A Q&A with the Advocacy Team!
This issue we sat down with Mohit, our Policy and Government Relations Coordinator. Mohit researches policy and legislation to help guide our campaigns and meets with MPs, other government officials and partners to help improve Canada’s international development practices.
Q: What does an average day look like for your team?
A: I cannot really say what an average day looks like because things are always changing! But, in my role, as the policy and government relations coordinator, the one thing that never changes is the amount of reading and research that happens on a daily basis. I look at government updates, new reports on climate change and read all about different conferences that are going on to help keep us up to date and better able to inform policy asks. There is always lots of information to go through on a daily basis.
Q: So how do you decide on advocacy campaigns with all this information?
A: Campaigns usually take a lot of brainstorming through the Policy and Advocacy retreats and by talking to our community. We come up with ideas together, and we find the best fit for the year.
Q: With your campaigns, what are some of the main strategies that the team uses to advocate for these issues?
A: We definitely take a grassroots approach with our community. We break down our policy asks and the reason behind our campaign to members to better understand the importance of the campaign for that year. Then through coordinating high-level engagement with MPs, we ensure our message is received by those working within the halls of power. It’s through this grassroots-led approach that we feel we have a tangible impact on policy decision-makers.
Q: What are some of the main advocacy events that happen throughout the year?
A: Our new campaigns usually launch between September and October. From there, our annual conference happens in January, which leads to the culmination of our Major Action event, like 2019’s meme-a-thon, and this year’s Monster building challenge. In March the government releases their yearly budget which we use to help us redefine our asks if needed. In May we generally have our Day of Action on the Hill to either celebrate budgetary increases that we were advocating for or we do more advocacy to make sure we get there in the future!
Q: That is awesome so what specifically is your Day of Action?
A: Our Annual Day of Action is the coming together of our Community, National Office, and MPs. We set up as many meetings as we can, and we both discuss and celebrate some of the success we saw on our campaign and discuss some of the short fallings we’ve seen. In the end, our goal is to build a relationship with the MPs we engage with so that they see the importance of the work we do.
Q: On average how many MPs would you speak with?
A: We can speak with anywhere from 30-60 MPs for a specific campaign.
Q: Why is this work important for EWB to be doing?
A: This work is important for EWB because it brings together people from all over Canada to advocate for a better tomorrow. We aren’t in the business of helping ourselves, we want to truly help people and we need as much government support through policy considerations and budget increases to foreign aid to help in this. That’s why engaging everyday Canadians is so important to educate and illuminate some of the issues in today’s world that aren’t always heard.
Q: If someone reading this wants to get involved how would they do that?
A: I would say the best way is to join our Chapter community, either through the university chapter or professional chapter in your city. At the Chapter level, you can become very involved in the planning of campaigns and join our Policy Distributive Team, which is made up of our community’s leaders in policy for the year. Participating in our campaigns and sending emails to your MP is another great way to get involved!
You can also help by donating to EWB so that we can continue to create and launch new programs!