Beth Fredrick - Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA
SMART Advocacy is a disciplined, proven tool to build advocacy momentum and fuel progress. Adapted and refined by the Advance Family Planning(AFP) initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, SMART Advocacy has led to more than 2,400 policy and funding changes at global, regional, national, and subnational levels since 2009. Most of these changes are new, improved, or sustained financial allocations for family planning, primarily from national and subnational government budgets. These are followed by policy improvements and visibility gains. Successful advocacy efforts start with influencing policymakers or decision-makers by aligning specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) advocacy priorities with their interests. As a result, they recognize family planning as driving progress in health and socioeconomic development. More than US $164 million has been mobilized for family planning from national and subnational governments and corporations from 2012through 2021 using the approach. And 203.9 million women of reproductive age potentially benefited from policies and funding resulting from AdvanceFamily Planning’s SMART Advocacy efforts. More than 250 organizations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America use SMART Advocacy for family planning as well as a range of other health and development issues. Updated to reflect use by hundreds of allies, the tool has the potential to transform the way advocates engage with decision-makers to achieve change. The new version of SMART Advocacy launched in October 2021 can now be easily applied to any advocacy issue. It integrates monitoring, evaluation, and learning throughout the process and is flexible enough to incorporate a number of tactics from media advocacy to social accountability.