It is well accepted and understood that Soroptimist International has an effective ‘voice’ at an international level and is instrumental in advocating for change on key issues to improve the lives of women and girls, locally, 3 nationally and internationally. This reputation is very often the feature that attracts new people to Soroptimism, as well as maintaining the enthusiasm and energy of long-standing members. However, as you can see in an earlier section of this report, a relatively small amount of our programme action work involves advocacy. From the 47 projects submitted since 1 August 2020, only 3 mentioned advocacy.
On 30 January, SINE received a presentation from Educational Officers from the UK Parliament, who talked to us about how we can improve our lobbying activity with MPs and various committees and parliamentary working groups, to affect the changes we believe are necessary in the UK. The slides for this presentation were shared with us and have been emailed to all Clubs. If you have not received them, please let me know I and will arrange for them to be sent to you.
Following the presentation, Regional Officers met and discussed ways we could build on our current practices and achieve greater impact in Northern England. It was recognised that we must make every effort to capture all instances of advocacy work on the SIGBI database. This is the only way SIGBI can report to the United Nations about our activity – if we don’t record our advocacy, then it is invisible!
We believe that our advocacy could have greater impact if we are able to refer to a body of similar support for our issue. For example, if a Club could write to their MP and point to similar communications from neighbouring Clubs to their respective MPs on the same issue, this might make their argument more persuasive and lend it greater ‘weight’.
However, very often Clubs do not add their PFRs to the database until well after the event, so we don’t have a timely record which other Clubs can refer to.
With the above difficulty in mind, a new process has been devised, whereby all instances of advocacy can be captured on the SI-NE website very quickly and easily, using Microsoft Forms. This tool allows us to create and share a digital ‘link’ to a survey, which we can click on and answer a few simple questions.