Advocating for Results
One can address the question of aid effectiveness from many different angles. This chapter addresses an issue to which very little attention is paid, the role of citizen advocacy for aid effectiveness, especially deep advocacy. By deep advocacy we mean the kind of interactions with the media, members of Congress, and other community leaders that will create champions for effective aid as distinguished from the more familiar mouse-click advocacy or call campaigns to Congress. Advocacy that creates champions for effective aid can be a critical ingredient to successfully addressing the unnecessary poverty and ill health faced by more than a billion people around the world. Of course, the lack of such champions can retard progress and move the world backward.
Just as there are people in the world who are hungry for food and desperate to get an education for themselves and their children, Americans are hungry to live lives that truly matter, but only a small number are awake to this desire. Many of those who know they want to make a difference in the world are already donors to major aid organizations. They truly would like to light up their members of Congress and inspire their local media on the issues that NGOs care about.
But they are thwarted by two major impediments: (1) feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy about making a difference as an advocate and (2) an inability to find a structure of support that will help them through their despair and truly empower them to make a difference, a structure of support that can coach them through transformations like these: from “I don’t make a difference” to “I do make a difference,” from “I can’t fight city hall” to “I am city hall.”
Citizens must demand from the groups they care about the kind of support that allows breakthrough action and those organizations must find ways to provide it.