Advocacy and Conflict


Advocacy is an important strategy in CARE's efforts to address violent conflict. Often the drivers of conflict are political and reflect competition for power, authority and resources, or grievances between different groups in a society. As such, conducting a credible policy analysis and designing an effective advocacy strategy can be essential tools for our efforts to work in and on conflict. The policy-related dimensions of conflict, and how conflict impacts on CARE's programmes, beneficiaries and wider goals, can be local, national and/or international. The Conflict Community of Practice provides one forum amongst others in CARE International to share lessons learned and identify ways forward on advocacy in conflict.

Background on CARE International structures and protocols in conflict-related advocacy

CARE International's wider advocacy efforts are overseen by the CI Advocacy, Media and Campaigns Committee (the CI 'AMC'). The CI Secretariat also has one CI Global Advocacy Coordinator, Martha Chouchena-Rojas, who can provide advice on CI approaches to advocacy. The CI AMC is currently revising CI guidelines and protocols for advocacy in general, including aspects that relate to sign-off procedure and managing risks associated with advocacy. Previous versions of these guidelines can be downloaded below.

Background on CARE International priorities in conflict-related advocacy

CARE International's advocacy on conflict-related issues has generally fallen under two types: country-focused and thematic.

Considerable effort and capacity has been dedicated in the past to support advocacy in major rapid on-set and protracted crises, including Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Haiti. Key themes for advocacy at global level of relevance to conflict settings have included advocacy by country offices, members and the CI secretariat on conflict-related aid effectiveness debates, humanitarian space and humanitarian reforms. On conflict-related aid effectiveness, CI led much of the inter-agency advocacy on conflict issues around the Accra High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in 2008. For example, CI's Secretary General, Robet Glasser, participated and spoke at the high-level donor roundtable on conflict issues at Accra. On humanitarian space, CI advocacy has tended to focus on both specific countries, such as Somalia and Afghanistan, and themes, such as the impact of donor counter-terror restrictions on our programming. On humanitarian reform, CI advocacy has often centred on the cluster coordination system and new UN and bilateral humanitarian financing mechanisms.

Current CI advocacy priorities of relevance to conflict include:
  • Women, Peace and Security: There is a CI Women, Peace and Security Working-Group, coordinated by CIUK, which facilites joint work. A revised and updated CI WPS advocacy strategy will shortly be circulated for consultation. The strategy focuses on two main aspects: gender-based violence / protection, and the empowerment of women to participate effectively in peacemaking, peacebuilding and post-conflict governance.
  • Humanitarian space: The recent CI 'Aid In Conflict' initiative identified a number of policy-related challenges to CARE's humanitarian access and programming in conflict. Follow-up actions will be consulted on shortly.
  • Humanitarian reform: the CI Central Emergency Group (CEG) leads on advocacy on these issues, in coordination with the wider CI Emergency Response Working Group (ERWG). Please visit the Aid Effectiveness Busan wiki page for more information.
A number of other CI advocacy priorities, such as climate change and food security, also have potential implications for CARE's work in conflict. However these aspects have not been prioritised or worked on in any depth.

Links to relevant resources

Current compaigns:

Voices Against Violence

Post-2015 MDGs/ New Deal Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals

Debate on Advocacy in Conflict Contexts

Participants at a 2007 CARE and Actionaid sponsored conference on rights based approaches in humanitarian and conflict contexts discuss the challenges and opportunities surrounding advocacy initiatives in conflict.