26 Civil Society Organizations working on Maternal health, Child health, Adolescents health, HIV/AIDs and Human Rights related issues were trained by the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) on policy lobby and advocacy.
The four days training held from 7th- 10th August 2017 in Entebbe, Uganda hinged on one of the major Health Systems Advocacy Partnership project components that is aimed at building capacity of indigenous civil society organizations to be able to engage effectively with governments, the private sector and other stakeholders accountable for health systems to deliver; equitable, accessible and high-quality SRHR and services.
“Wanting to become agents of change should be the drive for every individual to work hard. The lobby and advocacy skills acquired from the training will go a long way in bringing the change that we want to see.” Prof. Francis Omaswa, the Executive Director of ACHEST noted whole speaking at the training.
He advised the coalition members to create a lot of awareness around reproductive health like it was done around HIV AIDS being cognizant of the fact that maternal health is one indicator that did not perform well during the Millennium Development Goal era.
The purpose of the training was to; impart knowledge and widen the skills base; and develop materials, tools and plans to drive the lobby and advocacy agenda in Sexual Reproductive Health Rights, specific to Human Resources for Health, Leadership and Governance.
Key thematic areas of the training comprised: definitions of concepts used in advocacy and lobbying, advocacy and lobbying cycle, media advocacy, advocacy monitoring and evaluation, social accountability tools and advocacy monitoring and evaluation.
“We may build roads to go to the hospital which is a good thing, but building better human capital of healthy people who can build roads to go to the hospital is key in achieving a country’s development.” Dr. Patrick Kadama, Director of Health Policy at ACHEST said.
35 participants from 26 civil society organizations including ACHEST staff from Uganda and Zambia were trained while ACHEST staff from Kenya were not able to participate given the political situation in the country at the time.
Participants developed advocacy strategies, press releases, policy briefs and work plans specific to the three contexts guided by a step by step training manual in a participatory manner which will be improved and disseminated in a joint engagement.