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The Final Workshop of “Social Policy Advocacy on Environment and Health” Project

On September 22-23, 2011, the final workshop of the project “Social Policy Advocacy on Environment and Health”, co-organized by the China Association for NGO Cooperation (CANGO)and the American Bar Association (ABA) was held in Beijing. In total 40 participants from 26 environmental NGOs, academic institutes and related government departments attended the closing workshop.
During the opening session, Mr. Huang Haoming, Vice Chairman and Executive Director of CANGO, and Ms. Allison Moore, Director of ABA Beijing Project Office, gave welcome speeches in which they expressed their recognition of the project’s achievements and acknowledgements to pilot organizations as well as the project advisory committee experts. They also provided suggestions for next steps of how NGOs can continue their advocacy on environment and health related policy issues..
The closing workshop content included two main sessions: sharing of project achievements and a media training session for environmental NGOs. The media training for environmental NGOs also received technical and financial support from the “NPO-Corporate Partnership for Sustainable Development”, a project supported by the EU and implemented by CANGO, the International Center for Communication and Development (ICCD) and the Non-Profit Incubator (NPI).
During the session on project achievements, the project leaders of the four pilot organizations, Mr. Huo Daishan from HuaiheGuardian, Ms. Yun Jianli from Green Hanjiang, Mr. Zhou Xiang from Green Anhui and Ms. Mei Nianshu from Green Kunming shared their experiences and lessons learned from their work on policy advocacy on water and health issues. Following the experience sharing, experts from the project advisory committee gave comments and provided specific suggestions. Ms. Wang Xiangyi, Project Manager of CANGO, introduced the“Manual of NGOs Policy Advocacy on Environment and Health”, which was produced as the main project publication. Mr. Yu Xiaoyong from Green Friends in Tianjin, shared his evaluation of  the manual with the group.
During the media training for environmental NGOs, Ms. Dai Xin from ICCD introduced raised several issues on NGO communication and promotion materials. She also provided an overview of techniques and skills on how to make promotion materials more effective, sharing several cases of different organizations as examples.
 As group exercise during the session, participants jointly designed a promotion leaflet together. Mr. Zhong Weining from CCTV News introduced the specific questions and skills on how to accept interviews of broadcasting media. As an exercise heconducted one-minute on-the-spot interviews with four representatives and showed the videos to all participants, then provided specific suggestions how to improve interview skills. All participants also engaged in discussions and exchange with the trainers on some persistent problems of NGO-media communication. It was pointed out that media sometimes misunderstands and misreportsNGO work. This reminds us that it is still important to promote the dialogue between media and NGOs in China.
Although the “Social Policy Advocacy on Environment and Health” project has been completed, successful NGO policy advocacy continues to be a long-term challenge. CANGO and ABA would like to continue their cooperation on this issue and provide future support to NGOs’ policy advocacy work. All participants also provided their suggestions to the follow-up of this project, such as development of a “Practical Handbook of Water and Health Policy”, media training and further exchange workshops on analysis on policy advocacy cases.