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Community Advocacy

Our entire policy and advocacy approach is grounded in what we hear from women and women’s rights organizations across conflict-affected countries. We know that their knowledge and experience of their contexts enable them to prioritize and respond to what is needed in their communities.

Our Change Agents Program:

Our community-led approach is championed through the grassroots advocacy component of our holistic women’s empowerment program: the change agent program.

At Women for Women International, we know that when women come together to challenge and transform attitudes to their rights, they bring long-lasting changes for themselves and future generations.

In 2017 we established and introduced the Change Agent program – a grassroots advocacy and leadership training program. Women who demonstrate motivation and leadership in their community participate in Change Agent training - developing their skills and knowledge; identifying the changes they want to see and creating action plans that outline how they want to use their voices and experiences to influence their communities.

Change Agents base their advocacy priorities on what they hear from women from their community, and they work collectively to communicate their priorities and advocate for change. By driving forward self-articulated and rights-based changes in their communities, Change Agents make a crucial contribution towards our goal of transforming power systems and structures to better uphold and protect the rights of women affected by conflict and ensure their meaningful participation in the decisions and policies and laws that affect them. 

change agents in South Sudan
Group of Change Agents in South Sudan. Credit: Charles Atiki Lomodong.

Step 1 – Selection:

Change Agents either nominate themselves or are nominated by their community peers to participate in the Change Agent program. 

Step 2 – Training:

After nomination, women participate in our leadership and advocacy training program, which focuses on building skills in leadership and advocacy, enabling Change Agents to translate their experiences and community-level expertise into a clear understanding of the priority issues restricting women’s rights. 

Step 3 – Action plan implementation:

Using their advocacy skills and knowledge, Change Agents develop group action plans (based on the priority issues and key stakeholders they have identified) to advocate for change. Change Agents meet regularly with our teams, who provide mentoring support as they implement their plans. This includes connecting Change Agents to key stakeholders like community leaders and decision-makers and to other networks of Change Agents and women’s rights organizations to exchange their ideas and experiences. We also bring different groups of Change Agents together to network and share their learnings and when they've identified a need for additional training. 

Step 4 – Inspiring broader change:

While Change Agents begin their advocacy at the community level, their collective power influences social norms, policies and decision-making up to the national and global levels. By exchanging knowledge, joining global campaigns, sharing evidence, and convening spaces for dialogue, Change Agents' advocacy has a ripple effect beyond just their own communities. Our policy and advocacy agendas are directly informed by the issues they have identified.


“I engaged other women in the community to help them understand the need for clean water, and we agreed to clean the well and also use water purifiers like chlorine and water guard in our homes for drinking water. I will continue mobilizing other women in the community in utilizing the lessons I have learned, and I hope many more of them will be part of the training.” - Regina 

Taking Action:

A group of Change Agents in DRC. Credit Esther Nsapu
A group of Change Agents in Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo: Esther Nsapu

The Change Agents program is a key part of our ongoing commitment to supporting women's participation in the decision-making that affects their lives. This briefing provides an overview of what our Change Agents program has achieved to date.

Download the Briefing

Using Advocacy Training to Tackle Violence Against Women in Nigeria:

Change Agents Nigeria
Change Agents in Nigeria. Credit: Monilekan.

Change Agents in Nigeria are using the skills from our program to challenge violence against women in their community. Zainab, our advocacy coordinator in Nigeria, explains the impact of violence in Nigeria and how Change Agents are addressing the issue.

Read Zainab's Blog

Change Agents Campaign

"Men can take many wives; we can't register our children."

Change Agents in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo started a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of marriage registration and its impact on gender equality in the region.

Read the Blog

Related Content:

Where We Work

Since 1993, Women for Women International has helped over 531,000 marginalized women affected by war and conflict. We invest in women in 14 conflict affected countries around the world to help rebuild their lives from the ground up.

We know how valuable it can be to use learning and evidence to support our advocacy work. Here you can find our evidence hub, containing all of our published briefings, reports, situational assessments, research and