What is Child Advocacy?

"Advocacy is not a skill, nor is it an intervention strategy or practice tool. Advocacy is a lifestyle."

To be an effective Advocate, the principles and values of Advocacy necessarily permeate everything you do. They are integral to your sense of self, your identity and how you conduct your life.

The primary goal of child advocacy is to elevate the voice of youth. This means more than empowering youth to speak out on their own behalf. It means more than faithfully replaying their words. The standard to aspire to is articulated in an African proverb: "Don't speak about us, without us." It means speaking together with youth about youth.

Advocacy is often described as a process of empowerment, giving power to others. Advocacy can be more appropriately viewed as assisting children and youth in finding their own power from within and teaching them to use it effectively.

"Advocacy is the catalyst for change, not the change agent"

An advocacy initiative targets, provokes, and influences change. An advocate may create a climate for change and bring decision makers to a position of having to act. But it is conflictual for that advocate to then participate in or direct the change process. Change in policy or practice must be developed by those responsible for its implementation, such as governments or service providers.