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Advocacy in Restricted Spaces: A Toolkit for Civil Society Organisations

by Lifeline Fund for Embattled CSOs

Published | June 2020

Developing risk management strategies


While many advocacy resources are oriented towards 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. The toolkit can help organisations to take a new look at their operating environment and see what opportunities for advocacy still exist.

Why read

The toolkit includes tactics that can be used in restrictive spaces, a step-by-step guide for advocacy planning and case studies of how CSOs achieved success with their advocacy.


The toolkit includes a step-by-step guide for advocacy planning that stresses risk mitigation and intersectionality.

In Part 1, it presents the framework for advocacy planning. In Part 2, the guide provides a tactics toolbox that can be used in restrictive contexts, where civil society is under threat. It showcases 16 case studies illustrating 10 key tactics that can be used in restrictive spaces, such as engaging with unlikely allies, addressing slander, stereotypes and stigmatisation, and creative cultural resistance. Part 3 provides links to more than 50 external resources related to advocacy planning and security. The annexes deal with digital security, well-being, risk assessment, and stakeholder mapping to enable civil society organisations to prevent threats at each stage of their campaigning.

The tool is available in English, Arabic, French, Russian and Spanish.


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