E-Advocacy Model

Underlying Principle

E-Advocacy / Mobilization and Lobbying Model is one of the most frequently used Digital Governance model and has often come to the aid of the global civil society to impact on global decision-making processes. 

 

The model is based on setting-up a planned, directed flow of information to build strong virtual allies to complement actions in the real world. Virtual communities are formed which share similar values and concerns, and these communities in turn link up with or support real-life groups/ activities for concerted action. The model builds the momentum of real-world processes by adding the opinions and concerns expressed by virtual communities. 

 

The strength of this model is in its diversity of the virtual community, and the ideas, expertise and resources accumulated through this virtual form of networking. The model is able to mobilize and leverage human resources and information beyond geographical, institutional and bureaucratic barriers, and use it for concerted action. 

Applications

 

 This model could be applied in the following possible ways:

  • Fostering public debates on issue of larger concerns, namely on the themes of upcoming conferences, treaties etc.

  • Formation of pressure groups on key issues to force decision-makers to take their concerns into cognisance.

  • Making available opinions of a suppressed groups who are not involved in the decision-making process into wider public domain.   

  • Catalysing wider participation in decision-making processes.

  • Building up global expertise on a particular theme in absence of localised information to aid decision-making.

 

Examples

  • Global: Greenpeace Cyber-activist Community  - an effort towards creation of virtual communities to mobilise global support against some of the disputable environmental policies/ actions of the Government. Since the cyberactivist system began in June 2000, there are now 116794.0 registered cyberactivists, who participated in 357003 action alerts and sent 160597 e-cards to individuals and organizations. 

           http://cybercentre.greenpeace.org/t/s/community_articles

 

  • Global: Drop the Debt Campaign - the campaign spreads awareness of their activities through emails and mobilises support of concerned individuals, and encourages them to directly express their concern to key decision-makers (by making available their email and other contact addresses).

           http://www.jubileeusa.org/

 

  • India:PRS Legislative Research

    Tracks parliamentary bills which have been introduced and are coming up for discussions. It analyses the bills, prepares summaries of reports of standing committees, puts forward its position, and engages in processes which allow them to voice their opinions.

    http://www.prsindia.org/billtrack/

    Global: Independent Media Centre - The Center  was established by various independent and alternative media organizations and activists for the purpose of providing grassroots coverage of the World Trade Organization (WTO) protests in Seattle lin 1999.  The center acted as a clearinghouse of information for journalists, and provided up-to-the-minute reports, photos, audio and video footage through its website.

          http://www.indymedia.org/

 

  • Global: IGC Internet - Institute for Global Communications (IGC) has changed the way the progressive community worked by introducing them to email, online discussions, mailing lists and the Web. IGC Internet offers progressive individuals and groups a place on the Internet to learn, meet and organize. At the moment, IGC Internet is changing to take its community of activists and non-profit professionals into the Internet's next wave by focusing on content, information sharing and new, collaborative tools.

          http://www.igc.org

 

Discussions

This model has grown manifold since the onset of debates on the Seattle round of World Trade Organisation in 1999, which saw the formation of several virtual communities to express their concerns in the WTO agreements. The display of a unified, informed civil society force at Seattle was in some ways a result of the intensive interaction and exchange of opinion happening over the virtual networks months prior to this WTO summit. There was a lot of concerted actions at the Regional level as an end result of such discussions which built into the global movement. 

 

The model enhances the scope of participation of individuals and communities in debates which affect them and help them build a global alliance. A community may no longer find itself isolated but may find an ally for mobilizing effective action through this model. It also creates an effective deterrent for governments and decision-making bodies who are responsive to people's opinion to provide better governance. 

 

The model could also be used favourably by the government in a positive manner to encourage public debates on issues where the opinion and expertise of civil society is of great importance and therefore could become a tool to enhance democratic practises and improve governance practices (especially in Developing Countries).