There are many effective actions you can take, but it can be hard to know where to begin!
This Action Pack provides a range of practical guidance and top tips to help you add your voice in support of meaningful change, whatever your experience.
As you move through the page, we hope that you will enhance your knowledge and understanding of:
For further information on global health advocacy and yet more top tips, please visit THET’s interactive learning hub, Made for Change!
Building a world where everyone has access to quality healthcare requires change – which is exactly what campaigning aims to create. Campaigning involves carrying out a series of activities that are designed to influence attitudes, policies and practices. A successful campaign not only raises awareness of a particular issue but mobilises more people to speak up and act in support of your cause.
Partnership is at the core of effective campaigning. THET recognises that the incredible strides and achievements made by the global health community would not be possible without collaboration and solidarity. In a time where partnership in global health is needed more than ever before, we invite you to join us in making change. To build stronger health systems. To prioritise health equity. To unite with your fellow health workers – wherever they are in the world.
In this section, we explore some of the tactics you may want to use when campaigning. -
How to communicate effectively: Whether you’re writing a blog or sharing campaign updates on social media, to ensure that what you are communicating is as effective as possible, you should aim to meet most or all of these characteristics.
Think about your audience: It is important to consider your audience. Different and diverse audiences interpret and take in information in different ways and there are key questions to consider:
How to maximise your impact: What you share or say will have limited impact unless it is heard, distributed and used by others. Dissemination can take place through a variety of communications channels, such as speaking at national, international and local conferences or webinars, sharing case studies with relevant stakeholders to demonstrate best practices and lessons learnt, and promoting written and audio-visual content through social media.
MPs depend on their constituents to educate them about what issues are most important to them. That is why an MP is more likely to read and prioritise anything their constituents send, over an email from THET. Writing a letter only takes a short amount of your time. It ensures that the people who have been elected to make decisions on your behalf know how you want to be represented.
With increased social distancing and a need to avoid large gatherings, the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the ways we campaign and required us to find new ways to organise, reach out to people, and create change. Through the use of online communication platforms, or even just a simple phone call, you can clearly communicate your campaign message and effectively engage with your peers and/or those with decision-making power.
Our research has shown that many health workers within the NHS want to hear about global health from their fellow health workers. Organising and speaking at events is an effective way of using your lived experiences to inform, inspire and influence.
As well as galvanising your peers in support of global health, you can invite your local MP to find out more about the work of your NHS Trust or Health Partnership.
If you are looking for opportunities to add your voice in support of global health, you can sign up to THET’s Health Advocates Network, a go-to resource for organisations looking for spokespeople, including advocacy organisations and media outlets. Serving as a speaker bureau, this network is designed to provide a platform for health workers to share their experiences and take part in collaborative advocacy within the global health sector. Whether you’re a health worker or represent an organisation, find out more and sign up for free here.
Whether you’re involved in a Health Partnership or have taken part in a global health project, gaining buy-in within your organisation can provide vital support for your campaign. This can be a challenging process, but here are some suggestions on how you might go about it:
The power of a collective voice can never be understated. Movements around the world have proven to be most effective when they are joined by multiple organisations and individuals all advocating for the same call to action. It is crucial to ask who else might share your goal. Through collaboration you can grow your audience, expand your content and increase the salience of your message.
A few key things to remember as you invite others to join your call for change:
Social media is a fantastic way to raise awareness about your campaign or cause. Through platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook you can provide real-time updates, share news, communicate with key stakeholders and collaborate with users from across the global health community.
Choose a platform that you feel most comfortable using (Facebook Twitter, or Instagram) and focus your energy there. You don’t need to post on every platform to have an impact; think about where you already spend your time.
Gaining media coverage on a local level through newspapers, radio or TV stations is a great way to build awareness of your campaign and influence local decision-makers. On a regional or national level, it can be an effective method to help shape public opinion and draw attention to your cause.
In addition to the effective communications principles you heard about earlier, there are a few additional considerations that can help you get your story in the press.
Sharing your story
Once you have crafted your newsworthy story, the next step is to share it with the media. The most effective way to do this is to draft a press release (click here to download our template) and target the journalists and/or news desks who might be interested in covering it:
Making your story stand out is only part of the puzzle; you must also make sure that it is ethical and fair.
Whether you’re interviewing a colleague for a Health Worker Profile or sharing their story with a journalist, upholding their right to participate and be heard, to experience respect and dignity, to make free and informed decisions, and to be protected from risk and harm, should be your number one priority. This involves having an honest an open conversation about how you intend to use and store their data (e.g. written testimony or photo), guaranteeing anonymity if it is requested, and considering any potential negative consequences that could arise for those who choose to share their story.
At THET, we are guided by a Code of Conduct on Ethical Storytelling a range of supporting tools, including photography and interview consent forms, which help us to ensure that our content is gathered, managed and used ethically by our staff and our partners (including volunteers involved in our programmes). These are available on our website here.