human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Institutional Advocacy

Study of Caritas practices in strengthening relations with governments

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The topic of Institutional Advocacy has been introduced recently within the Caritas Europa network. It is related to ‘the effort of Caritas to establish a structured relationship with government in order to strengthen the organisation’s own sustainability.’

The present study is meant for the network to better understand this concept and to assess the steps with which to achieve the above goal, based on analysis of experiences shared by Caritas Europa member organisations.

It first explores the meaning and definition of ‘Institutional Advocacy’, as also seen through the lens of different social welfare systems in Europe. It then presents and analyses existing examples of good practices of Institutional Advocacy in a number of countries, grouped according to one of the three dimensions: legislative, financial or political and policy. These examples can serve to inspire, to build confidence and to teach, as well as to be (adapted and) replicated in other countries, depending on the context.

The main goal of this study is to facilitate the sharing of experiences and information and to stimulate and encourage discussion within the Caritas Europa network, rather than to give a top-down definition or to suggest one unique model for all the organisations to adhere to.

Ultimately, this study and Caritas Europa’s work on Institutional Advocacy is meant to help make our member oganisations stronger and more sustainable to better serve the poor.

This work first gives me dignity, as a person, as a father, as a husband, and satisfies my desire to work, because I have always felt like a worker.

Manolo, Driver at Comparte León, MODA-RE, a Spanish Social Economy Enterprise

What to find in this handbook?

This handbook is for all those who want to deepen their knowledge of the Social Economy.

In particular, the first part of the book is especially designed for the directors and managers of Caritas. It shows how investment in and promotion of Social Economy Enterprises can support the work and the vision of Caritas (we have looked at Catholic Social Thought, Caritas principles, and the Caritas Social model). It also explains how Social Economy Enterprises contribute to ensuring sustainable social services and social policies: we have considered some reference frameworks at both global and European levels such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the European Pillar of Social Rights.

The second part is addressed particularly to Caritas experts and is based on the experience already gained in the various countries in which Caritas has been working on the Social Economy. It explains how Caritas works in practice and it analyses the most important aspects to take into consideration when investing, starting-up and developing Social Economy Enterprises.

Throughout the manual there are also 16 boxes that describe concrete experiences carried out by Caritas in different countries and that refer to what is explained in the main text. These boxes allow the reader, on the one hand, to better understand, having a practical example, what has been said in the main text and, on the other, to learn more about the variety of Caritas Social Economy Enterprises throughout Europe.