Advocacy involves influencing the position of persons in power (e.g., high level government officials) or with influence over others (e.g., religious leaders and other opinion leaders) to support and promote family planning.
In terms of government leaders, advocacy can have multiple objectives: encouraging officials to speak publicly in favor of family planning, supporting government financing for family planning, and ensuring favorable legislation on family planning (e.g., Article 178 of the Penal Code, dating back to 1933).
Multiple actors are potentially involved in advocacy. Donors may work in consultation with government on a more favorable stance towards family planning. Family planning organizations, by demonstrating the latent demand for family planning, can influence the attitudes of government officials. Women’s groups can effectively advocate for services that benefit them and their families. Advocacy is greatly needed to increase government commitment to family planning.
A few organizations undertake activities designed to reach policymakers and higher authorities in family planning.
ABEF is a leader for advocacy for family planning in the country. Staff frequently makes personal visits to government officials and policy makers in order to push family planning to government attention. ABEF has received government support from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Planning, and the Ministry of Health. ABEF received government involvement in Bas Congo, an example of success in advocacy efforts.
UNFPA provides support to the Assemblée Nationale (National Assembly) and has been instrumental in advocating for the concept of naissances desirables, leading to the law officially accepting utilization of modern contraceptive methods in 1972. In collaboration with USAID and the First Lady, the organization coordinated the National Conference to Reposition Family Planning in 2009, and asserted the creation of a line budget for family planning products and developing activities to reduce maternal mortality. The Groupe Technique SPSR (multiple agency technical group working on contraceptive security) has worked on advocacy but needs more political support.
C-Change is involved in development and implementation of activities to reach decision makers, policy makers and stakeholders. The organization has produced pamphlets and policy documents for parliamentarians, government officials, and development partners to increase government involvement in family planning and to reposition family planning policy as a priority for development.