Advocacy enables joint action and involves a whole range of interrelated activities that are strategically designed to bring change at different levels. Activities can be aimed at informing the public about a certain issue, creating constant pressure to implement the reform, as well as influencing law-making and policy-making.
The academic community and civil society organizations have different capacities that can work together to significantly contribute to various positive social changes in BiH. Therefore, in order to encourage joint action and conduct joint advocacy activities of academia and civil society organizations, the University of Business Engineering and Management and the Association for Democratic Initiatives have held five one-day trainings titled “Introduction to Public Advocacy“. The fifth and last training within the project “Contribution of the academic community to the protection of human rights in BiH – CAHR”, supported by the European Union, was held on May 27, 2022 in Bihać. As in the previous four trainings, the training was attended by representatives of civil society organizations and the academic community.
During the training, participants discussed various topics and challenges they face in their daily work, as well as human rights violations faced by the target groups they work with on a daily basis. Within the interactive exercises held during the training, participants had the opportunity to discuss and thus emphasize the importance of the right to public assembly for the implementation of certain advocacy activities, as well as for the realization of citizens’ rights. Furthermore, one of the conclusions of the discussion is that it is necessary for the academic community to be more actively involved in advocacy activities implemented by civil society organizations. In addition, before creating advocacy activities, i.e., drafting project proposals, civil society organizations should, after consulting with the academic community, develop joint project proposals that would include joint project activities based on specific proposals for solving problems created by the academic community. During the training, participants also discussed the problem of fake news and the challenges and negative impact they cause on the daily lives of BiH citizens. Bearing in mind the influence of fake news and the right to public assembly on their work and activities, the participants created advocacy messages and applied the theoretical part of the training in a practical way.