Policy Advocacy Training

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Introduction
Human service organizations value policy advocacy as part of their growth strategies. Policy
advocacy acts as a well-known feature of non-profit making agencies because it allows the
organization represents its needs to the public and the stakeholders. On the other hand, adopting
policy advocacy promotes collaborations between the human service agency and other agencies
and between the agency and the government. Developing effective policies helps attract the
attention of interested parties. Additionally, the policy advocacy helps safeguard the agency
resources and promotes adoption of current technologies in various activities such as
communication and implementation of projects Almog-Bar and Schmid, 2013).
Policy making processes in the human service agencies deal with the matter of problem of
concern and creates a framework for the agency to work on. Policy advocacy is applicable to all
levels of the organization and acts as a resource tool for building a structured process for a
sustainable organization. Additionally, it provides a unique position and experience to any
human service worker willing to expand their understanding of the human rights-based approach
to advocacy.
Policy and advocacy (def)
A policy represents a course of action taken by the agency on a particular issue. The policy
document must outline the current problem faced by the organization, the organization’s vision,
mission, and objectives, and strategies used by the agency to achieve these objectives. Advocacy
represents a deliberate process supported by evidence that directly or indirectly influences the
action of decision makers in the organization in support and implementation of an action that
contributes to the achievement of the agency objectives. Advocacy is made up of such elements
as campaigning, lobbying, research/communication, and alliance building.
Targeting problems through training
Policy advocacy training for human service workers play significant role in solving problems
experienced by the agency. The training represents every worker in the organization since the
commencement of their employment by training them about policy issues and advocacy.
Additionally, it enables the agency take comprehensive actions when faced with complex issues
such as the worker acting against the agency’s policy. Moreover, it helps build strong alliances
that strengthen the democracy of the agency through employees’ participation in policy making.
Why develop policy advocacy training
Developing policy advocacy training assists both the organization and its employees. First,
employees get a better understanding of the agency’s policies and how to implement them.
Second, the learning process engages workers and stakeholders to the organization in a more
effective manner and makes them contribute to the development of the agency through proposing
new policies. Third, the training process gives workers a chance to analyze the agency’s policies
and criticism them depending on the agendas and individual’s perspectives. An effective policy
training program should give learners an opportunity to contribute to the learning process
through by asking questions and proposing agendas (Lee, 2015). Finally, the learning process
enables collective changes when trainers engage one another and the trainer in decision-making
and brain storming.
Objectives of the policy advocacy training
Advocacy is all about making someone’s sound heard by the relevant authority. The trainer must
be equipped with relevant materials to train learners. The training is guided by the following
objectives.
 To enable workers identify policy issues of the agency
 To allow employees focus on areas they can make significant change
 To promote collaboration between workers
 Create an effective plan of action
 Identify strategies for change and development
Trainer’s questions
The trainer should have answer to the following questions before starting the training process.
First, the trainer should provide a layout of the training expectations and accomplishments.
Second, the trainer should know learners’ expectations at the end of each training session. A
small quiz would help the trainer know whether learners got the concept taught. Finally, the
trainer should know strategies that help learners absorb information taught and retain it
throughout their careers.
Expected outcomes
Trainees are expected to demonstrate high level of skills upon completion of the training
program and be in a position to raise their voices whenever they realize something wrong. The
mission of every training process is to help learners realize and articulate the expected results.
Understanding the expected results of the training program help learners overcome challenges
such as doubts and keeps them motivated (Human Rights Library, 2003). The expected outcomes
for the policy advocacy training are:
 Trainees to understand their rights and duties
 Workers to demonstrate high level of understanding of policy and advocacy
 workers will use gained knowledge to improve the agency and educate others
Planning the policy advocacy training initiative
Analyzing policies
The trainer must have a good understanding of the policy issues of the agency before engaging
learners in the training process. Understanding policy issues helps in developing an effective
training program that focuses only on issue that matter. Additionally, the analysis of the policy
environment matters. The trainer should connect between learners’ concerns and the policy
environment to determine the best approach to use in taking points home. Finally, options for
policy change are very essential. One of the primary expectations of the training program is to
help workers come up with changes that influence the outcome of the agency.
The advocacy strategy outline
The training process will also consist of a strategy outline that helps learners understand the
concept. The trainer should select policy issues that create more impact to the agency and plan
for their advocacy. Additionally, the trainer should select the target audience for each policy
issue selected. Learners consist of managers and other employees. Moreover, role selection plays
a significant role. The role of each learner in the training program should be understood to help
achieve the learning objectives.
Framing training plan
Every training program must have a plan. The plan entails all elements of the training program
including the timeline, the budget, and evaluation. The trainer selects appropriate timeframe for
the training programs and comes up with a timetable to fit the expectations of all employees.
Additionally, a budget is very crucial in establishing the amount of funds needed to support the
program. Human service agencies are non-profit making and any fund utilized to support an
initiative must be totally accounted. Finally, the trainer plans for monitoring and evaluation. The
program needs close monitoring to ensure learners implement what they learn in class.
Evaluation should be done six months after the end of the training program to determine the
impact of the training on the agency and employees.
References
Almog-Bar, M., and Schmid, H. (2013). Advocacy Activities of Nonprofit Human Service
Organizations: A Critical Review. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 43(1), 1135.
Lee, H. (2015, February). WOA: What human service agencies and advocates need to know.
Retrieved from http://www.clasp.org/resources-and-publications/publication-1/WIOAand-Human-Services-FINAL.pdf
Human Rights Library. (2003). Preparing the training program: Structure and Content.
Retrieved February 3, 2015 from
https://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/svaw/advocacy/whrtraining/guidelines/structure.htm
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