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Helping children change their world
We fight for children’s rights and deliver lasting improvements to children’s lives worldwide.

What is advocacy?

A youth advocate is an adult who acts in the best interests of the youth that they are working with. The overall purpose of a youth advocate is to ensure that youth maintain their human rights while aiding in skill development in all areas of life such as education, health, housing, employment, relationships, etc. A youth advocate aims to prevent youth from experiencing diminished self-esteem while interacting with adults who hold professional authoritative roles in their life. Examples of these adults are judges, lawyers, teachers, etc. A speaker on the subject, describes a youth advocate as one who plays a significant supportive role in the social and legal processes in the lives of young people, especially homeless and foster youth who lack family support. In consideration of the legal aspects, the National Association of Youth Courts describes a youth advocate as a person who provides support to a youth respondent or defendant during a hearing.

Advocacy in all its forms to outreach, to guarantee that people, particularly those who are most unprotected in society, are able to:

  • Have their voice heard on matter that are important to them.
  • Protect and defense their rights.
  • Have their opinion and desired genuinely deliberate when decisions are being made about their lives.

Advocacy is a process of supporting and empower people to:

  • Express their opinions and concerns.
  • Safeguard and elevate their rights and responsibilities.
  • Explore alternative choices

An advocate is someone who give advocacy support when someone is in need of it. An advocate might help you access information you need. You may want your advocate to write letters on your behalf, or voice out for you in circumstances where you don’t feel able to express for yourself.

The Youth Advocacy Project unite most of the elements considered essential for a strong and effective public defender program serving children, for example, a appearance in the community, a multi-disciplinary team approach to representation, child-focused advocacy, access to resources for children and a wide network of parents and community organizations.


vision of a world in which every woman, child and adolescent in every setting realizes their rights to physical and mental health and well-being and social and economic opportunities, is that the rights and interests of every child and youth are protected and respected and each child and youth has access to all the government services they require and is able to participate fully in shaping prosperous and sustainable societies.

We are passionate about our mission, and work hard to not only meet the needs of those we serve, but importantly to build their strengths and to connect them in positive ways within their community.

Save the Children works for a world
Respects and values each child

Listens to children and learns

All children have hope and opportunity

Protect and advance the rights and interests of children and youth through the provision of advocacy services.Ensure that children and youth have access to services and that their complaints receive appropriate attention.

Inform the public about the needs and rights of children and youth.

Provide information and advice to government, agencies of the government and to communities about the availability, effectiveness, responsiveness and relevance of services to children and youth.

Make recommendations to government regarding legislation, policies, programs and services designed to meet the needs of children and youth.

Conduct independent reviews and investigations.


Save the Children fights for children’s rights.

We deliver immediate and lasting improvements to children’s lives worldwide.

Our dedication to this vision, knowledge and experience of working with children give us the legitimacy to carry out advocacy. We comprehend the problems they face,.

Our programs throughout the world have often considered advocacy in one form

or another, and many of these variety activities have been successful in bringing about opinion and change for children. But we know that in order to make our advocacy as effective as possible, it needs to be planned and support out strategically, as an integral part, necessary of our programs.

People who work to meet children’s needs and protect their rights should be prepared as children’s advocates whatever the issues: education, health, nutrition, protection or any other unmet need. We want to show that to be an effective advocate requires commitment and belief, some modest skills and informed knowledge.You do not need lawyers, policy analysts or other kinds of expertise. But you do need an open-minded attitude.

We have deep admiration respect of the people who do advocacy work. For others, newer to its practices, advocacy is likely to be a new and encourage experience. Advocates will face issues that have been disregard and neglected for too long. The newness will bring a fresh energy to overcome any past disinclination.

We aim that our work will demonstrate advocacy, improve the lives of children and tell stories that inspire children’s advocates. The most important act is to get started on any part of this guide. Workshops on one topic can advance your understanding of advocacy. Do not look for hard definitions. Create your own from your experience or skill that is obtained from doing,seeing, or feeling things.Value that experience.

The case stories cover a range of advocacy work already taking place so that we, as advocates, can learn from each other. That is how we create a sustained community of advocacy practitioners.

Advocacy and are always learning new perspectives and skill. It is that sensation of experience that makes it possible to take on matters that appear to be beyond anyone’s reach and in the end lead to a surprisingly good result – not always, but more times as a result of the hard and effective work done by people like yourselves.

Advocacy goals can be achieved through a combination of different approaches, including working closely with decision-makers, lobbying, or raising public awareness of an issue. It is not necessarily confrontational. But there will be times when we have to be prepared to challenge the status quo, and to present our case forcefully with institutions or political forces that resist the fulfilment of children’s rights. A strategic plan helps us to consider different approaches to advocacy very carefully so that we can choose the best approach to achieve our goals.

