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Capacity Strengthening workshop for members in WASH Advocacy and Fundraising

On 21st to 23rd November 2023, IRC Ghana in collaborating with the Coalition of NGOs in water and sanitation (CONIWAS) held a training workshop for members of CONIWAS in Tamale on Advocacy and Fundraising in WASH. With a participant number of 30, the inaugural day of the WASH Advocacy Workshop set the stage for a transformative exploration of universal Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) services. Delving into the intricacies of advocacy, the first day unfolded with an insightful introduction and four immersive sessions, each designed to empower participants with the tools and knowledge essential for effective WASH advocacy.

Participants during the workshop

The initial session, a strategic beacon, navigated the nuanced realm of advocacy’s impact on policies within the WASH sector. Distinguishing itself from mere lobbying, the workshop promoted direct engagement with decision-makers and introduced the novel concept of ‘invocacy’—the cultivation of advocates within organizations. As participant perspectives illuminated the diverse nature of advocacy, ranging from persuasive communication to societal transformation appeals, the workshop laid a solid foundation for the days ahead.

Participants during group discussions

Subsequent sessions focused on the importance of a structured approach, guiding participants in the identification of clear advocacy issues and the formulation of goals and objectives. The innovative Alignment, Interest, and Influence Matrix (AIIM) took center stage in the target audience session, offering a strategic tool for audience analysis. The day concluded with a collaborative group activity, where participants applied their newfound knowledge to create AIIMs, and the introduction to the online WASH Systems Academy marked the beginning of collaborative group projects, fostering a culture of continuous learning in WASH advocacy and fundraising.

As the sun rose on the second day, the workshop continued its mission with a reflective opening prayer, setting the tone for a day dedicated to advancing universal WASH services. Sessions 5 and 6 delved into strengths, limitations, partnerships, and various forms of advocacy activities. Challenges were met head-on in Session 5, urging participants to strategize methods to overcome obstacles and emphasizing the importance of a clear strategy for collaborative advocacy. Session 6, a beacon of creativity, encouraged participants to explore various advocacy forms, ensuring engagement with diverse audiences.

The afternoon sessions, 7 and 8, unveiled the art of crafting effective advocacy messages and measuring progress. Clear communication, pre-testing messages, and strategic use of communication channels were stressed in Session 7, while Session 8 concentrated on reflective progress analysis, introducing Outcome Harvesting and the AIIM matrix. The day concluded with a reflection on progress and challenges, underscoring the integration of in-person and online learning experiences for the ongoing collective advocacy journey toward Day 3.

Day 3 dawned with renewed purpose, opening with a prayer that set the stage for a day dedicated to fundraising strategies for WASH initiatives. Building on the insights of the previous day, participants immersed themselves in a dedicated fundraising course for NGOs and CSOs, blending plenary presentations, group discussions, practical exercises, and individual online learning through the WASH Systems Academy. Fundraising was defined as a strategic mobilization of funds in Session 1, introducing the ‘Fundraising Funnel’ and its six crucial steps. Session 2 explored the funding landscape, categorizing funders and highlighting the importance of adaptability. Flexible fundraising approaches took center stage in Session 3, while Session 4 delved into impactful donor approaches, introducing the concept of the pitch. Session 5 underscored thorough assessment and planning when responding to funding opportunities, creating a holistic understanding of the fundraising process.

The afternoon sessions covered online courses on advocacy and fundraising, concluding with reflections on gained knowledge and practical steps ahead in the realm of WASH initiatives. The WASH Advocacy and Fundraising Workshop not only equipped participants with the tools to effect change but also fostered a community committed to continuous learning, collaboration, and collective impact in the vital sphere of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene services.

 

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