Social advocacy as career choice

Ranjan K Baruah  
Lock down and corona are buzzing words since last two months. It is bringing more questions than answers in front of us. People are confused and not sure what will happen. In this context none of us can easily think of new jobs or employment. As lock down increased government has announced mega package. The mega Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package announced by our Prime Minister is a measure to save the lockdown-battered economy, and focuses on tax breaks for small businesses as well as incentives for domestic manufacturing. There is no doubt that the goal is to build a self-reliant India and that is why the economic package is called Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan. This total package is equivalent to 10% of India’s GDP.
As this is a huge package, so, if implemented properly then millions of individual should be benefited. We have also seen other relief packages for poor and farmers like distribution of rations and others. But at the same time whenever we see any such reliefs we also hear about corruption and many people are deprived from their rights. As these people are mostly poor and marginalised, so, they cannot make their voice heard to right authority. Similarly, announcing packages means there are all possibilities that all amounts may not reach the right place due to poor governance and corruption by officials. Here comes opportunity for people who are interested to work for social justice and get engaged in advocacy works. Advocacy work can be a career option where we work with community and raise their and make them heard.
Advocacy is an activity by an individual or group that aims to influence decisions within political, economic, and social institutions. Advocacy includes activities and publications to influence public policy, laws and budgets by using facts, their relationships, the media, and messaging to educate government officials and the public. It can include many activities that a person or organization undertakes including media campaigns, public speaking, commissioning and publishing research. Let us not get confused with words like advocate as both the words are different. To get engaged in advocacy or social advocacy it is not necessary to be a lawyer but if a lawyer does it then s/he gets more advantage.
Social advocacy is not new and this approach continues to be used by individuals and groups in a wide variety of issues. Many organisations specialise in social advocacy addressing and fighting the injustice suffered by a group or individual. Social advocacy has proven to be very effective in bringing about big and small change in the society .This field requires people who are persistent, patient, organised and most of all passionate, who will work in a way to bring positive solution . I am talking about social advocacy as it is the time to get engaged and make sure all reliefs and announced packages make real sense. Students who have studied social work or development studies or legal studies may easily come to this field but they need other skills too.
People are worried for COVID 19 pandemic and income/work engagement. Economic packages bring hopes and opportunities but effective implementation is must and for which there must be people engaged in advocacy so that people are well informed.  Let us make sure that poor people and other who are suppose to get reliefs gets everything properly for which we must be vigilant and as every one cannot be vigilant all the time, so, few aspirants may take it up as full time profession and engaged in advocacy related works. They may work with NGOs, research organisations, media, etc. Let us stay positive and face the challenges due to lock down.
(Ranjan K Baruah is a career mentor, motivational speaker, skill trainer and strategic planner and can be reached at 8473943734 or [email protected])