Advocacy is speaking out for children and empowering them to speak out for 1

themselves . Many Save the Children staff undertake advocacy every day in their work by speaking up for children whenever the opportunity arises, The important thing is to move beyond these ad hoc opportunities to a strategic and well-planned approach.

Advocacy aims to change policies and legislation so they will have a positive effect

on children’s lives. It also aims to change the way decision-making happens to make

it more inclusive, This involves building children’s skills and confidence so they can

be effective advocates, creating opportunities for civil society groups to take part in decision-making, and addressing society’s norms and attitudes relating to children. Advocacy is also, crucially, about making sure that policies designed to benefit children are put into practice.

Planning advocacy in programs
Ideally, advocacy should be an integral part of your program, planned from the start, not something that is added on later.Your program planning process should identify your goals and objectives and how you will achieve them. This is likely to be through a combination of direct interventions, advocacy, and strengthening civil society (as shown in the three pillars, above). Some Alliance members now have planning frameworks that include drawing up an advocacy strategy.

But if these planning processes are not yet integrated, and you are beginning to build advocacy into an existing program, the following questions might help you develop practical links between your direct interventions and advocacy.


How can your program experience be used to provide evidence for advocacy? What does it tell you about the problems, and what does it tell you about possible solutions?


What relationships have you developed through program work that can be used for advocacy (for example, with possible targets, influential, allies, networks, groups of children? A relationship means that you, as an advocate, get a response when you ask for a meeting, make a phone call, or send an email. It also means you must be prepared to respond. Reciprocity, responsiveness and responsibility are important in relationships that are public.


How does your program work provide legitimacy for advocacy (for example, direct experience of problems and/or solutions, sustained work with children)?


How can your program’s effectiveness be made more sustainable through advocacy? How does it deal with the underlying causes of the problems you are addressing through your program?

  • Receive and review matters related to individuals or groups of children and youth.
  • Advocate or use alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve issues.
  • Initiate and participate in case conferences, administrative reviews, mediation or other processes where decisions are being made regarding children and youth either individually or collectively.
  • Meet and interview children and youth.
  • Engage in public education.
  • Make recommendations to government, agencies of government or communities regarding legislation, policies and practices respecting services or the rights of children and youth.
  • Where alternative dispute processes are ineffective or inappropriate, conduct an independent investigation.
  • Access information respecting a child or youth which is held by a government department or agency which is determined necessary to conduct the work of the Advocate.
  • Enter a government or agency premises for the purpose of conducting a review or investigation.
  • Publish reports related generally to the exercise and performance of his/her functions under the Act or to a particular case investigation by him/her.
  • Submit an Annual Report to the House of Assembly.

Most Questions for Youth

  1. What did you most like to do when you were my age?
  2. What was being a teenager like for you?
  3. What responsibilities did you have in your family when you were an adolescent?
  4. Do you think teenagers have it better or worse today than you did? Why?
  5. If you could change one thing about your own teenage years, what would it be?
  6. Who were you closest to in your family?
  7. What was the greatest source of conflict between you and your parent(s)?
  8. What do you like most about being a parent?
  9. What is the biggest responsibility of a parent?
  10. What is the hardest thing about being a teen today? The best?
  11. What advice would you give to teens today?
  12. What lessons did you learn from parents or other adults that you try to pass on?


  • Advocacy services must remain child focused.
  • Children and youth must be treated with respect and their inherent dignity as human beings recognized.
  • The right of privacy of the child, as well as all parties involved, must be respected in the advocacy process.
  • Children and youth have the right to information and access to government services and programs.
  • Children and youth have a right to speak, be heard and to participate in decision-making processes.
  • Parents, extended family and significant others are natural advocates for children and youth.
  • Actions are based on empowerment.
  • Information is confidential unless there is risk of harm.
  • Interventions are respectful, understanding and compassionate.
  • Cultural diversity is recognized and respected.

From the Declaration to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Eglantyne Jebb knew that to have maximum impact Save the Children had to move beyond relief work. Her response was typically bold and visionary – to create a platform for the rights and welfare of children around the world. Her unique vision was a simple statement of rights that would have a claim on everybody dealing with children, not just the wealthy or the powerful. And so, although advocacy is sometimes presented as a new or recent activity, Save the Children was actually set up as an advocacy organisation.

The Declaration of the Rights of the Child was adopted and promoted by the International Save the Children Union in 1923.Within a year it had been adopted by the League of Nations in Geneva.

Some 65 years later, the Declaration became the basis of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Adopted in 1989, the UNCRC is now the most important advocacy tool for children’s rights.