What is advocacy?
Advocacy is an activity about creating change. It can also be referred to as lobbying or influencing. Advocacy is speaking up on your rights and giving your opinions.
NCBI wants to empower people and communities to influence the decisions that affect them and to ensure the inclusion of people with sight loss in decision-making processes.
Why become an advocate?
Advocacy is an essential part of improving the lives of people with disabilities by assisting and guiding in accessing rights and entitlements.
Advocates can help to provide a safeguard for people with disabilities who may be vulnerable. Advocacy comes in different forms, including self-advocacy, citizen advocacy and representative advocacy.
Self-advocacy is when a person speaks up for themselves either individually or as part of a group.
Representative advocacy involves an advocate supporting a person to claim their rights or entitlements.
Citizen advocacy provides long term advocacy to people with a disability, so that they are supported to meet the challenges encountered due to their disability.
What do advocates do?
Advocates aim to make services such as education, health, employment, and legal rights more accessible to people with sight loss. Advocates make complaints and suggestions surrounding issues that affect either themselves or the groupthat they are advocating for.
An advocate must ask themselves three questions:
- What is the problem?
- What do you want the campaign to achieve?
- What would success look like?
Once these questions are answered there are three important steps in advocacy:
1. Developing a campaign message
- Be specific; set clear and realistic goals.
- Keep it short; your campaign aim should be easily explained in one sentence.
2. Communicating effectively
- Identify strengths and weaknesses; what skills and resources can you avail of.
- Spread the word among other advocates.
- Identify your target and who is involved.
3. Getting the media on board
- Use social media to spread your message.
- Contact local newspapers and radio stations.
What responsibilities do NCBI’s advocates have?
Express views and concerns relating to the sight loss community. Defend and promote the rights of both yourself and others. Explore choices and options to make change.
Code of conduct
As a trained advocate with NCBI, you are a role model throughout the sight loss community. It is important that you remain mindful of the level of professionality that you bring to your advocacy work.
As a trained advocate and a representative of NCBI you are expected to:
- Work in dignified ways by respecting individual worth, dignity and privacy.
- Respect other advocates’ voices, ideas and opinions. Co-operate with NCBI’s advocacy team and other trained advocates.
- Create a platform where people feel safe to express issues.
- Encourage others to get involved in advocacy work.
- Be positive in seeking to induce change.
- Remain aware of the responsibilities involved in advocacy work.
NCBI Service User and Engagement Strategy
NCBI aims to be an organisation where service users can influence the decision-making process. The strategy aims to promote maximum participation opportunities through fair and representative consultation.
As a trained advocate, you will be engaging with NCBI through a range of involvement opportunities, working in partnership with us to deliver a service that not only meets the needs of service users but exceeds their expectations. Your input as a trained advocate in shaping NCBI services is invaluable.
You can also download the NCBI Handbook for Advocates
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