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February 25, 2020

How to build strong coalitions for policy change: This month in Devex

Aliança pela Alimentação Adequada e Saudável
(Alliance for Adequate and Healthy Food) in Brazil

Coalition-building is an essential part of advocacy. As two of our experts wrote in a recent op-ed for Devex, effective coalitions expand the pool of resources and let officials know that support for an issue is widespread. They can also help partners identify and build on their relative strengths.

Coalitions contributed to these recent advocacy successes:

  • In Mexico, the government signed strong front-of-package warning labels on unhealthy food and beverage products into law — a move that will impact more than 126 million people, the country’s entire population.
  • In Brazil, advocates campaigned for a new school policy requiring healthier food options and banning the sale and advertising of unhealthy foods and beverages in the country’s southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul, and won.
  • In India, road safety advocates celebrated the passage of a major transportation policy intended to make roads safer for everyone.

In their op-ed, GHAI experts Ch’uyasonqo Lane and Mena El-Turky describe three factors that contribute to strong coalitions — and helped lead to the policy wins above:

  1. Diversity and expertise
  2. Legitimacy
  3. An independent, strategic vision

“Strong coalitions are built on a foundation of collaboration and trust,” Lane and El-Turky write. “Creating such an environment takes time and can be labor-intensive, but it is worth the effort.”

Read the full piece here on