Influencing means on-going and systematic efforts to change power relationships, attitudes and behaviours, policies and practices and depending on context can include:

  • Range of influencing within programmes at country level linked up to opportunities at regional and national level that will help deliver change in people’s lives
  • Advocacy, and campaigning (including coalition building, research, policy development, lobbying, media, digital tools)
  • Mobilisation (of activists, supporters, citizens)
  • Coordinated worldwide communicating and networking
  • Capacity development (of citizens, partners, civil society, duty bearers)
  • Partnerships and strategic funding


  • Advocacy: is the process of effecting positive change in people’s lives through influencing decision-makers and individuals to change their policies and practices, attitudes or behaviours
  • A campaign :is usually focused on achieving a particular change – usually over a set period of time using a range of tactics often involving citizens and the public
  • Campaigning :usually refers to mobilising or organising the public or influencing their attitudes and behaviours on certain issues


  1. Convening and brokering
  2. Developing and promoting new business models
  • Using your credibility, reach and networking power – local to national to global
  1. Replication and scale up of successful models
  2. Capacity building others
  3. Building alliances and movements
  • Advocacy & Campaigning: power analysis, research, lobbying, rallies, stunts, coalition building, blogging, petitions, social media
  • Research, knowledge, learning and evaluation approaches

What makes a good influencing or advocacy plan? Key elements of a good plan

  • Good analysis of your context
  • Clear vision and long-term goal, knowing the change you want to see and its impact
  • Good research, evidence and power analysis
  • Opportunities, challenges and how you will address them
  • SMART objectives (the specific outcomes you seek in order to have impact)
  • An excellent activities plan
  • Whilst implementing your advocacy – being flexible and persistent
  • Monitoring, reviewing and learning as you go

Influencing & Advocacy tactics can involve

  • Doing research and gathering evidence
  • Lobbying
  • Dialogue and relationship building with decision-makers and stakeholders
  • Networking with allies and partners
  • Influencing through the media
  • Raising awareness, demonstrating public concern and popular mobilisation
  • Using social media, online and digital communication channels

  Influencing tools & approaches for ASSAR S W O T Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats/Challenges ADVOCACY FOCUS INSTITUTIONS: Policy Change = new or amended law, policy or budget decision Practice Change = ineffective implementation or damaging practices INDIVIDUALS: Attitude and Behaviour change = view and treat people or the environment in a different way What needs to change?

  1. Policy
  2. Practice
  • Ideas and Beliefs

At what level?

  • Individual
  • Household
  • Community
  • Subnational
  • National
  • Global


  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time bound

NB: Flexible, adaptable, monitored, reviewed and amended as required in light of learning WHO INFLUENCES CHANGE? (ACTORS)

  1. Institutions
  2. Individuals
  • Organised People

Risk Management in influencing Risk is the potential that a chosen action or activity (including the choice of inaction) will lead to a loss (an undesirable outcome). Combination of:

  • Hazard or threat
  • Probability or likelihood
  • Impact

Risk in advocacy Damage to reputation or brand

  • hostile media reaction
  • adverse public or community reaction

Damage to relationships with partners etc.

  • Security risk to staff or partners

Political risk

  • restrictions on ability to operate
  • damage to long-term relationships and influence

Legal risks

  • compensation claims
  • libel

Risk Management Framework A tool for assessing risk

  • Identify a campaign objective, opportunity or tactic
  • Identify key stakeholders

Power Analysis for Influencing Power Analysis: Stage One

  • Have a defined overall goal
  • Identify what laws, policies, practices, relationships, attitudes or behaviours need to change and set some specific objectives
  • Consider what are the opportunities for change and the main obstacles

Power Analysis: Stage Two

  • At what level are decisions made (international, national, state, politician, official, community, family, individuals) ?
  • Who are decision-makers, individuals and institutions that determine the change?
  • Who are the key influencers?
  • Among these groups and individuals who are

-Champions – supportive and so easily influenced by you and your allies -The blockers or opposed -The swingers/floaters – neutral or undecided and persuadable

  • What persuades them? – Evidence, peer pressure, self-interest, political survival etc.
  • Where decisions are made – in closed, invited or claimed spaces?
  • Decide which advocacy and influencing tactics to use

How should we engage our targets for best effect? 

