RNSF regional workshop in Lima: Organization and mobilization of informal workers.
Best Practices and guidelines in advocacy actions supporting informal workers formalization and recognition.
The current RNSF regional workshop in Lima is focused on the organization and mobilization of informal worker as a mean to integrate them into formal channels.
The formalization of informal workers implies a common effort both from workers and from the society. In fact, on one hand, informal worker have to comply with some standards of professionalization and security, but on the other hand, the society and the economy structure need to evolve in order to integrate this new actors.
Thus, one of the main issues of informal workers’ formalisation lies in the capacity of these categories to promote their cause and the recognition of their activities as professional activities contributing to the economic growth of the society.
Formalization can thereby be organized on a two level schema as follow:
1st level: actions aiming at conforming informal worker activities to legal standards, in order to professionalize their contribution and make it safe both for workers and for clients. This can be done through VET programs, support to activity development and so on.
2nd level: actions aiming at supporting the recognition of informal workers as an integrated part of the economic environment and facilitating changes within the society through the influence and involvement of institutional powers.
Being out of the official economic and social framework, informal workers suffer a strong lack of economic and political power, which is affecting their capacity to make changes happen. Thus, the involvement of the powers driving the society is necessary to reach effective and sustainable results in this way.
However, influencing governments and decision makers at various level is not easy: it can take time and it mostly takes skills and perspective of playing a long strategic games, made easier by all the small but important victories picked up along the ways: new rights, new protections, new funds and budget lines.
The following paragraph focus on best practices and guidelines in planning and organizing advocacy actions to sustain informal workers formalization.
The term advocacy refers to various meaning depending on the specific situation in which it is used. We can distinguish three kinds of advocacy:
1. Crisis advocacy: An Immediate response to an urgent situation, crisis advocacy ends with the crisis being stopped or resolved.
2. Issue advocacy: It is a single, one-off need, it is time bound or it stops when goal is reached.
3. Social /people centred advocacy: Also called “Social or Citizen Advocacy” and “Critical Resistance” It is about changing specific decision affecting people’s lives (debt, vote, laws) AND changing the way decision-making happens into a more inclusive and democratic process (gender mainstreaming, including minorities, or unions, etc. in decisions that affect them).
While the term “Advocacy” can be define in a general way, its implementation will not be the same, depending each time on the specific context in which it will be implemented. Thus, it is probably most useful to discover tools and questions, which helps those involved in carrying out advocacy to develop a strategic way of thinking about their context and what they want to achieve.
Advocacy is highly context specific and involves a large variety of actors such as decision makers in local or national institutions, but also religious leaders, the media, universities and other civil society groups (NGOs but also trade unions for instance).
Knowing and understanding how these interact in your context is the first step to building a successful advocacy strategy. The process of understanding can be summarize as follow:
1. Goals and Objectives: this first step consist in identifying goals and objectives of the advocacy intervention and to fix the main guideline for the implementation.
2. Mapping the target audiences: the second step will consist in defining the targets, through the identification of decision makers and policy-making processes, both formal and informal, and which elements policy makers have to deal with in their work.
Moreover, this second step aims at understanding the final target of the advocacy actions: Legislation, administrative ruling or legislation’s implementation. Finally this stage will make possible to identify the contacts the organisation already have with the targeted power and when along the decision making process the advocacy intervention will be done.
3. Mapping allies, support and opposition: this third step aims at understanding the main stakeholders that will be involved in the process and their role within it. It will make possible to identify potential risk and resources for the advocacy action.
4. Analysing the external environment: during this firth steps, the organisation will appreciate the main risks related to the external environment, the society, its possible reactions to the change and the way it could affect tactics and effectiveness of the advocacy strategy.
5. Planning strategies: during this stage, the organisation will define the role and activities of each component, its objectives and the interaction of all the different elements of the strategy to reach the goal, the financial and human resources needed, and the timing of the various phases of the intervention.
6. Evaluate: It is difficult to measure the success of advocacy because full success is rare yet it is now recognized that it is important to try and measure the outcome of advocacy work, from looking at policy changes to try and see whether lives of those at the heart of the advocacy effort has improved. However, it is recommended to establish a set of indicators that before the implementation of the action in order to evaluate its success retrospectively.
For more information, please see the following links, available on the capacity4dev platform: