Mathieu Andre, Campaign Integration Manager, Global Campaigns, World Vision International
In an advocacy campaign, critical thinking should not only be used on government’s policies, it should be used to guide our own processes, procedures and work.
This is why over the last year several World Vision National Offices have gone through a midterm strategic review of their Child Health Now campaign in order to evaluate what they have done and prepare their final push towards achieving MDGs 4 and 5.
With 2 years left until the end of the MDGs and on the fourth year of the Child Health Now campaign the time was right for critical thinking.
The Global Child Health Now campaign was launched at the end of 2009 with 7 National Offices starting at this time. Since then more than 50 countries have joined in and have worked together to strengthen health systems, increase funding for health, improve accountability at all levels, and reduce barriers to health.
The campaign has progressed in its objectives and seen many achievements – which were celebrated at global, national and local levels. But as the countdown clock to 2015 is ticking, it was time to evaluate, review and plan for the final sprint.
Since the beginning of the year, offices in India, Indonesia, Uganda, Kenya, Brazil, Bolivia, Sierra Leone and South Africa went through this process. These offices took the time to assess the changes in their national context since 2010, evaluate the progress and achievements of the campaign and identify the challenges they need to address to ensure the most efficient action. Looking at the future, they spent time identifying the opportunities coming to ensure that we will make the best of the 2 remaining years. . A lot of lessons have been learned and best practices were identified during this process, allowing us to share them with the rest of the World Vision partnership.
Looking at the 2 years to come, some trends start to appear - the main one is on accountability. The mid-term review process helped identify that many new commitments were made at global levels and many governments adopted new policies, improved the ones in place or dedicated additional funding to health, often as a result of a successful lobbying from our national Child Health Now teams. However, a lot remains to be done to ensure governments are held accountable to these commitments and if we want to see these recent successes impacting the most marginalized communities. As such empowering these communities to ensure that they speak up for the respect of their rights is going to be more than ever a priority of our offices at the sub-national and local levels.
On a national level, 2014 and 2015 will see elections taking place in many of these countries which will provide a good opportunity to have candidates commit to invest more on maternal and child health if they are elected.
Overwhelmingly it was found that the Child Health Now campaign has impacted the way we work on Maternal Newborn and Child Health. The campaign has demonstrated that advocacy at national and local level is a powerful methodology to improve the health and nutrition status of children and their mothers. It has been a successful learning process and the offices are now working to ensure that the successful practices developed and tested during the CHN campaign will be adopted and scaled up.
Whatever the focus of the post MDGs development agenda is, World Vision will be ready to speak up at that level.