Ways to involve your target in the research process: -Member of the Steering Group -Involved in data collection with the team -Provide comments on 1st draft report -Preview final report and speak at launch -Co-host a seminar on the topic -Discuss findings in one-to-one meeting

Are there “gatekeepers” whose cooperation is needed? -Local governors in municipalities where research is conducted. -Religious / community leaders -Specific minsters / civil servants

When engaging targets:

  • Be Strategic – who do you involve, at what degree, which level & why?
  • Be clear about the goal of engagement – why & how does this benefit the research and/or advocacy?
  • Be flexible, contextual and ready to change your tactics.
  • Keep the ‘change’ you seek at the forefront.


  1. Conservancy Model

# Governance of natural resources is one of the defining challenges for development in the 21st century because it determines access to productive resources and therefore dictates households’ vulnerability and adaptive capacity in the face of climate change (governance & climate change adaptation). # Establishment of conservancies implies change in governance and therefore access to the key grazing and water sources, which are normally shared between livestock and wildlife within these critical areas of the dry lands. These changes are expected to have implications on the livelihoods and therefore ability of the pastoral communities to effectively adapt to the changing climate (conservancies & access to ecosystem services). # There is a need to analyse the conservancy model based on their ecological and socio-economic impacts in order to understand how they may enhance or undermine community’s adaptation and resilience to climate change (impact of conservancy model & adaptation).  

  1. Governance

# There is weak nestedness in policies, practices and decision-making that has implications for the governance of climate change adaptation in these countries (Policy-Practice-decision making nexus). # While there have been efforts to decentralise and involve a diversity of actors in governance of adaptation, these attempts have resulted in overlapping or unclear distribution of responsibilities and resources between the key actors (responsibilities and resources). # There is a lack of coordination and integration between different sectors of government, between different levels of government and with other non-state actors (Coordination and integration). # There is concern how decision is made and implemented at multi-sectoral adaptation activities effectively (implementation).

  • Invasive Species

# There is a priority to develop evidence based policy and strategy for sustainable and equitable use, control and management of invasive species (Prosopis) (Evidence based Policy). # Ensure participation, inclusivity and accessibility of/by all actors to manage invasive species for a better access to grazing and farm land and other resources (Multi-stakeholder engagement). # Improving the management of available grazing land and water (natural resource management) by working with local government and local communities (Local management Plan & implementation).

  1. Pasture Scarcity

# Pasture scarcity is one of the main constraint to pastoral livelihoods in the drylands, the situation is made worse by increasingly unpredictable climate specially the recurrent drought that undermine the capacity of the communities living in the dryland to adapt contemporary and future change. # Communities have different options and approaches to overcome the problem of pasture scarcity in the face of climate change. Understanding the nature and extent of the impact of climate change and the available option for addressing the problem is key to inform action plan. # It is important to explore trade-offs and synergies associated with different scenarios or management approaches to address pasture scarcity, together with a range of stakeholders (Participatory Scenario Analysis). # Strategies and actions for addressing pasture scarcity should be informed by priorities set by stakeholders (implementation of preferred scenario).

  1. Intra-household dynamics

# Control over land and water resources are critical in semi-arid environments. In contexts of scarcity, resource access often entails conflicts, and these are not just gendered, but also indicate trade-offs between the short and longer term, between interest and aspirations of the youth and older generations, across different cultures and locality (natural resources use and conflict). # How people experience and respond to risk varies, depending on factors like age, ethnicity, gender and class. Such nuances are seldom considered, and decisions about risk reduction strategies and adaptation options are often based on assumptions about who is most vulnerable, how people respond and what needs to be done (adaptation and household composition). # ultimately, if adaptation and risk management strategies consider gender and other socio-cultural variables in their design, we can better promotes equality and help to improve people’s wellbeing (socio-economic dynamics). # changing household structures are therefore central to not just understanding risk but also individuals’ abilities to respond to risks and adapt to climate change (household dynamics)