We collaborate and involve under-represented community groups as partners and “Community Action Leaders” in our Knowledge Mobilization and Advocacy activities. Peer Researchers and Community Action Leaders take a leadership role including organizing policy forums, producing public education films, making deputations, organizing delegation visits to local elected leader’s office, writing public education blog posts and Op-Eds, and helping to organize rallies or petition drives.
Access Alliance believes that to protect and deepen democracy, civil society organizations need to serve as intrinsic part of the Checks and Balances system to ensure elected governments and policies are accountable to public, particularly to vulnerable and under-represented groups. Direct policy and system advocacy work is thus an essential part of what Access Alliance does. The Community Based research team works closely with Access Alliance’s Social Action Committee (led by our Board of Directors) to plan and mobilize a number of important policy campaign/advocacy activities. Advocacy activities we lead or support are in direct response to the needs of the client communities we serve and/or informed by our research. We do advocacy work not by fueling antagonism and polarization, but through building bridges and broad coalitions, strengthening community/civic engagement, overcoming knowledge gaps and misinformation through evidence and facts, and through constructive dialogue and engagement with policy/decision makers.
Program planning, monitoring and evaluation activities are carried out on an ongoing basis across Access Alliance. These activities help us to ensure accountability and that we use resources effectively, promote quality improvement through evidence-informed decision-making, and improve learning for positive changes. Accountability is multidirectional (both vertical and lateral) to all of the stakeholders (e.g. staff, management, Executive Director, Board of Directors, funders, clients and community partners). To this end, Access Alliance is fully committed to engaging our clients and community members in shaping the programs and services that we offer through various processes related to planning and evaluation. In doing so, we recognize the importance of the whole context/person, including an individual’s family, friends and community, as well as the social, cultural and spiritual aspects of their lives.
Access Alliance has designed an Integrated Program planning and Evaluation model as an ongoing process whereby programs and services are planned and reviewed simultaneously, with the necessary decisions and changes made. The figure below presents the integrated model, demonstrating how the two processes go hand-in-hand.