Is your coalition structure still relevant for the work needed in the future?
Some organisations – and individuals – that may play pivotal roles in a coalition during its set up and initial phase of putting an issue on the map may not see a role for themselves in the longer term follow-up and monitoring work. The same is true for donors and this of course can be frustrating if funding starts to decline at the same time as interest from some coalition member NGOs is waning. All of this makes it all the more important to think carefully about the activities the coalition and its members are undertaking, the available resources and the most strategic direction for carrying this crucial follow-up work forward.
It might be worth asking whether the coalition is still needed in its original form. Following the adoption of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers evolved into an organisation in its own right. It now acts as a key focal point for civil society on the issue of child soldiers and undertakes detailed monitoring and other research on the issue, but it is not a coalition as such.
It may be that what becomes most important for a coalition in building an emerging norm is this dedicated watchdog capacity. It is an ability to draw on a network of people in different countries that may not spend much time on your particular issue on a day-to-day basis, but who have the connections to be able to look into it when needed so that the voice of civil society is heard. This looser network, focused on monitoring, perhaps with fewer centralised staff, might also provide sufficient capacity to facilitate advocacy at national, regional and international levels when required.