Miller, Valerie

Rights-based approaches and beyond: challenges of linking rights and participation

As more and more development and human rights organisations critically assess their impact and strategies, there is growing convergence in the questions they raise about how to be most effective in addressing structural, systemic causes of poverty and exclusion and thus, make a positive difference in the lives of poor and marginalised people.

A new weave of power, people and politics: the action guide for advocacy and citizen participation

This guide aims to enable activists, trainers and other involved in development and democracy to promote citizen participation and to democratize decision-making. Drawing on experiences of NGOs from numerous countries, the document contains concepts, tools and step-by-step processes aimed at promoting citizen advocacy. It aims to help activists, practitioners and planners to work with civil society in a way that promotes political change, develops solutions to development problems and policies, creates strong and lasting links and transforms power relations, including gender dynamics.

The struggle at Yellow Creek

This paper describes a 15-year battle by a poor rural community to stop industrial pollution of their water supply, and reveals the multiple strategies used by the people of Yellow Creek to hold powerful government and corporate interests accountable. Key elements of success included the uses of participatory research (including scientific research), freedom of information provisions, and the legal system, as well as strategic alliances and genuine partnerships with supportive and respectful NGOs.

Power and empowerment

This paper defines different levels of power and processes of empowerment. It argues that the fact that its expressions and forms can range from domination and resistance to collaboration and transformation, is a positive thing for advocates whose strategies depend upon new opportunities and openings in practice and structures of power. It uses two charts, the Chaz framework, and Power, political participation and social change, to explore both practical and theoretical issues and to reflect key lessons from gender work.

Assessing entry points: questions of engagement

Although a key advocacy goal is to influence policy processes, it is rare for this to genuinely happen in practice. Deciding when and how to engage with policy processes is not straightforward or simple. This paper highlights some key questions that can help advocates determine whether an opportunity to engage with decision makers is truly a meaningful chance for influence and change.

The advocacy debate: changing policy, changing people

This paper is one of a selection of key frameworks and examples from a manual published by World Neighbors called A New Weave of Power, People & Politics: The Action Guide for Advocacy and Citizen Participation, by L.Veneklasen with V.Miller. World Neighbors. The paper is a brief advocacy story that emphasises the need to understand advocacy, not only in terms of policy changes but also as changes in structures, values and people.