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Advocacy... What is it anyway? September 22, 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Advocacy... What is it anyway? September 22, 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Advocacy... What is it anyway? September 22, 2012

2 What is Advocacy? According to the BCACL “Advocacy is a strategic communication which aims to create the social and political incentives to attract resources, shape policy, and remove barriers” Plain language please...

3 Advocacy - Definition People First provides the following definition: “Advocacy is helping a person or a group of people to stand up for their rights and get what they need – helping support someone to make their own choices.”

4 -Advocacy is gaining access to decision making -Advocacy means changing the power relationship between decision makers and the people affected by their decisions -Advocacy means making real change in people’s lives

5 Other Useful Definitions Self-Advocacy: Knowing your rights and speaking for yourself to get what you need or want (People First Canada) Ally: Someone who works with a person or group to bring about change, and to ensure rights are acknowledges. An ally provides resources and shares power

6 Advocacy Makes Change At any given moment in time, your advocacy and leadership are building a better and more helpful bridge from a weaker past to a stronger future On any given day your advocacy efforts are a link from a person’s life of vulnerability to one that is stronger and less vulnerable

7 Types of Advocacy Self Advocacy – an individual speaks for her or himself Individual Advocacy – a person acts with or on behalf of an individual who has a concern Group Advocacy – several people advocate together for a common goal Systems Advocacy – broader systems, Social policy change

8 Effective Advocacy A process through which individuals, families and/or advocates can constructively express dissatisfaction and contribute to creative solutions to identified problems Assertive Communication (vs. aggressive, passive aggressive) Empowering Builds towards long lasting positive solutions = real system change Time, patience, relationships, good communications, systems understanding, negotiations, and allies

9 Qualities of an Effective Advocate Focused Informed Articulate Committed Persevering Assertive Respectful Self confident Acts with honesty and integrity

10 The Value of Knowing What Has Come Before -The effectiveness of advocacy efforts is often in direct correlation to the advocate’s understanding of what has come before -And, of course, it is best to be as clear as possible about the vision for the future

11 Strategies for Advocacy 1. Be Organized 2. Know the Facts 3. Identify the Problem 4. Identify Key Decision -Makers 5. Respectful and Assertive Communication 6. Get Support When Needed 7. Link Individual Advocacy with Collective Advocacy

12 Strategies for Individual Advocacy 8. Stay cool and listen with both ears 9. Resolve the issue at the lowest possible level – e.g. “don’t use a cannon when a pea shooter will do!” 10. Develop compassion for the other side and respect their values 11. Get to know people who can help you 12. Take care of yourself!

13 In Other Words... Advocacy is: Pleasantly, Patient, Persistent, Persuasive and Sustained Action

14 Let’s Look at a Specific Example Identify issue – institutional placement of people with intellectual disabilities in NS Identify others who care about this issue Who can help solve this problem? Developing community partnerships, alliances and coalitions. Find out what is getting in the way of solving this problem Figure out how to get the message across…

15 Advocating in the Community Be visible when and where you can. Be an inclusive advocate. Resist isolation. Try, try again… Dialogue with parents, advocates and allies Know your rights

16 Things to consider when advocating... Seven Service Principals - handout Support services enable full inclusion when they are:

17 Seven Service Principals 1. Person Centered: Planning supports and services are based on the wants and needs of the person who receives them. 2. Individualized: Support programs ensure freedom of choice and provide individuals with the option to receive direct funding to create and manage their services. 3. Holistic: Program choices and options improve quality of life on all levels (home, physical health, mental/emotional health, education, recreation, income, employment, etc.) 4. Flexible: Services provided are responsive to individual circumstances and changes that occur over time.

18 Seven Service Principals 5. Capacity Building: Support options are developed from the perspective of the person's strengths. assets and abilities. Strong networks of family members and friends are recognized as the foundation of support and the best safeguard. 6. Portable: People can move out of a home, community or province and take their funding with them. Provision must also be made for travel outside of Canada. 7. Universal: All people who have determined that they need particular supports will receive those supports.

19 You Can’t Do It Alone! And there is no need to! There are many parents, families, and self advocates in Nova Scotia who are working on the same issues. Let’s ride the wave together and ensure that the future is bright! If we want to see change, we need to make some noise!

20 Thanks! To BCACL for giving me permission to borrow from “The Ripple Effect – A family Advocacy and Leadership Development Retreat” To Halifax ACL for giving me permission to borrow from “Emotions to Advocacy” To Josh Horner for the graphics And to you for coming!

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