The role of faith based organisations in policy advocacy : a case study of the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (PACSA).
This study examines the advocacy role of Civil Society specifically Faith based organisations, using the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (PACSA) as a case study. A focus on religion and advocacy is beneficial because Faith based organisations generally deliver services for the public good. The study was conducted in the city of Pietermaritzburg situated in the Province of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa using a faith based non- profit organisation. The specific objectives of the study identified the advocacy strategies and techniques employed by PACSA and the challenges as well as the successes encountered by PACSA in its advocacy work. The study employed the issue of democracy and policy advocacy and the correlation of policy advocacy and effective governance. The study analysed its findings by using a theoretical framework for policy advocacy by Sheldon Gen and Amy Conley Wright. The combined logic model has three major categories of elements: inputs, activities, and outcomes and it was used because it is commensurate to analysis of the research questions that is; 1) What do policy advocates do to try to affect public policy, 2) what are their requisite inputs to perform these activities, and 3) what are the expected outcomes for their efforts. A qualitative methodology shaped the research design; data were analysed using thematic analysis. The findings are presented under the main themes identified within data collected through face-to-face interviews and PACSA’s documents. PACSA’s advocacy work is based on needs of the people, not only should Civil Society Organisations ensure that their initiatives meet crucial social demands, but they also need to strengthen their presence at the grassroots level, to influence policy making. This research revealed that Faith based organisations can be involved in policy advocacy work and at the same time act in faith in the process of advocating for people within the society. The research has shown that Faith based organisations can be involved in several projects as long as their main concern being ‘human dignity’.