human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

The Institutional Advocacy Forum met for the first time!

On 16-17 January, Caritas Europa organised the first Institutional Advocacy Forum in Bratislava, Slovakia. Caritas Slovakia hosted the Forum in Centrum Salvator, which is run by the Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Saviour.

The Forum gathered members from the newly formed Institutional Advocacy Action Group and its Reference Network for a first exchange of practices. Advocacy experts from 15 European Caritas organisations participated to discuss how Caritas does advocacy in different countries and how Caritas positions itself in relation to state authorities.

Caritas experts on advocacy from France, Romania, Germany and Armenia presented their institutional advocacy work and strategies to be recognised by governments as key policy influencers. Throughout the Forum, participants were able to showcase their institutional advocacy efforts to influence legislative and political processes and the allocation of state funds.

Contributions from the participants were used during the working groups session as a basis for identifying and discussing common elements of institutional advocacy models, focusing on financial, political and legal aspects. All the outputs from the Forum, including the conclusions of the working groups, will be developed in the following months into a tool by the Institutional Advocacy Action Group that will help Caritas organisations to improve their institutional advocacy activities.

During the Forum, participants also had the opportunity to discover the Caritas Europa mapping system. Miriam Pikaar from the secretariat presented this tool, which will help the network to collect and systematise information, data and expertise from all member organisations. This tool will be very useful for national institutional advocacy purposes since Caritas organisations can use it to better show their governments the projects and services they are providing.