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NGOs Face Challenges When Moving From Implementation To Advocacy

Writing in the Center for Strategic & International Studies’ (CSIS) “Smart Global Health” blog, David Olson, a global development communications consultant, provides examples of how several “smaller implementation-focused” non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are using advocacy to achieve their goals. “NGOs, especially when they work together, can influence government policy when clear and positive health impact can be demonstrated. However, there are limits to what NGOs can do,” he writes. “Leo Bryant, senior policy manager at MSI, said that advocacy initiatives are unlikely to succeed when they are calling for things far removed from governments’ policy frameworks,” but Bryant added long-term initiatives can succeed, Olson states. Margot Fahnestock, a program officer with the Hewlett Foundation, said if NGOs work in partnerships with governments, it “can put them in direct conflict with also playing a watchdog or activist role with the same government, and can render these groups less effective as advocates,” according to Olson (6/17).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.