by Beth Fernandez, ILGA-Europe’s Programmes Officer
*via ILGA-Europe June 2009 newsletter
As part of the PRECIS project (Prevention and Empowerment in the CIS), ILGA-Europe organised a two and a half day advocacy planning session in Baku, Azerbaijan, from 2 to 4 June 2009 with our Azeri partner, Gender and Development. The session was attended by 7 staff members and volunteers of Gender and Development and its women’s initiative group Mehriban, plus 2 staff members from Za Ravnie Prava (For Equal Rights) from Kherson in Southern Ukraine.
The aim of such sessions is to build the capacity of our partner organizations to advocate effectively and strategically on LGBT issues on a national and international level so that they maximize the potential of their staff and existing resources.
The session provides the participants with a framework and tools to produce a basic advocacy plan with two or three advocacy objectives which they can use to structure the advocacy work of their organisation. During this session, participants selected the passing of national legislation protecting the rights of LGBT people and the promotion of tolerant attitudes in state structures and society at large as their two advocacy objectives.
The session covers the concepts of advocacy and advocacy planning, identification and prioritisation of problems to be solved by advocacy, analysis of those problems, formulation of advocacy objectives and specific objectives, identification of key audiences, allies and opponents and selection of suitable tactics to use in each case. Time is also allowed for discussion of activities, resources and realistic timeframe.
The training received a positive evaluation by participants and we are looking forward to supporting Gender and Development, Mehriban, and Za Ravnie Prava in their future advocacy work.
Gender and Development is the only LGBT organisation registered in Azerbaijan and has been working for three years. They run a community centre which now attracts 300 regular visitors and conduct outreach on HIV/ AIDS prevention and monitoring within Baku. They assist LGBT people on specific cases where their human rights have been violated, offer psychological counseling and social activities. They are currently producing a film with ILGA-Europe’s financial support documenting discrimination in Azerbaijan and in the future they intend to conduct strategic advocacy with national and international institutions and expand their outreach activities to other cities in Azerbaijan.
This training was one of a series of advocacy planning sessions held within the PRECIS project. Trainings were held with Inclusive Foundation (Georgia), LiGA (Ukraine) and Labrys (Kyrgyzstan) in 2008 and we will organise similar sessions with We For Civil Equality (Armenia) in December 2009 and in March 2010 with Amulet (Kazakhstan).