If you work in the policy and advocacy space you must have physical and mental stamina.
Ability to go on for hours and days reviewing documents, listening and engaging for change.
Let me share a personal story
In 2012 when the UN Secretary General established the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development which shaped the Global Goals now called the SDGs, I was part of a team of Civil Society Leaders that moved from Africa, Europe, Asia to America meeting with diplomats, sherpers, governments, private sector and civil society to review drafts, provide language and also advocate on issues and priorities that should be in the goals.
A lot of work went into pruning the goals down to 17, developing the indicators and getting Heads of Governments in over 190 countries to adopt this document in September 2015.
I remember during one of our engagements, I had to travel from Liberia, after meetings with the Liberian President at the time (Madam Sirleaf), onward to Kenya for another high-level engagement with all stakeholders (African governments etc.) and then to the United States (United Nation’s) for the real work.
It was a back-to-back trip. On landing meetings were scheduled and we had to be on our toes digesting documents in the plane understanding immediately you land meetings will start. With the jet lag myself and colleagues like Omo Bee , Namhla Mniki Okomu Paul John Patrick Ngoyi would walk from 34th street to 42nd on the streets of New York meeting with African governments and friends of Africa advocating for the global goals.
In some instances you are reading over a 1000 pages of documents so that you are telling both governments and private sector leaders something new and fresh and helping them to piece the reasons behind some language and framing in the draft SDGs document. We would go on for hours with less sleep and we were proud of ourselves in the end when many of our recommendations saw the light of the day.
One is proud of the work done in birthing the SDGs and those around ensuring campaigning and monitoring the MDGs.
Someday I will share my advocacy experience and lessons on the NGO Bill’s (7th to 9th Assembly), how I worked with the NNNGO membership on push-back and the review of Part F of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (contentious).