Advocacy is about influencing people, policies, structures and systems to bring about change. It is about influencing key decision-makers and those in power to act in more equitable ways, holding them to account, and empowering people to speak for themselves.
Sightsavers has a Global Advocacy Team responsible for ensuring that the issues of eye health, disability and the rights of individuals with visual impairments are at the forefront of government discussions and budget allocations.
Advocacy is an increasingly important part of our work, usually working with our partners or other coalitions to ensure our voice is as effective as possible. We have found that advocacy – based on the solid work we do in our programmes – has a profound and long lasting impact.
Our advocacy work involves influencing others to support our cause; whether this is a government department within the UK or a local, regional or national government department in one of the countries where we operate. We work in collaboration with a range of local, national and international initiatives and coalitions.
We campaign for children with disabilities to be included in mainstream schools, for adults who are blind to be supported to live independently, and for eye health to be given the attention it deserves in government budgets. In order to influence governments to affect change, we have to ensure we provide adequate evidence, research and policy documentation illustrating that the issues we are concerned with need serious consideration.
In the long term, our successful advocacy work will enable us to save more sight, prevent more blindness, and support more disabled people around the world.
Sightsavers at the UN General Assembly
Post-2015 development agendaThe High Level Panel report on the post-2015 development agenda has included people with disabilities within the new framework.
Sightsavers' global advocacy refers to advocacy aimed at changing the policies and practices of international organisations such as the World Bank or the World Health Organization.
Sightsavers also advocates on a regional level, influencing and collaborating with a number of regional actors such as the European Union.
Much of Sightsavers’ advocacy work is based on influencing national priorities. Sightsavers advocates in the countries where we operate, and also in the UK.