We understand social justice advocacy to be planned, organised and sustained actions. Its purpose is to influence public policy outcomes, with and/ on behalf of a vulnerable group or community or indeed the wider public good.
Social justice advocacy is informed by experiences of poverty and exclusion by:
- Providing individual/personal advocacy supports aimed at realising right and entitlements.
- Delivering direct services and meeting social and economic needs.
- Empowering and involving those experiencing the issues in the decisions that impact their lives.
- Producing research and analysis that illustrates the realities of poverty and social exclusion.
It is targeted at a broad range of stakeholders including: policy-makers, civil and public servants, social partners, relevant international organisations, broader public opinion, and other relevant actors.
Who is civil society?
Civil society is the space between the household and the state. It fulfils many roles including providing alternatives, vision and acting as a counterweight to the influence of commercial interests and unfettered state power. It represents two of the fundamental freedoms in a democracy – the right to free speech and the right to freedom of association.
Civil society organisations that are involved in social justice advocacy can include: non-governmental and non-profit organisations, the community and voluntary sector, trade unions, professional associations, community-based organisations, faith-based organisations, social movements and networks, the media and academia.
Community and voluntary sector social justice advocacy
Early on we decided to focus on the advocacy work of the community and voluntary sector. While it does not have a monopoly on social justice advocacy, the organisations who established The Advocacy Initiative believed they played a critical role in addressing the causes of inequality and exclusion in our society and in ensuring the voices of the excluded and marginalised are heard.