The Kidney Foundation of Canada takes a leadership role in advocating for policies and programs to meet the needs of people living with chronic renal insufficiency.
What is advocacy?
Advocacy is the act of supporting or arguing in favor of a cause, policy or idea. Its goal is to influence public opinion and societal attitudes (e.g., by promoting organ donation) or to bring about changes to government, community or institutional policies, for instance, by advocating for the establishment of provincial renal planning committees.
Who can advocate?
Advocacy covers a broad range of activities that can include almost anyone:
- Self-Advocacy: the person who is directly affected by an issue or situation speaks up for him or herself and takes action to change it. The Kidney Foundation encourages individuals to act on their own behalf and plays a supporting role by providing information and suggestions for individual action.
- Individual Advocacy: An individual or organization acts with and for the person with the concern. The Kidney Foundation has a limited ability to take on individual cases. Fortunately, most renal programs have nephrology social workers as part of the renal team. Part of their role is to advocate on behalf of patients to ensure they have access to services for which they are eligible. Occasionally the Foundation may act on behalf of an individual if a positive outcome may set a precedent for resolving other similar situations.
- Group Advocacy: A group or organization or coalition of groups work together to seek changes to existing policy or to set new policy for a specific community or group of people. This is the type of advocacy the Kidney Foundation in most often involved in.
How can you get involved?
Patients, family members, renal professionals, Kidney Foundation volunteers and interested members of the community at large can all play a role in advocacy.
To find out about advocacy initiatives in your region, contact your local Kidney Foundation Branch.
For information on how to act at the Federal level contact Nadine Valk, National Director, Programs and Public Policy of The Kidney Foundation of Canada. And to find out more about a recently launched, patient-led advocacy group, visit www.impackd.ca.