Over the years, TrustAfrica has developed a three-and-a-half-day Policy Advocacy and Influencing Capacity Building Workshop to strengthen civil society, farmer associations, women’s groups especially in public financing in agriculture advocacy work and in addressing sustainability supply chains and trade. In June 2022, we deployed the capacity strengthening process themed “Strengthening the Advocacy Capacity and Voice for Inclusive and Sustainable Cocoa and Palm Oil Supply Chains and Trade” to bring civil society partners, including farmers, women and youth, researchers, media and others in Cote D’Ivoire and Sierra Leone working in the Palm Oil and Cocoa sectors together build a strong collective understanding of the policy advocacy and influencing and also to develop practical action plans that they would use to advance their advocacy.
In a group of 36 participants drawn from a wide range of CSOs in Cote D’Ivoire, and 20 participants in Sierra Leone, enriching discussion and knowledge building sessions anchored a collaborative and participatory action planning process that participants will use to i) create greater awareness of laws on deforestation and sensitize communities on tree planting; ii) inclusive gender policies and greater involvement of women in leadership iii) advocate for the recognition of right to access land especially for women farmers iv) addressing lack of transparency and unequal and disparate incomes, to name a few of the key policy challenges that civil society wants to address.
We share here some highlights and powerful testimonials from participants in these videos and picture slide shows. A key achievement of our capacity strengthening approach is the engagement of civil society organisations and farmer associations and networks, some of which are rarely visible on the national policymaking landscape but who directly represent smallscale producer rights, interests, and voice, engage with farmers on the ground to build their collective power and voice to influence national policy implementation. The power of the process is demonstrated in the energised follow-up actions, calls to action and strengthening networking/movement building for coordinated advocacy among participants.
Similar workshops will run in other Reclaim Sustainability! Programme countries in 2022 and 2023.