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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).

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Oyebisi Babatunde Oluseyi is the Executive Director of the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) and has for over 14years been an internationally respected authority on the growth of civil society, campaigning, and advocacy particularly as they concern development on the African continent. Prior to joining NNNGO, he worked with UNICEF in New York as the Global Coordinator for the UNICEF Rural Voices of Youth Initiative. Oyebisi also serves on the Executive Committee of the Civil Society Pillar of the Community of Democracy, an intergovernmental organisation and has since 2004 headed successively series of portfolios of activities on development policy, civil society strengthening and participatory governance. Currently, an Advisory Council member for the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) -where he advises the staff and board on programme planning, funding and implementation; he also serves as a Member Board of Directors Network of West African NGO Platforms (REPAOC) and African NGO Council. At A4AI-Nigeria he is the Champion for the Consumer Advocacy and Pricing Transparency Working Group which focuses on protection of digital consumers to advance access and affordability.