Advocacy by and for survivors

27 Aug 2009

Advocacy, which I write about in our new annual report, underpins the work of SURF. It is critical to raise awareness of the situation of survivors in Rwanda today, and to secure greater support to enable survivors to rebuild their lives. International advocacy is undertaken directly by SURF, in partnership with IBUKA, as well as indirectly through funding our partners to develop advocacy campaigns in Rwanda.

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity present our advocacy work to the Fellows and Scholars of the NYU Reynolds Programme in Social Entrepreneurship.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82qfF-NUOLg[/youtube]

As a Graduate Fellow of the programme, I am quickly realising how valuable the learning is proving to be in developing some of SURF’s work. This includes a new solar lamp project that we have developed with THRIVE, an Indian NGO, which will be our first dedicated social entrepreneurial project – one that is truly sustainable, scalable and pattern-breaking.

However, such income-generating activities are only possible in an environment where survivors are secure – and thus the vital importance of advocacy. The presentation was invaluable to enable me to think about this aspect of our work through a much broader lens. The challenge ahead is to now develop some of these ideas to ensure that SURF can contribute even more to support advocacy by and for survivors.