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Framing an alliance

The framing of an alliance, i.e. the way the alliance defines and presents itself, is important so as to build cooperation on a shared purpose and transmit the campaign message in a credible and forceful manner. The campaign strategy, especially its theory of change and the target audiences identified, should guide the framing of an alliance. For example, it can frame itself as a mass movement of men from all walks of life who want to stop rape, or as an alliance of expert lawyers and institutions advising the parliament on a new law draft.

In the example below, an NGO alliance bringing together different comparative advantages and representing a large cross-section of society skillfully positioned itself as a constructive, well-informed advocate with government institutions, while at the same time also organizing confrontational mass rallies to press for speedier government action.

Example: The campaign for the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act in South Africa (1999) combined the strengths of the Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication with its top-rated TV “soap opera” on health and development, and the National Network on Violence against Women (NNVAW) with its large grassroots constituency and structural links with key government departments. The credibility of both organizations among a wide public and with government circles, as well as a long-standing relationship with journalists generating supportive media coverage  and NNVAW’s ability to mobilize huge crowds for campaign events have been key elements of success. (Usdin, et al., 2000)

Read the case study.

An instructive account of the campaign can also be found at: Usdin, S. et al, The Value of Advocacy in Promoting Social Change: Implementing the New Domestic Violence Act in South Africa, in Reproductive Health Matters, Vol. 8, No.16, pp.55-65, (2000).