APC TIG Week: Rhonda Schlangen, Julie Tumbo, and Ben Awinda on a campaign approach to disseminating advocacy evaluations

Hello! We are Rhonda Schlangen (US), Julie Tumbo (Tanzania), and Ben Awinda (Tanzania), evaluation consultants specializing in advocacy and development.  In Tanzania and other countries, civil society advocates struggle with developing skills and finding support for their efforts. We’re using the dissemination phase of an evaluation of three groundbreaking Tanzanian advocacy campaigns to support advocate capacity-building. This encouraged us to rethink the usual presentation-and-distribution-of-reports approach and conceptualize dissemination as a platform on which to build learning.

Lesson learned: Take a campaign approach to dissemination. For this project, we designed the Mwanaharakati (“Activist”) Campaign to both share the evaluation results and involve civil society actors, particularly those in Tanzania, in conversations about the case studies and use of the information to advance their own advocacy work.

Hot tips:

  • Start designing the dissemination campaign plan by first asking advocates how they and their constituencies would like to receive the information. We discovered that Facebook is out, WhatsApp is in, and everyone loves cartoons.
  • Keep the conversation going! Ben poses biweekly questions related to issues highlighted in the case studies on the campaign’s social media accounts in both Kiswahili and English.

Rad Resource: Graphic novels!  We wanted to reach young people, individuals with limited literacy abilities, and people with limited patience to read long documents, so we worked with a talented cartoonist to develop comic versions of the case studies. It was important to work with a local artist who understood the political context and the cultural nuances of images and colors. He accurately and compellingly conveyed the advocacy issues and tactics.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating APC TIG Week with our colleagues in the Advocacy and Policy Change Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our AP TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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