Policy highlights:

  • The nature of advocacy makes it difficult to evaluate properly. The difficulty lies in the multiple objectives of advocacy-related actions, collecting reliable data, and the fact that most ongoing efforts build on previous successes and discard failures. This calls for an approach that uses multiple and flexible evaluation tools.
  • To evaluate an advocacy effort, one should understand the nature and purpose of the initiative and the other factors influencing it. A retrospective theory of change can indicate which method fits the programme best. Another key to evaluation is to identify the process through which change occurs – in attitudes, behaviour or policy – while recognizing that this is not necessarily a linear process.
  • When evaluating advocacy efforts it is important to: 1) use diverse methods, 2) recognize that causality is difficult to establish, but possible (the article mentions randomized assignment and other quasi-experimental methods), 3) be rigorous and use a variety of tools to consider the different factors that influence change processes.
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