WHAT: Advocacy is about bringing about social change… It motivates people to action that will improve their standard of living – better health, a safer and cleaner environment that leads to a better sense of well-being and quality of life. It covers a wide scope – campaigning for clean water, better rubbish collection, better education and health services. It might even shed light on injustice and corruption. The poor and socially marginalised often need a voice and we might be in a good position to help them be heard.
It is anything that convinces the public to take action and get involved in solving the many problems faced by their community. Equally it speaks to the authorities and convinces them of the need to act and respond to the demands of the people.
WHY: Independent media agencies provide a viable alternative to state-controlled media. Non-profit agencies have no commercial interests so they can be impartial, simply providing a forum for discussion and debate. They can go where the people are.
HOW: This type of activity involved a high level of listener participation. The best participation is often on location – in the street, at the market, in peoples’ homes, in the fields or workplace. In the schools and hospitals. It might also involve training ordinary people in the use of media, or recording techniques. With smart phones and other portable devices much more common today – even in rural communities – it is much easier to empower the common people to become journalists and reporters. Digital media and social-networking encourage a greater sense of community and belonging. Barriers are broken down and divisions between us and them tend to dissolve.
BIBLICAL BASIS: The Bible has a lot to say about God’s concern for justice and righteousness. He encourages people to care for the widows and orphans. Jesus spent much of his time helping raise the status of these people as well as outcasts – the sick, the lepers, the tax collectors, women… He was setting a new standard. He was demonstrating what God wants. The Gospel is not just about people’s souls, but God’s desire for them to have healthy bodies and minds, to have enough food, and to enjoy peace and harmony. It is summed up in the word “shalom” – wholeness, completeness and general well-being.
EXAMPLES: (to follow)