looked at their log frame and began to apply it to one of our own advocacy issues, I was surprised at how easy it was to complete and that it was actually a very useful exercise. I liked the structure of goals, interim targets and activities, and I liked how the log frame made you think about how you wanted to move your issue on. I found that the answers to all of these questions were in my head anyway, so it wasn’t too hard to put it all into the log frame.
But above all I felt that this log frame structure fitted with my own approach to advocacy – it didn’t feel contrived or an add-on. We are going to use this approach more at the British Red Cross – do take a look yourself at the log frame approach – and I’d be interested in what you think.