20. Involvement of Grassroots Groups
A Primary Tool
Description and Purpose:
This is a tool for analyzing the most appropriate approach to the involvement of grassroots groups in your advocacy work. It works by considering the pros and cons of the three options as a basis for discussion and decision-making.
The three approaches to be considered are:
- Leading grassroots groups
- Representing grassroots groups
- Working with grassroots groups
Take a few minutes to think of some of the pros and cons of each approach and make some notes in the table below:
How you see advocacy in this dimension will depend to an extent on how you see the role of grassroots groups. There is not one correct approach – each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
If you have a greater level of knowledge, skills and resources than grassroots groups, then leading advocacy for them can be quicker and more efficient. You could even advocate in your own right. There may be a short-term advantage in leading them if you want to add weight to your own advocacy, without changing your strategy (or taking time to capacity build).
Representing their positions in advocacy may require much preliminary education and awareness – and giving yourself over as a platform for their views.
Advocacy with grassroots groups gives a more level platform for advocacy work. However, it is not as simple as it sounds, and the reality is often not what is claimed. For it to be genuine, grassroots groups should be involved in choosing the issue, setting the objectives and deciding on the strategy, as well as sharing responsibility for putting the strategy into practice. To be successful this requires capacity building and increased understanding of the issues and political processes.