Investments in epidemic prevention and preparedness are crucial to saving lives and protecting countries’ economies and health systems from widespread disease outbreaks. The Global Health Advocacy Incubator’s (GHAI)’s Budget Advocacy Toolkit for Epidemic Preparedness provides advocates with a step-by-step guide for securing—and sustaining—preparedness funding in their own countries by taking users through four stages: campaign planning, campaign implementation, budget accountability and budget sustainability.

GHAI is now thrilled to introduce the Budget Advocacy Toolkit for Epidemic Preparedness: Facilitator's Guide to equip workshop facilitators with everything they need to train civil society advocates and government officials to translate the Toolkit into action.

Building on experience

The Budget Advocacy Toolkit draws on GHAI's experience supporting successful budget advocacy campaigns around the world, including campaigns to secure new government investments for epidemic preparedness in Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal. The Toolkit is often used in group settings, both to train advocates and as a campaign planning and implementation tool by coalitions and other stakeholders. The new Facilitator’s Guide prepares facilitators to lead and support these sessions, using techniques and best practices honed by GHAI over the course of training thousands of advocates in every region of the world. The Facilitator’s Guide was launched at the 3rd International Conference on Public Health in Africa 2023 in Lusaka, Zambia.

A look at the Guide

The Facilitator’s Guide takes users through 11 modules. The journey begins with Module 1, and an informative video, setting the stage with a look at the need for epidemic preparedness. Module 1 also presents GHAI’s four step approach to budget advocacy: campaign planning, campaign implementation, budget accountability and budget sustainability. Module 2 delves into the role facilitators play in guiding participants through practical tips, emphasizing coordination, stakeholder management and consensus building.

Module 3 begins the four-step process by kicking off campaign planning, specifically covering how to conduct a landscape analysis. Understanding country-specific context is emphasized, with practical tips shared for interviews, focus groups, and involving specialists to obtain the needed information. Insights gained lay the groundwork for defining policy objectives and achieving consensus on campaign strategies in later modules. In Module 4, the landscape analysis is reviewed, identifying areas of importance and gaps. This module also presents methodologies such as the “World Café” model to facilitate collaborative review and ensure a cohesive understanding of stakeholders, opportunities and interventions.

Policy objectives are defined in Module 5, where participants dive into crafting SMART policy objectives. SMART—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound—objectives are explored, with consensus-building techniques introduced. The session concludes with a power mapping exercise, aligning stakeholders with advocacy priorities. Module 6 continues campaign planning through the development of a strategic plan. Facilitators guide participants through the purpose and utility of a dynamic strategic plan. The Guide shares an interactive activity involving smaller groups drafting indicators, identifying obstacles and categorizing actions into strategies. The session culminates in a collaborative timeline activity, ensuring a dynamic approach to campaign management.

Module 7 begins the session on step two, campaign implementation, and takes participants through building a coalition of advocates. Facilitators reflect on the benefits of coalitions and guide participants in identifying potential members and strategies for outreach. The session addresses challenges within a coalition and emphasizes the dynamic nature of collaborative advocacy. In Module 8, participants navigate the intricacies of engaging with key decision-makers, emphasizing effective, tailored messaging. The topic of tailored messaging is also covered in Module 9, which covers communication plan implementation. Probing into media advocacy, this module explores types of media, including earned, paid, owned and social media. Practical application is encouraged, with participants developing top-line messages and constructing a comprehensive communication plan. The session underscores the strategic intersection between media and advocacy.

Module 10 covers step three, budget accountability, and celebrates increased funding or new budget allocations. Participants learn about ensuring timely and effective fund utilization. Facilitators share strategies for supporting budget advocacy, and brainstorm potential challenges in fund utilization.

Module 11 is the final session in the course, and it covers step four: budget sustainability. In this session, participants focus on the sustainability of budget allocations for epidemic preparedness. Facilitators guide a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis, navigating the annual budget process, brainstorming opportunities for engagement and reflecting on lessons learned. The module underscores the continuous nature of budget advocacy, ensuring sustained impact.

GHAI's Budget Advocacy Toolkit for Epidemic Preparedness: Facilitator's Guide is a practical guide for advocates supporting their teams or coalitions to achieve transformative change. The dynamic approach, rooted in real-world successes, ensures participants are equipped to navigate the complexities of advocacy for epidemic preparedness. Join us in empowering advocates, transforming communities and ensuring a resilient global health landscape. Discover more and sign up for the course here.

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