As the world’s leading independent child rights organisation, Save the Children advocates and campaigns for change to realise children's rights and to ensure that their voices are heard.
What is advocacy?
For Save the Children, advocacy is the work we do to influence the policies and actions of governments, international institutions and the private sector, in order to achieve positive changes in children’s lives.
Our advocacy and campaigns build on the insights generated by our programmes around the world. We know that we can only sustain the impact of our programmes, and take that impact to scale, by persuading and challenging governments and other institutions with power and resources to change their own policies and practice. Advocacy encompasses research and policy analysis, lobbying, communications and public campaigning.
In different situations, our advocacy can be focused on securing formal policy changes; driving implementation; or creating an enabling environment for change.
Save the Children’s four advocacy offices fight the causes of child poverty and vulnerability at the global level. Our offices in Addis Ababa, Brussels, Geneva and New York influence international institutions that have a far-reaching impact on children: the African Union, European Union, and the United Nations.
Addis Ababa is home to the African Union (AU), and other regional bodies that have a major role in shaping African children’s lives and helping to ensure that their rights are fulfilled. Save the Children’s ability to engage and influence the African Union (AU) is central to our aim of creating positive change for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children. Our AU Liaison Office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, engages the African Union Commission, member states and other pan-African institutions on social and economic issues that affect children – working together with Save the Children national offices in over 25 African countries.
We work with other civil society organisations to influence AU policies and protocols, and keep our issues high on the agenda. The AU has a growing role in addressing humanitarian crises in the region, and we work to ensure that children’s needs and rights are safeguarded in any humanitarian response. Our Addis office also collaborates closely with the African Committee on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, and supports work to train activists - including children - on how to use AU instruments to uphold the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Save the Children’s global advocacy office in New York advocates at the United Nations, to protect, respect and realise children’s rights. We engage the UN headquarters, UN agencies based in New York such as UNICEF and OCHA, and national missions to the UN, on humanitarian and development issues. We work on our priority issues of child survival, education and protection, especially in relation to the post-2015 development agenda which is being led in New York, and to humanitarian crises that are discussed in the UN Security Council.
Geneva is home to UN institutions and other international organisations focused on health, human rights and humanitarianism. Save the Children’s global advocacy office engages the World Health Organisation, Gavi and other Geneva-based institutions on our global child survival campaign, EVERY ONE. We influence the UN and national missions on humanitarian crises, and engage the Human Rights Council and other UN bodies on rights monitoring mechanisms such as the Universal Periodic Review.
Save the Children’s link with Geneva goes back to the 1920s when our founder Eglantyne Jebb drafted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child – the precursor to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – and she is buried in the city.
Save the Children works in Brussels to ensure that European Union (EU) policies have a positive impact on children’s rights, across Europe and internationally, especially in poorer countries. The EU is major global actor through its development and humanitarian aid, its growing foreign policy role – including at the UN and in forums like the G20, and its role in areas such as trade and climate. Across European member states, the EU plays a substantial role in shaping and enforcing national policies and laws that affect children.
The EU Office advocates for children’s rights with the EU Institutions – including the Commission, External Action Service and Parliament – and with Member States. We do this in close collaboration with Save the Children national offices in 11 EU member states, and with Save the Children programmes in developing countries, where the European Commission is often an important development partner. Our Brussels office focuses on our priority issues of child survival and protection (especially in relation to child migration), and we influence the EU response to humanitarian crises. We collaborate closely with other EU-based civil society networks and organisations to achieve advocacy impact. Our Brussels office also hosts a small Partnership Management Team that coordinates our funding partnerships with EuropeAid and the European humanitarian agency, ECHO.