In October 2018, 24 communications staff from 17 civil society organizations in Latin America participated in a media advocacy workshop organized by the Global Health Advocacy Incubator and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. This innovative workshop, designed for civil society organizations working on two major public health issues: tobacco control and obesity prevention, aimed to build media advocacy skills and to strengthen the network among communicators in the region.
Held in Bogotá, Colombia, the workshop gave participants working on different issues and similar advocacy efforts the rare opportunity to be in the same room and learn from one another. The gathering enabled participants to build a network of peers who are facing similar challenges and to exchange successful media advocacy campaigns. As one participant said: “The simple act of getting people from different countries together is very important. I greatly valued the exchange of information and experiences.”
Throughout the two days, advocates shared best practices based on their experiences developing media advocacy campaigns that drive policy change. In addition, a guest speaker shared a case study from a successful advocacy campaign to defend public television funding in Colombia. An investigative journalist shared tips on how public health advocates can serve as a resource for the media. Participants returned to their countries and organizations equipped with fresh ideas and a network of peers who are facing similar challenges.