Justice - a characteristic of God
God is a God of Justice. Justice is not a programme or a project, but justice is the very nature of God whom we seek to emulate. So, we don’t do justice – we live justice. To live and breathe justice is a life-changing decision.
One primary way in which justice is lived out in our lives and in our organisations is through acts of advocacy, lobbying and campaigning. But what exactly do we mean by these terms?
Advocacy: Public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy
- The act of pleading / arguing for, supporting or recommending a cause or course of action
- Advocacy seeks to ensure that people, especially those who are most vulnerable in society are able to:
1. Have their voice heard on issues important and relevant to them
2. Have their views genuinely considered, especially with regards to decisions made about their lives
3. Defend their rights as well as take responsibility for their role in society
- Advocacy aims to enable people to engage and express their views and concerns and thus a large part of advocacy is:
Ensuring access to information
Exploring choices and options
Campaigning: Working in a united, organised and active way towards achieving a specified goal
- A campaign can be made up of one or a series of activities that seek to achieve a certain goal
- The activities tend to be dynamic, energetic and focused, with clear time frames
Lobbying: is an activity that seeks to influence for a particular issue (usually someone with authority, or who legislates, makes policies)
- Lobbying is an integral part of campaigning where the goal requires structural, policy or legislative change to ensure achievement.
Note: even when a policy is made that the campaign sought to achieve, implementation of the policy may require significant further campaigning. This is where holding authorities to account for their commitment and for the policies they have agreed to requires persistent and consistent effort.
For an example of an integrated response that brought about change, see Amanda Jackson's article on The Fulani, the Senator and the Mosquito.
Implication for Micah
As we think about these definitions and consider the future planning of Micah, may I invite you to apply this into your own contexts? If we preach a gospel of transformation, we need to show evidence of what transformation looks like!
Whatever we advocate, lobby or campaign for, we must ensure we are living it out. In doing so, we reflect God's character of justice.