Building capacity for advocacy
The International Council of Swedish Industry (NIR), a consortium of Swedish private-sector organizations which works with SIDA funds to boost private-sector development in developing countries, invited the Programme for Employers’ Activities to collaborate on a series of training activities to boost the advocacy skills of employers in Zimbabwe.
The objective was to develop capacity and build coalitions among the diverse private-sector organizations (in mining, industry, tourism and agriculture) with a view to lobbying the government for a better business climate, which is essential to restoring the country’s economy and jobs.
The training comprised two sessions, each lasting a few days.
In session 1, the learning and sharing concentrated on how to make business agendas, i.e. documents in which employers’ associations make a research-based analysis of the current business climate and put forward proposals for reform. The participants, under the guidance of the NIR, went on to produce an impressive document, rich in facts, analysis and concrete proposals to boost reform and development of the private sector.
Session 2 concentrated on advocacy and lobbying, moving from a business agenda to achieving concrete reform via good research, focused position papers and strong communication.
As well as direct outcomes (business agenda published, position papers in preparation), the training also stimulated strong collaboration and coalition-building, and was able to unite all the private-sector partners.