The Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law is active in advocating for decisions that are important to society. In addition to promoting and implementing changes in CEDEM’s activities, we also provide support to other organizations and activists whose work is related to advocacy.
Therefore, we support civil society organizations that address pressing issues in their communities and regions, as well as implement training projects for activists who are working or are just starting their careers in the field of advocacy.
Development of coalitions of civil society organizations in the regions
During the first half of 2020, CEDEM successfully completed the project “Coalition of Civil Society Organizations of Polissia – Synergy and Influence”, which was implemented in Zhytomyr and Lutsk. More than 20 NGOs in these cities have joined two coalitions with the support of CEDEM.
The project aimed to strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations to jointly address the problems of their city’s community. To this end, organizations have developed policies and advocated for their implementation at the local government level through appropriate decisions.
Throughout the project, CEDEM provided advice on coalition building and legal support to activists in Zhytomyr and Lutsk. We also conducted 19 webinars in the field of communication and organizational development for the coalition members.
Key results of the coalitions:
- An agreement was reached with the city authorities of Lutsk on the launch of the information campaign “Made in Lutsk”: information labels will appear in the city’s retail chains next to locally produced goods, and thematic fairs will be held for local producers.
- A division will be set up under the Lutsk City Council’s Education Department to introduce IT technologies in the city’s schools.
- They have developed information materials, which Lutskvodokanal will place on the back of water bills.
- Regulations “On the establishment of a permanent working group to identify and eliminate sources of air pollution in the city of Lutsk” were developed. Activists presented their concept to local authorities with the participation of the Director of the Department of Ecology and the Head of the State Ecological Inspection of Volyn Region and received approval for implementation.
- Comments on the public health program of Zhytomyr Region for the next three years have been developed.
- Recommendations included in the Memorandum of Cooperation between the National Police and Zhytomyr ATC have been developed. They include the ability to engage other institutions and organizations of any form of ownership as a third party.
- As part of 19 webinars, activists of Zhytomyr and Volyn Regions raised awareness of organizational development and communication.
Advocacy School is an educational project of CEDEM for people with active citizenship, representatives of NGOs and movements who have basic experience in advocacy and are interested in deepening knowledge and further work in advocacy. In 2020, CEDEM hosted the fifth School, but it was held online for the first time. The participants were 25 representatives of public initiatives from different parts of Ukraine.
During training, the lecturers shared their experience on how to go from problem identification to successful change implementation. The trainers not only told the participants about the theoretical principles of the advocacy process, but also helped to consolidate the acquired knowledge through practical tasks. For example, on defining the problem and purpose of advocacy, building strategy, working with stakeholders, and communicating change.
School of communication in advocacy
It is important for civil society organizations and their successful work to promote and highlight changes in the information space. Therefore, as part of the initiative, on September 23-25, 2020, CEDEM held the School of Communication in Advocacy, which was attended by 31 communicators working in the public sector.
In three days, the students of the School learned how to develop and implement communication strategies, work in the digital sphere, build relationships with the media and the authorities, and find their audience. Such skills will help them in advocacy, because in order to achieve change, they need to be communicated to society.