From analysis to Action
Mobilisation in the northern hemisphere: Advocacy and campaigning in the southern hemisphere can be complemented by action in the Global North. This serves two major purposes. Firstly, to influence northern governments and raise awareness of key developmental issues among the general public in the North. Through encouraging the involvement and activism of the general public in the North it is hoped that northern donors will be pressurised to increase their aid budgets, or spend their money differently. Secondly, this international exposure and action will put pressure on governments in the Global South, encouraging them to reflect on and refine their current spending plans and priorities.
See an example from practice:
India, Pakistan and Bangladesh
In addition to traditional lobbying techniques, such as meetings with individual parliamentarians, the Commonwealth Education Fund coordinators across India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, along with India’s National Coalition on Education, decided to organise a regional conference, bringing together parliamentarians from the three countries to encourage parliamentarians to discuss education issues.
The two-day conference was attended by 17 parliamentarians and 100 members of civil society. Discussions focused on the common challenges facing education across the three countries, experiences (from the civil society perspective) of engaging with legislators on education initiatives, and the different ways in which civil society supports the right to education. The role of civil society in researching and informing parliamentarians and political parties was highlighted, touching on issues such as how civil society should try to influence party manifestos, but in order to do this they should ensure that their demands are backed up by rigorously researched information – such as the results of budget analysis. A final session brought in 50 students from schools across Delhi to interact with the parliamentarians, asking challenging questions on a range of issues, including the relative priorities of education and defence in the national budget; the role of children in policy formulation and the position of women in India.
The conference had been organised to raise parliamentarians’ interest in education, and a surprise result was the decision by the parliamentarians to form a ‘South Asian Parliamentarians Forum for Education’ (SAPFE), inviting parliamentarians from Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan to join them, with Bangladesh hosting the secretariat. Unfortunately the Bangladeshi government was dissolved immediately following the meeting but there is hope that the forum will be revived in the future and implement a range of activities to move education up the political agenda, while recognising the need to tackle the wider issues of gender equality, minority rights, child labour and disadvantaged communities if education is to become a reality for all.