Our country level advocacy work focuses on our programmatic themes. In the countries where we work we seek to influence laws, policies, processes and practices to advance the needs of young people. Our country teams build complementary advocacy alliances with local CSOs, bringing expertise in mass communications and influencing through media to the mix of actions. The topics lie with the young users who make up our digital communities, and are always strongly linked to the programmes, SRHR, social cohesion and inclusive governance and, in 2020, also economic inclusion, as the three pillars.

Our teams work with others to run campaigns to raise awareness and influence opinion and provide youth feedback at scale on laws, policies and regulations. They also target decision-makers and policy-makers directly through our online content and facilitate interaction between decision-makers and young people, online and offline. In China our country team also engage with rule of law, bringing GBV cases to court.

Advocacy for digital rights

To respond to shrinking civic space, increasing repression and violations of human rights, RNW Media decided to invest more in advocacy work at international and regional levels. In 2019, we focussed on advocating for digital rights, especially the rights to association, assembly, information and expression. Digital rights underpin RNW Media's ability to build digital communities—our core business. Our work on digital rights is based on the situations and challenges our country teams face on a daily basis. They are on the frontlines of censorship and internet ‘shutdowns’, shouldering the social, personal and economic burdens of repression. We use surveys which produce youth generated data evidence to develop our advocacy together with young people and based on their needs.

Skills strengthened by trainings

In order to strengthen the advocacy skills of our country teams, capacity assessments are done yearly and tailored trainings using local experts are designed based on the findings. The trainings provide media-makers with the skills they need to be able to implement quality lobby and advocacy, capacity to:

  • Plan strategically for lobby and advocacy;
  • Achieve results including having knowledge and skills (e.g., ICT capacity, storytelling, editing, video filming and communications, gender and inclusion);
  • Analyse and understand the operating environment and manage relationships, including stakeholder power analysis, brokering, partnership/alliance building and engage audiences; and
  • Adaptability to changing influences.

Our teams also learn everything they need to know to manage lobby and advocacy projects and some have been trained to strengthen the capacity of allied CSOs collaborating in joint lobby and advocacy interventions.

Connecting countries with the world

We bolster our platform level advocacy work through what is sometimes called “technical advocacy” to influence higher level programming policies and guidelines—thus connecting the country level work to regional and international processes. Solid country, regional and international advocacy work should be interlinked and flow as cohesively as possible from the voices and realities of local people and their experiences as well as their actions for change. Therefore, we translate the advocacy work at national level for the digital context through action pillars on meaningful access to the Internet, the availability of quality content, and equal online participation for all as part of key processes such as the Internet Governance Forum and its relevant thematic and regional iterations.

Engagement of young people is core

A crosscutting goal in all our advocacy initiatives is achieving full civic engagement of young people in all their diversity. Regardless of the particular issue selected, we ensure young people drive the agenda at all levels and are able to participate meaningfully in the public affairs work that makes up advocacy. In addition, and as part of our general inclusion approach, gender inclusion is an essential organising principle of our programmatic work at RNW Media. The activities under our action pillars are designed to be gender sensitive, equality-driven, and to promote the rights of marginalised groups.