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  • Writer's pictureJohnson C Onuoha

The Role of Advocacy Networks in Improving Governance

Advocacy is the process of making active involvements with an avowed purpose of influencing and facilitating government policy. Advocacy networks consist of groups or organizations that collaborate to positively affect political change. It could include public or private sector individuals or groups. Advocacy networks act on a national, regional, and international level to collect, evaluate, and systematically communicate information to positively affect the conduct of governments, both locally and internationally. The interaction of advocacy coalitions within a policy framework defines policymaking. Choices and actions guided by value systems of network alignments and activities can help drive changes for effective governance. They collaborate with official stakeholder groups to wield influence as drivers of strategic significant choices.

Effective policies are characterized by a significant shift in political participation and civic engagement. Advocacy networks provide a system of engagements with public parastatals and authorities through various media on matters ranging from political, socioeconomic, and health concerns, among others, having identified gaps through on-the-ground operations and collating shared shreds of evidence.

Understanding the role of advocacy networks in effective governance enables a more in-depth and effective experience in the policy sector. They contribute to policymaking by building relationships, acquiring intelligence, and developing expertise that can help governments increase their domestic and national initiatives. Developing an advocacy network strategy provides an environment for a comprehensive understanding of the policymaking process. It elucidates and provides insight into policy opportunities and bottlenecks, as well as who or what is crucial in the evaluation and formulation of working policies. Gathering this information allows advocates to have a better knowledge of opposing viewpoints, allowing them to develop strong valid arguments and clear, unified solutions and alternatives. Advocates carefully navigate these relationships to ensure their credibility, as seen by policymakers and the public, remains intact

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Functioning and Impact of Advocacy Networks in Governance

Advocacy networks contribute to the policymaking process, and their impact on improving governance policies is not to be overemphasized.

  • Monitoring policies and public accountability: The Impact of advocacy networks are often enhanced when individuals (advocates) and relevant organizations are involved in the process of policy monitoring and evaluation process and collecting demand-side data using approaches such as public polls, social surveys, and participation in the review of existing policies to prompt corrections. Such social accountability methods are increasingly being recognized as useful tools for boosting civic participation in policymaking and monitoring.

  • Information Sharing: By highlighting public policy targets and drawing public attention to underachievement or policy malfunctions based on a shred of detailed evidence and analysis from sensitive critical findings from reliable sources, policy monitoring by civil society advocacy networks can result in improved policy implementation and effectiveness. Politicians, including legislators, government representatives, and public servants at various levels, along with corporate sector leaders whose decision-making impact people, including those whose views and opinions usually affect policymakers, such as journalists and the media, development agencies, large NGOs, and aid agencies, receive information from these advocacy networks to enhance ailing areas.

  • Operational Collaborations and Partnerships: Policy changes or modifications involve collaborative capacity-building efforts and initiatives. Policy inputs from various advocacy networks are harmonized and juxtaposed through operational alliances and partnerships to generate more detailed policy change results. Advocacy networks that have identified policy gaps can cooperate with government and programs at the country level through a variety of approaches, including advisory and consultative positions in committees. Careful strategy and organization must be combined with the capacity to rally the large public and political coalitions towards a common objective.


Concludingly, an advocacy network is a relevant factor in governance. It involves purposeful advocacy in which individuals and coalitions seek to redefine or reset the policy agenda rather than simply monitor or respond to government policymaking. It involves initiative and action. Information is used by advocacy networks in several ways:

To modify the underpinning rationale of a policy issue, advocacy networks develop and disseminate new or different information. Such evidence or information may influence the public perception of a crucial player, increase the cost of an undesired policy issue, or modify the perception of existing regulations or policies.

These details can be used to draw attention to contemporary issues or reframe existing issues in ways that appeal to a broader audience; this typically entails the use of on-the-ground evidence and research information and performances to shift the narrative.

Advocacy networks use the data to engage the support of allies that individual network members would not be able to obtain on their own.

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