Empowered citizens, who are networked and speaking with one voice, have the potential to serve as powerful change agents who have an impact on policy making and the enforcement of existing policies. While most often associated with our democracy and governance work, advocacy is also relevant to the other sectors in which Pact operates. Overall, 25 percent of our projects include an advocacy component. In the HIV/AIDS arena, policies that defend the rights of HIV positive citizens or that promote universal access to free antiretroviral drugs might be the product of efforts by associations of People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIVs); in the NRM sector, networks of environmental NGOs might work together with NGOs concerned with livelihoods of people living in tropical forest lands to pass policies to protect the forest from clear cutting, while guaranteeing the economic well-being of villagers in these areas.
Knowledge Management and Information Dissemination
An empowered citizenry must have access to high quality information and knowledge. Close to half of Pact''s projects directly or indirectly serve to enhance our partners and beneficiaries access to information and its use for improved decision-making and performance in improving the lives of the most vulnerable.
Pact adapts its approach to knowledge management and information dissemination to best meet the needs of the target audience in a given context. In more technically advanced countries in Latin America, for example, Pact uses web-based platforms to encourage effective interaction among communities of practice in local governance and natural resource management to increase the sharing and use of best practices and lessons learned. In Mongolia, radio and television programs are used to share timely market information and disseminate behavior change messages. In parts of Africa, where the internet infrastructure is less developed, Pact''s WORTH program works with newly literate women to communicate information about a wide array of topics through networks of micro-savings groups. The WORTH program in Asia has used these means to warn women and young girls about the dangers of human trafficking and to spread peace building messages through grassroots channels.
In close to 40 percent of our projects, Pact helps our partners to build networks with their peers. These networks serve various purposes. A network of civil society groups, who speak with one voice, is far more effective in promoting policy change than a disparate group of NGOs. Likewise, the quality of service delivery can be greatly improved if the various providers, whether in the public or private sector, collaborate in delivering a coordinated and comprehensive package of services. This is particularly important in communities heavily impacted by HIV/AIDS, where families face multiple challenges at once economic, health and social discrimination. Strong networks can also enhance the economic power of producers, helping them by-pass middlemen and earn a better return on their products.
Pact utilizes a mapping software to help us better understand existing networks and to see how members of a network are interlinked. Once a baseline for an existing network is established, Pact seeks to assist our partners to define the appropriate functional network structure that links to their mission and the purpose they seek to achieve through the network.
Well managed institutions are a fundamental building block for promoting changes that have positive impacts on the lives of families, particularly the most vulnerable. In most of our projects Pact invests in some form of building the organizational capacity of our partners, who include community-based organizations (CBOs), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and governments. These investments help the public and private sector deliver better quality services in a more cost effective manner. For civil society organizations seeking to achieve policy changes, well-managed, sustainable organizations are better positioned to join hands with their peers to carry out campaigns for long-term, sustainable change.
The types of investment that Pact makes in organizational development (OD) vary from project to project, depending upon project objectives, the needs of our partners, as well as available funding. In most cases we start with an organizational assessment process that allows our partners to assess their strengths and weaknesses along multiple dimensions of management, including strategic direction, organizational structure, governance, planning, fundraising, and financial and grants management, human resource management, and monitoring and evaluation