Malaria Advocacy – how do we measure success?

shm-abola5.jpgThe Malaria Advocacy Innovation Grants have recently issued a report on their activities. The grants were expected to support “ideas and partnerships that reached new audiences in creative ways and tackled difficult issues such as equity, transparency and accountability.” The 3-year program reached 16 African countries and did involve audiences ranging from the expected civil society groups to government leaders, business people and researchers.

The challenge with advocacy efforts is what do we measure as success? By way of results or indicators, the Malaria Advocacy Innovation Grants “aimed to boost advocacy efforts to improve Africa-to-Africa accountability for response to malaria suffering on the continent as well inspire African civil society organizations and media to become “leaders” in the fight against malaria.”

Examples of success reported by these “mobilizing for malaria” projects include:

  • Nigeria: the partner substantially boosted the capacity of local civil society by organising a five-day malaria advocacy training session. 35 people representing 28 CSOs were trained
  • Tanzania: 37 MPs were trained in a workshop, and became instrumental in forming a first-of-its kind coalition of Tanzania Parliamentarians Against Malaria (TAPAMA)
  • Ghana: a magazine Eyes on Malaria was created, connecting malaria research findings and policy with day to day issues
  • Mozambique: a project focused on mobilizing and engaging government representatives and businesses resulted in several enterprises starting to plan malaria control interventions as part of their social responsibility programmes

According to WOLA, Bread for the World and CEDPA, “Aspects (of advocacy) to be evaluated include the execution of strategies, the impact of the initiative in solving (or not solving) the specific problem, its contribution to the empowerment of the group and of civil society, and consequences for democracy.”

The Malaria Advocacy Innovation Grants have just concluded, and hopefully we can expect more in terms of evaluation from the project. In the meantime we have some key outputs documented. Ultimately we would like to learn how these advocacy efforts impacted on malaria programming and whether the CSOs who were trained become sustainable themselves and continue to contribute in a meaningful way to fighting malaria in their countries and regions.

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