Advocacy in your Region

Term 2, 2016

What is advocacy?

Advocacy is an activity by an individual or group, such as Girl Guides ACT & SE NSW​, which aims to influence decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions.

Advocacy can include many activities that a person or organisation undertakes including media campaigns, public speaking, lobbying and promoting research or information. A more formal approach of advocacy is where a direct approach is made to legislators on an issue which plays a significant role in modern politics.

An advocate is someone who provides advocacy support to people who need it.

Opportunities in your Region

Are you looking for service ideas for your Junior BP, BP or QG award? Or looking for program ideas for your unit during the term? Well consider one of these...

For Junior Guides:

  • Make toys for the RSPCA
  • Take part in the Mother's Day Classic
  • Donate items for girls and women in need

For Guides:

  • Make toys for the RSPCA
  • Take part in Relay for Life
  • Take part in the Mother's Day Classic
  • Make Beads for Courage bags
  • Collect books for Buk bilong Pikinini

For Senior Guides:

  • Make Days for Girls kits
  • Undertake a OneGirl challenge
  • Make breast care bags
  • Collect items for Share the Dignity
  • Take part in Live Below the Line

For Olaves and above:

  • Undertake a OneGirl challenge
  • Make Days for Girls kits
  • Make breast care bags
  • Take part in MS Mega Swim
  • Take part in Relay for Life
  • Collect bras for the UpLift Project
  • Collect items for Share the Dignity
  • Collect items for Fitted for Work

If one of these gab you and you would like to know more then get in touch with your Region Advocacy Liaison, Jo Allen (Frog) and she will help you out. Or if you know of some other activities also get in touch.

Big image

Interview series: What do Guides think about Advocacy

What is your name?

Fiona Langford - my Guide name is Tinkai

How long have you been in Girl Guides?

I joined in 1964 as a 7 year old Brownie in Mitcham Victoria. My family moved to Canberra the same year, so I've been a Brownie, Guide, Ranger and then leader since then - so that means 52 years in Guides!

What role do you have in Girl Guides?

Currently I am the Region Manager for ACT & SE NSW Region.

What does advocacy mean to you?

Advocacy to me is speaking up for those people in difficult situations, and helping in whatever way that I can. It can also mean helping other organisations that already advocate for various causes - not necessarily people, either!

What do you advocate for?

I am now in the fortunate position of being able to afford to sponsor a child overseas through an aid organisation (he is in Sri Lanka). I also join in various other organisations fundraising programs as time allows.

I also speak up for girls and women in all walks of life because that's what my Guide role is about! I'm also passionate about education and health issues, especially early intervention programs for young children.

How has Girl Guides helped you advocate?

I was very fortunate to attend an International Girl Guide and Girl Scout camp in Iran when I was 18. As a white anglo-saxon person from Australia, I had very little exposure to people with different coloured skins, different cultures and different religions. I learned very quickly, that people around the world are just people. Most of us share similar values, think about and care about the same sort of things, and love their home, wherever that might be, just like everyone else. Three year after that camp, Iran became a very different country following the Islamic revolution, and I often wonder about the lives of the many girls and women I met there. I think that is probably why I continue to advocate for women in all spheres of life.

Did you undertake any advocacy activities ask part of any Guiding awards or programs? If so, which ones?

The closest I got to advocacy in my Queen Guide award, was doing the Commonwealth badge. The syllabus required a large project on a country in the Commonwealth - I chose Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka. Definitely not one of the easier countries like Great Britain, Canada or New Zealand to find out information about in the pre computer days!

What were the skills you needed to develop in order for you to advocate well?

As an individual, I believe you need to learn to think about issues so you can understand what it is all about. Then you need to decide in what way you can help or be involved. Then get out and do it! Sound familiar? It's the Guide way!

But it's true, no one person has the time, the finances, and the energy to get involved in all the projects that are out there in the world. I need to work out just how I can help advocate, by working out what I want to concentrate on, and how I personally which to be involved.

Has what you advocated for changed over your years with Girl Guides?

I don't think so. What I know is that over the last 50 years many more issues have come to light, so once whereFreedom From Hunger used to raise money to help feed poor people in Africa, now we know you don't just feed them - the people need clean water, they need education, they need sustainable employment, so they can feed themselves. And, it's not just in Africa - we all know it's all over the world, including Australia. BTW Freedom from Hunger is now part of Oxfam.

When I was a Brownie, one of our service projects (just another name for Advocacy, I think) was to make a little calendar and write a little letter to an Australian soldier fighting in Vietnam That soldier sent me a personal thank you letter. Knowing now about Vietnam Veterans and the difficulties they had returning to Australia, I do hope that particular soldier coped OK. Now our method of helping that particular cause, might be handing out rosemary on Anzac Day, or making poppies for Remembrance Day, or raising money for one of the many RSL projects.

Another more local project when I was a Brownie, was to knit squares for a blanket, The blanket was then donated to the local Barnado's Home in Canberra.

So, my advocating hasn't changed much - we help internationally, and locally.

Do you think if you had not joined Guides that you would have had the same access to opportunities to advocate?

I now think there are lots of opportunities to advocate for everyone. but being part of Guides can help you learn to focus on what you believe in.

Region Advocacy Liaison

Girl Guides ACT & SE NSW has appointed a Region Advocacy Liaison (RAL) - Jo Allen (Frog).

Share your ideas or seek information about what you are passionate about and become an advocate.

Find out what your Region is doing for advocacy on our Facebook page