Advocacy initiatives

NGO Atina pays special attention to public representation and advocacy, both in terms of approaching the problem of human trafficking, domestic violence and other forms of gender-based violence to the general public, as well as in active attitude toward the process of adopting various laws and regulations relevant for this area. Public representation and advocacy is also important from the standpoint of prevention, given that its possible consequences can directly affect the reduction of the problem and the need for interventions which NGO Atina implements in its direct work with beneficiaries through a variety of programs of assistance and support. These programs represent only one segment of NGO Atina’s work, while the other segment refers to public representation and advocacy in order to achieve and ensure awareness among the general public about the issues NGO Atina deals with. 

In general, public representation is a process aimed at changes in measures of public policy, regulations or practices of influential individuals, groups or institutions, but it also represents short-term actions that should lead to changes in certain attitudes. Some of the basic elements of the public representation process are problems or issues that are posed or solved, activities undertaken for this purpose and the impact that is realized. This last element is particularly important, as it is the basis of estimated effectiveness and appropriateness of initiated actions of public representation or advocacy. 

In order to lead to concrete and necessary results, once initiated, action of public representation must also comply with certain rules. Campaigns or other forms of public representation must be primarily planned ahead, in order to comprehend and eliminate potential barriers on time, and in order to understand the problem as good as possible. During the process of public representation, flexibility is also necessary, that is willingness to give up on the set plan at any point, with respect to new or unforeseen circumstances. Ongoing commitment to the public representation process means that once achieved objectives do not mean that the policy change is permanently secured, and that the maintenance of awareness about the importance of a particular issue, or its solution, must continue even after it has been possibly achieved.

When starting the process of public representation, one must choose the appropriate strategy for the execution of all the planned steps. NGO Atina, within its own public representation campaigns and advocacy, uses a variety of strategies, depending on the complexity and importance of a particular problem, and we will mention only a few: building critical mass necessary for the change, educational strategy, collaborative strategy, strategy of litigations, pilot/model programs and more.

Specific activities within the process of public representation, which are aimed at decision-makers, are related to lobbying, the law of small claims, the law of reciprocity, and the power of context.

In order to improve various processes of public representation, advocacy, and in order to reach as large number as possible, not only of the relevant institutions and civil society organizations engaged in the same or similar issues, but individuals in general, NGO Atina also produces certain materials which support such actions, in the form of flyers, notepads, notebooks and calendars. Although these materials are of advertising character, their primary function is drawing attention to a particular problem, and being a constant reminder that it is still there in front of us, and that we have to act jointly and actively in order to overcome it successfully.