Credit: MamaYe!

Advocacy and social change

Advocacy and social change are at the heart of what we do, whether working to achieve gender equality and social inclusion or to ensure universal health care. We know that creating long-term social transformation within societies requires investment in strong advocacy and social movements. We also know that progressive social policies are influenced by mobilising civil society, changing the political process to include previously marginalised groups, challenging existing gender norms and promoting alternative social norms.

We are creating change by:

  • Working with multiple partners to manage complex, multi-country and global social change initiatives
  • Developing and managing branded campaigns for social change and advocacy that bring together civil society organisations
  • Partnering with civil society and governments to develop strategic and operational plans, advocacy plans and messaging frameworks based on strong theories of change
  • Building the capacity of civil society organisations and the media to better use and package data to influence political will
  • Conducting innovative research to understand the perspectives of marginalised people and to identify opportunities for social change
  • Monitoring and evaluating advocacy and social change initiatives to draw lessons from complex processes of change.

Our campaigns

The Girl Generation is DFID’s flagship programme to unite and inspire a global movement to end female genital mutilation (FGM). It supports campaigns to break the cycle and end FGM globally in one generation, with a particular focus on ten of the most affected countries in Africa.

MamaYe is a campaign to spark the changes needed to ensure that Africa’s mothers and babies survive pregnancy and childbirth. Initiated by our Evidence for Action (E4A) programme, and supported by DFID, MamaYe gives individuals, organisations and the media the information and evidence they need to question, analyse, compare, understand, challenge and act for positive change.

Save a Mama and a Baby is a MamaYe campaign in Malawi and other E4A countries to address acute shortages of blood. It also demonstrates that the public are willing to give blood – a concept not previously accepted. As a result, the Malawi Blood Transfusion Service changed its policy to include community blood collection for the first time leading to a significant increase in the amount of blood collected.

Results

The MamaYe campaign advocates for maternal and newborn survival across Africa

Over the next ten years, more than 30 million girls are at risk of undergoing FGM. The Girl Generation supports campaigns to break this cycle and end FGM

The first community campaign supported by MamaYe! in Malawi trebled the amount of blood collected compared to previous campaigns

Our experts

  • Joanne Hemmings, PhD
    Joanne Hemmings works within the field of sexual and reproductive health. Jo is skilled in the use of qualitative participatory methods to conduct research with high-risk or marginalised groups, and the communication of research evidence for a wide range of audiences, including policy makers. Her professional interests include social marketing, the social determinants of health and FGM prevention. Jo is currently Deputy Director for The Girl Generation, our social communications programme aiming to end FGM in a generation.
  • Kirstan Hawkins, PhD
    Kirstan Hawkins is responsible for developing and supporting Options' programmes, and ensuring the quality of technical inputs for our social change communications programmes. She is a leading expert in the design and implementation of health sector programmes, with expertise in sexual and reproductive health, maternal health and health systems strengthening. Previously based at Swansea University, Kirstan developed the PEER (Participatory Ethnographic Evaluation and Research) approach, an innovative research methodology that trains community-based researchers to access critical behavioural information from their peer groups.
  • Sara Bandali, DrPH
    Sara Bandali has over 15 years’ experience in health sector development, including research, policy development and programme design and implementation. She has worked within government, for implementing organisations and the UN. Sara has expertise in maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, malaria, community health, health systems strengthening, and water supply and sanitation. She has facilitated policy dialogue on cross-sectorial initiatives including HIV/AIDS and gender and early childhood development. Sara is a leading expert on use of evidence and development of accountability mechanisms to advocate for better maternal and newborn health services.
  • Faith Mwangi-Powell, PhD
    Dr Faith Mwangi-Powell spearheads The Girl Generation campaign’s global advocacy agenda, and supports the development of social change campaigns in ten countries across Africa. Prior to joining The Girl Generation, she was Chief of Party for a USAID-funded programme in Kenya. Faith was the founding Executive Director of the African Palliative Care Association, promoting palliative care across the African continent and internationally. Her expertise includes health systems strengthening, quality improvement, policy development, HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, human rights, gender, TB and other chronic illnesses.

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More about Options
Established in 1992, Options has worked in over 50 countries. We lead and manage health sector programmes on behalf of international donors and national governments.
Established in 1992, Options has worked in over 50 countries. We lead and manage health sector programmes on behalf of international donors and national governments.

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