Today marked the first day of Measuring advocacy for policy change: The case for respectful maternity care, a meeting convened in Cambridge, MA by the MHTF and the USAID Traction Project. The day kicked off with accounts from past advocacy successes in campaigns on HIV/AIDS, tobacco, and child health. Lessons learned included the need for coalition building, emphasizing contributions rather than attributions to the cause, and being flexible enough to seize opportunities for progress as they arise.
Later in the day, experts discussed the need to develop a sound theory of change to ensure a logical flow between what organizations are doing and what the movement is hoping to achieve. An important part of this process will be to clearly define interim outcomes as pre-conditions for policy change. The session closed with varied perspectives on maternal health advocacy, sparking discussion on opportunities to integrate bottom-up and human-rights approaches in the case of respectful maternity care policy change efforts.
Tomorrow, participants will work to develop measurement strategies and to determine follow-up steps for strengthening synergies within the respectful care community on measurement for policy and advocacy.