Public Policy Advocacy: Effective tool for tobacco control in the Czech Republic

A needs assessment conducted in May 2000 formed the basis of a workshop on Public Policy Advocacy for Tobacco Control, held in the resort town of Podegrady in the Czech Republic in June 2000. This is an integral component of CECHE’s Internet-Based Tobacco Control Program launched in June 1999. The goal of the public policy workshop was to provide hands-on experience in strategic planning and advocacy to promote the potential for public policy reform on tobacco control.

The workshop attended by health professionals from the Czech government District Hygiene Stations and health organizations, several of CECHE’s key US partners and WHO representatives focused on communication styles and techniques, advocacy programs of the US-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids as a model, and strategic planning for advocacy.

In response to suggestions at an earlier Media Relations Workshop in April 2000 a psychologist addressed communication styles and recommended a transactional approach (“I’m okay. You’re okay.”) for communications on smoking cessation and prevention. The regional WHO Liaison Officer from Copenhagen discussed health policies at local and regional levels, and a representative from the Czech Ministry of Health addressed national health policy issues.

Following their popular fund-raising presentation in April, the Lotos group was invited to contribute to the training in strategic planning. Dr. Sovinova also reported on the strategic planning training recently conducted in Warsaw by CECHE’s partner US-based Advocacy Institute. Participants engaged in drafting strategic plans and presenting them.

Western Regional Director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (TFK) Cyndi Lewis outlined steps to developing a campaign to effect public policy reform and emphasized the importance of adhering to a strategy.

Participants engaged in drafting strategic plans and presenting them. The importance of developing a strategy and adhering to it was reinforced by Cyndi Lewis, the Western Regional Director of the Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids (TFK). She outlined steps to developing a campaign to effect public policy reform.

Workshop Evaluation

A pre- and post evaluation showed that all participants rated the workshop as “extremely useful” and relevant to their personal goals. Program sessions received the highest rating for relevance, interest, and usefulness by program participants. As for the amount of time allotted to advocacy activities, the overall score fell between “satisfactory” and “need more time.” For expected frequency in engaging in advocacy activities, nearly two-thirds estimated that they would engage regularly in advocacy activities, whereas one-third estimated that they would engage “occasionally” or “rarely.”

The Strategic Planning session conducted by Radek Kolar of the Lotos consulting firm was rated “most relevant” (3.56), followed closely by the communication assertiveness session; the Lotos session was also considered “most interesting” (3.5) and “most useful” (3.67). J. Pospisil’s session on communication styles rated 3.61 in usefulness.


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