The 2016 restructure saw responsibility for Advocacy come within our new International Programme Support (IPS) department. This decision was made to ensure that advocacy activities were incorporated more fully into the individual strategies and operations of our teams inside our programme countries. This move will also facilitate the future development of a global strategy for all War Child advocacy activities.
Over the course of the year many things were achieved but there remains much work to do to ensure that advocacy is at the heart of our country programmes. This was - in part - due to delays in developing strategic plans for each country operation. We also need to develop a standard intervention for in-country advocacy and decide on areas of focus in terms of global advocacy activities.
Even so much was achieved over the course of 2016. Highlights included the establishment of the Working Group for Children and Armed Conflict to advocate on behalf of conflict-affected children internationally - and in December War Child convened a meeting of this Working Group at the UN Human Rights Council. The year also saw us hold an event in partnership with UNICEF and Save the Children with Dutch MPs to mark the fifth year of the conflict in Syria.
We joined three conferences with an advocacy focus over the course of 2016. At the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul we highlighted our Can’t Wait To Learn project to advocate for the Education in Emergencies (EiE) sector. We were present at the London Conference on Syria to again advocate for the Education in Emergencies (EiE) sector. Finally, we joined the Global Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action to campaign for an end to violence against children.
In the Netherlands we published an opinion article in support of the ‘No Lost Generations’ initiative, which generated recommendations to the Dutch Government and follow-up advocacy activities. We endorsed letters in September to Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Lilianne Ploumen on education, mental health and psychosocial support for refugee children. In August we endorsed a letter to Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte on the protection of refugees.