Advocacy in Restricted Spaces: A Toolkit for Civil Society Organizations

The Advocacy in Restricted Spaces toolkit is a practical resource that emphasizes that advocacy is possible even in highly restrictive contexts. Created by the Lifeline Embattled CSO Assistance Fund, the toolkit is intended for use by grassroots, national, and regional organizations that want to engage in advocacy in restrictive environments. It includes concrete examples and new perspectives on mobilizing around opportunities for change. While many advocacy resources are oriented toward groups operating in functioning democracies where basic freedoms are respected, this toolkit provides real-world examples of how civil society can be effective even under significant duress. Visit the Freedom House website to learn more. The toolkit is available in Arabic, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.

The toolkit includes:

  • A step-by-step guide for advocacy planning that stresses risk mitigation and intersectionality.
  • 10 tactics that can be used in restrictive spaces including “Engaging with Unlikely Allies,” “Addressing Slander, Stereotypes, and Stigmatization,” and “Creative Cultural Resistance”.
  • 16 case studies with real-world examples of how CSOs achieved success with their advocacy
  • Links to over 50 external resources related to advocacy planning and security.
  • Annexes related to digital security, well-being, risk assessment, and stakeholder mapping to enable CSOs to prevent and mitigate threats at each stage of their campaigning.

Download the toolkit