Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


10 cp from 200-level units in International Development Studies

Teaching organisation

3 hours per week for 12 weeks or equivalent

Unit rationale, description and aim

Advocacy is a strategic method for achieving positive social change through persuasion and diplomacy, trust and relationship building, education and information, use of communication and media, and strategic partnership and an essential component of international development practice.

Since the 1960s, international non-governmental organisations have pioneered information and media strategies to address human rights abuses and injustice across the world. This subject investigates the practice of human rights-based advocacy from practitioner and interdisciplinary academic perspectives. It focuses attention on the history of transnational activism, its effectiveness and challenges. The subject will discuss in what ways international NGOs target individual states, corporations and other non-state actors. It will also draw on lessons learned from some of the major recent global campaigns focused on topics such as anti-personnel landmines, women’s rights and global poverty. This unit will explore how to develop and implement advocacy strategies to address human rights campaigns. The unit aims to provide students with the opportunity to develop skills and processes of individual and systemic advocacy in settings relevant to international development

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe, compare and critique applications of human rights-based approaches to advocacy (GA2, GA4, GA9)

LO2 - Critically evaluate the role of international NGOs as agents of social and political change; (GA2, GA3, GA4, GA8)

LO3 - Analyse how international NGOs target individual states, corporations and other non-state actors in advocacy campaigns (GA3, GA5, GA10)

LO4 - Develop and implement an advocacy strategy for a humanitarian or development situation (GA1, GA5, GA9)

Graduate attributes

GA1-demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA2- recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3- apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 -locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9- demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10- utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include: 

  • Understanding advocacy in humanitarian and development contexts
  • Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of advocacy campaign strategies and tactics
  • Developing an Advocacy Campaign
  • Digital and celebrity advocacy
  • Monitoring and Evaluating Advocacy
  • Managing Risks in Advocacy
  • Building Relationships and Securing Partnerships.
  • Working with communities in advocacy
  • Influencing policy through advocacy
  • Indigenous and First Nations responses to advocacy and allyship

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit engages students in active learning activities, such as reading, writing, discussion and problem-solving to promote analysis, synthesis and evaluation of class content. Students encounter ideas in seminar settings and through discussion, group work and examinations of case studies develop skills in applying these ideas. Students undertake practical project-based learning with the goal of developing their analytical, problem solving, decision making and investigative skills with regard to advocacy campaigns.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video etc.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessments in this unit encourage students to undertake practical project-based learning to develop the skills required to create an advocacy campaign. Students learn about and reflect on exemplars of advocacy campaigns via a tutorial presentation and engage with the literature surrounding advocacy via an essay. The schedule provides scaffolded learning with opportunities for students to monitor their own progress, practise their skills and receive feedback.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Tutorial Presentation: Case Study of an Advocacy Campaign

This task develops knowledge and judgement of advocacy strategies drawn from human rights based approaches.


LO1, LO2

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA8,



This essay assesses students’ analytical skills to aid in the examination and critique of advocacy campaigns.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Development of an Advocacy Campaign

Students synthesise knowledge and skills developed through the unit to develop and implement an advocacy strategy for a humanitarian or development situation.


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Bridges, K.M. (2010), ‘Between Aid and Politics: diagnosing the challenge of humanitarian advocacy in politically complex environments—the case of Darfur, Sudan’. Third World Quarterly, 31:8, 1251-1269.

Becker, J. (2012).  Campaigning for Justice: Human Rights Advocacy in Practice. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Brockington, D. (2014). Celebrity Advocacy and International development. New York: Routledge.

Chandler, R.,Fuller, L.,Wang, L. (2011) (Eds.). Women, War, and Violence: Personal Perspectives and Global Activism. U.S. Palgrave Macmillan.

De Waal, A. (2015), Advocacy in Conflict: Critical Perspectives on Transnational Activism. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Falcon, S. (2016). Power interrupted: antiracist and feminist activism inside the United Nations. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Nelson, P. J., & Dorsey, E. (2008). New rights advocacy: Changing strategies of development and human rights NGOs. Washington, D.C: Georgetown University Press.

Rajan, G. & Desai, J. (2012). Transnational Feminism and Global Advocacy in South Asia. London: Routledge

Rugendyke, B. (2007). NGOS as Advocates for Development in a Globalising World, London: Routledge.

Yanacopulos, H. (2015). International NGO Engagement, Advocacy, Activism. UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs