Philippines Toolkit: AYSRH Advocacy
Local AYSRH Policy Development
The devolution policy has made local government units (LGUs) crucial in ensuring the implementation of development programs locally and empowering communities. Local legislation has become a necessary tool in mainstreaming and sustaining good programs and practices. Local governments can now adopt policies and laws that will make or unmake behaviors and norms in their areas.
Policies are crucial in ensuring a more sustainable strategy for adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH). As compared to plans and projects, policies in the form of local ordinances, executive orders, resolutions and policy statements from the executives or legislators are more permanent in nature and more strategic in securing sustainable funding and implementation. As such, this policy development approach provides strategies that can be adopted to ensure a broader and more sustainable policy environment for AYSRH.
What are the legal mandates related to AYSRH in the Philippines?
The following national laws and circulars provide the mandate in the implementation of AYSRH in the LGUs and basis for local policy issuance:
What are the benefits of this approach?
- Ensures greater sustainability of AYSRH interventions, including the allocation of appropriate levels of resources for relevant interventions.
- Promotes an enabling policy environment for AYSRH that generates greater participation of stakeholders, improves service delivery systems and provides normative behaviors that are necessary for adolescents to enhance their capacity to attain their aspirations.
How to implement
Step 1: Identify AYSRH-related policy agenda
Based on the information gathered in other approaches (i.e., Planning and Resource Mobilization, ISDN), the policy development team identifies AYSRH issues at the outcome level, such as increasing teenage pregnancies, high incidence of HIV/AIDS infection, high repeat pregnancies and other data. The key issues are then listed and broken into more manageable and definable chunks. Each issue/problem shall then be analyzed deeply through causal analysis or deepening workshops where issues will be connected and interrelated based on their causal relationships. Direct and indirect causes of identified key AYSRH issues are analyzed to see the priority areas of interventions. The issues shall be considered as the Local Youth Development Concerns and/or Health Concern. This exercise is also helpful in setting prioritization schemes for interventions and activities.
Step 2: Identify appropriate AYSRH policy options
Interventions and policy actions should be identified based on the AYSRH issues and their direct and indirect causes. Policy actions should be identified and described in specific detail based on the factors that should be influenced or addressed.
After identifying the policy actions needed, an inventory and analysis of all existing policies (e.g., ordinances, resolutions or executive orders) related to these proposed policies is undertaken. The policy analysis helps in determining the gaps in the existing policies and areas that needs to be strengthened or revised. The policy analysis may cover the following areas: evidence of efficacy, public health impact, cost, and political feasibility.
Based on the policy analysis, appropriate policy actions are undertaken. Policy actions may be formally expressed into the following forms or instruments: a) Ordinance, b) Resolution, and c) Executive Order. The policy instruments to be adopted depend on the urgency and importance of the issues to be addressed. Urgent policy actions may be through resolutions or executive orders while those important but are less urgent can take the form of an ordinance.
Step 3: Conduct advocacy activities and build champions and allies
Advocacy activities aims to generate support from stakeholders in the development or enactment of the proposed policy. It involves generation of public awareness, social mobilization and other education and communication strategies among audiences who are critical in influencing decision makers to approve the proposed policy. Some tool may be used such as policy briefs, policy papers, and draft policy. Consultations with various sectors are likewise necessary.
It is also important to build champions and allies among the policymakers or decision makers themselves.
Step 4: Mobilize concerned institutions in the implementation of the approved AYSRH policy
Once the proposed policy is approved, concerned institutions are mobilized to ensure its implementation. Mobilization should be immediate to ensure that institutional support is sustained and optimized.
Step 5: Monitor and evaluate the AYSRH policy
After the policy has been adopted and implemented, conduct regular monitoring and evaluation of the policy. Assess the effectiveness of the policy and revise to respond to emerging issues, concerns, trends and lessons learned.
Indicators for success
- At least 1 AYSRH policy enacted or issued, implemented or revised
- Policy review data or research
- Program implementation review reports
- Trend analysis on current socio-cultural and economic issues
- Database of existing local policies
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It is important to analyze existing policies to avoid creating new policies that are more difficult to enact.CorrectIncorrect
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Which national law or circular provides the guidelines for Local Youth Development Planning, Comprehensive Barangay Youth Development Planning, and Annual Barangay Youth Investment Programming:CorrectIncorrect
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- Policy analysis is important to optimize existing policies and avoid creating new policies that might be more difficult to enact.
- Public support to a policy agenda is very important.
- The participation and involvement of all stakeholders is very critical in advocacy.
- Gatekeepers or those who are directly connected with the decision makers (e.g., friends, wife, executive assistant, etc.) are also important allies to generate desired action.
- Advocacy activities should be properly planned and implemented to ensure that target audiences are favorably influenced. Advocacy messages should build on the interests of the decision maker or policymaker.
- Policies related to access to family planning by adolescents can be viewed as controversial, so one needs to be sensitive to the personal and religious beliefs of the legislators or decision makers. The main message should focus on the overall benefits to the target beneficiaries and their future and the future of their communities as a result.