This project report is a submission to GlobalGiving’s 2017 Fail Forward Contest, where organizations are asked to share a story of when they tried something new that didn’t go as planned and how they learned from it. Enjoy!’
Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia Inc advocated for and on behalf of special needs children and their families who are incapable because of financial and economic reasons, provide basic resources for their special needs children, who previously received subsidized health care from the Government. In this year's budget the funding for health assessments was defunded and the contract for the medical specialists terminated.
We advocated on social media, radio talk shows, newspapers local television news, etc. We know that most parents of special needs chilren cannot work or in some cases cannot find work that is flexible and its difficult to get a carer for some special needs children or the parents simply cannot afford a carer.
We advocated so funding could be reinstated for special needs children and we needed people to rally with special needs children and their families, our advocacy was overly successful in that it created awareness and with awareness came the needs list from parents and families who had special needs children but could not afford medical health checks and basic items such as Pampers, Wipes, Bibs, Food, Clothing, Formula, etc. Our problem was then to find a way to solve a problem our advocacy had created - to assist families with the needs.
The Idea to advocate for the reinstement of funding by the Government failed but created a new problem for our organisations, how to help those who were in dire need. we did not forsee advocacy created public awareness and expectations of assistance from the advocates, we were not in a financial position to fulfill those needs either, as we had no financial allocation specifically designated to this cause.
We discussed this issue at length at our weekly meeting, the only palatable solution to assist this situation was to explore ways to raise funds to provide help, we settled on the global giving platform to raise funds, wrote our project, submitted and started our advocacy again but this time with an aim to raise funds to assist needy families of special needs children.
We learnt a valuable lesson, when advocating on a problem, ANALYZE the problem from every angel and from the standpoint of the persons who are affected, look at associated needs and what can help apart from advocacy to deal with the problem in a holistic manner.
To date, from funds collected locally, we have provided assistance to five families including medical assessments, personal care items and food. We are working at solving a problem of expectation we created with our advocacy by raising funds and being very persistent with donors who promised to assist and so far we have done well.
We look forward to assisting more families with special needs children who are not financially empowered.