The conclusion in a series by Marissa Goldfaden as she works her way through “Introduction to minority rights, regional human rights mechanisms, and minority rights advocacy,” a new online course offered to the public free of charge by Minority Rights Group International. The course’s stated objectives are to introduce concepts of minority rights and discrimination, develop awareness and understanding of international and regional mechanisms for minority rights, and improve practical skills in lobbying and advocacy.


Topic 11: Guide to advocacy campaigns, Part 2
Section 1: Identifying target audiences

The target audiences of an advocacy campaign can be (individually or a combination of):

a. Community leaders
b. Representatives of other communities
c. Local governmentd. Non-governmental organizations

e. Authorities – such as the police

f. National government, including specific ministries

g. Parliament

h. Other countries’ governments

i. Regional bodies, such as the African Union

j. United Nations

Primary targets are the people who have the power to make the desired changes.
Secondary targets are the people who have influence on the primary targets.
Once a target audience has been chosen, the next step is to craft the messages and consider the ways in which they should be conveyed. It is important to consider what message(s) may convince the target the most, and are most likely to result in them taking action.There are three bases for minority rights messages:

  1. Legal – the country’s laws as well as international law, especially treaties that the country has ratified. Governments that respect the rule of law will listen. Others may say that international human rights standards are just ‘a Western construct’.
  • Moral – even if the government does not follow international standards, it may wish to do (or be seen to do) the right thing. There may be powerful arguments based on religious practice or tradition that may work.
  • Practical – finally, there may be very pragmatic reasons for the government to improve its record. Minority rights prevent conflict and promote stability, for example.

It is imperative to formulate a strategy to impart the campaign’s messages. An advocacy strategy should set out:

  1. The SMART goals & sub-goals (as discussed in the previous topic)
  2. An activity plan
  3. Timeline
  4. Budget

Monitoring is defined as the regular collection and analysis of information to follow the progress of a campaign’s implementation. Evaluation, which is the analysis of the effects of the campaign to assess whether it has achieved its stated goals within the given time and budget, occurs at the end of or after an advocacy campaign.