The global need for humanitarian assistance and protection continues to increase. At the time of writing, it is expected that a staggering 339 million people – one in every 23 people on the planet – will need emergency assistance to survive in 2023. Conflict is a key driver of such needs and while the protection of people affected by conflict and crisis is recognised as a critical and lifesaving part of humanitarian action, new and protracted conflicts, impunity, and a disregard for both human rights and human life continue to be major challenges.
Those responsible for ensuring protection are not always able or willing to fulfil their responsibilities. Advocating for duty bearers to take the necessary action to ensure the protection of people in conflict and crises is a critical part of protection work. This protection advocacy takes many forms and is carried out by multiple different structures and organisations, from community groups influencing local authorities to national-level advocacy with duty bearers to mobilisation at the global level. The impact of these actions can be enhanced when all those advocating for protection in different ways and in different spaces – each using their distinctive expertise, skills, ability, and networks – connect and coordinate their actions in collective advocacy.
This toolkit is for individuals, organisations, and structures carrying out advocacy to achieve protection outcomes. It has been divided into five sections, describing the different steps of the protection advocacy cycle and providing key guides or tools needed to navigate each step.
These modules should not be considered as having a strictly sequential order, advocacy is an iterative process where our approaches, tactics, risk analyses, or even the strategy itself, changes to accommodate a changing reality.
Protection advocacy can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. This toolkit will hopefully help demystify the inner workings of advocacy, encourage agencies to work collectively, and foster the inclusion of a wide range of individuals and agencies in a joint effort to reduce protection risks and strengthen protection outcomes for all those impacted by crisis.