Advocacy: Lessons and Learning
Annah Sango is a Women Deliver Young Leader from Zimbabwe. She is a passionate advocate for youth health and well-being, encouraging her peers to learn about their sexual and reproductive health and rights, especially concerning HIV/AIDS. Here, she shares her reflections on what advocacy means to her.
My advocacy experiences have been and still are a learning process. I have interacted with mentors and whole groups of people who have demonstrated amazing skills and work. Along the way, I have learnt that advocacy is a journey that happens on different levels. As a young woman, I should not merely occupy spaces without validating my relevance and representation of what I stand for. Sometimes making noise is not activism—and sometimes, making the necessary noise is.
I need to allow myself to be led in order to lead effectively. I should guard against misrepresentation and exploitation through tokenism. Advocacy is everyone's responsibility and is a skill that should be passed from generation to generation.
Some of the lessons I have learnt are perseverance, clear articulation of my position, the necessity of strong evidence, and determination, all of which are crucial to advocacy. Coordination and forging partnerships are equally important.
We aim to succeed, yet we fail to aim, in many cases. Strategy is important to our advocacy efforts.