Advocacy campaigns combine public health principles with civil society development to ensure the continuity and sustainability of health programs and the protection of human rights.
Training, empowering, and uniting. DOW trains health providers, organizations, and other individuals to understand and apply methodologies of treatment and to disseminate health information across communities. Recognizing the power of the group, we unite individuals and communities in networks that advocate a joint platform with a stronger voice. Such networks expand awareness of an issue to a broader audience, lobby more effectively and on a larger scale for access to health care in marginalized communities, and increase the accountability of state authorities.
Giving a voice to the excluded. DOW gives voice to marginalized populations by training and enabling them to advocate their needs and actively participate in their communities. Trained advocates act as the watchdogs of their community, preventing the deterioration of health and service programs that have been implemented even after DOW is no longer present in a region.
Providers as advocates. DOW augments technical training for health care providers with advocacy techniques. Providers are uniquely able to serve as effective advocates because of their technical expertise, knowledge of patients’ experiences, ability to speak the language of health policymakers, and their status in their societies. Their professional knowledge allows them to monitor and document both health problems and progress, as well as identify gaps in service to particular communities. Providers’ expertise also gives them credibility to influence decision makers at the policy and national levels.
A model for advocacy. Among its many advocacy and capacity building projects around the world, DOW has developed a model for advocacy that has been successfully implemented in DOW programs in Romania, Bulgaria, and Mexico. Our Peer Health Educators (PHE) model provides technical training to members of the community and deploys them as advocates serving marginalized communities. This model ensures that the individuals and communities we work with are capable of voicing community health needs, monitoring public programs, and actively advocating for change.