Starting a successful coalition


Starting a successful coalition requires a group of people who share a common agenda for united action. While part of this will likely be codified into a coalition ‘call’ – a statement of what needs to be done – this basis for united action goes beyond policy, to include shared values and norms of behaviour. It needs a group of people who want
to work together.

It also needs a sense of urgency if momentum is going to be built and sustained. Urgency may come from current events that illustrate the problem at hand or provide a pressing opportunity for reform in an area of established concern. Crucially, the coalition will need to fill a gap in the field of NGO work if it is to be seen as a necessary mechanism for achieving reform.

As seen in the last section, collective work can take many forms, from loose information sharing networks to more tightly organised campaigns.In the early phases it is important, therefore, to have some clarity about the approach the coalition will take – so that members and partners share the same basic expectations.

“We were small enough to be a self-elected informal group, we knew each other really well, we were the ones working on the issue and we had excellent relationships with governments and intergovernmental organisations like the UN.”

Martin Macpherson, Child Soldiers International (formerly Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers)


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