Guías y Scouts de Costa Rica influencing decision-making at governmental level
17 December 2013
The Asociación de Guías y Scouts de Costa Rica has been successful in bringing about a change in the law at governmental level through partnerships with other organizations and thanks to the knowledge gained at the Workshop on Advocacy and Partnerships run by the Western Hemisphere.
Ninety-eight years ago Costa Rica opened the door to Scouting and then to Guiding. This country has since then supported Guide and Scout's groups and has a number of specific laws in place.
In 1987 the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica passed a new law authorizing tax payments to benefit a number of social and charitable organizations, including the Guides and Scouts. This enabled the organization to receive funding for a period of 26 years.
In 2012 following a legislative error, the funding was reduced by almost 50% which meant that the organization was forced to make drastic reductions in its expenditure and planning and had to take responsibility for finding and securing their own funding.
By putting into practice the tools and skills gained at the Western Hemisphere Workshop on Advocacy and Partnerships which took place in Panama in October 2011, Javier Sandoval Loría, Vice-President of the Organization, led negotiations with a number of political figures including Costa Rica's Vice-President, Dr. Alfio Piva Mesén, and members of the Legislative Assembly.
After drafting the proposed text to reform the law and attending a reception at the Secretariat of the Legislative Board, the draft was published in the Official Parliamentary Journal. With the help of three deputies, they were able to be assigned a special task group. At the same time they met again with Costa Rica's Vice-President and ensured that an extraordinary legislative session was convened.
Making use of the training received during the workshop, Javier contacted other organizations who were also affected by this situation all of whom approved the action plan developed by the Guides and Scouts and agreed to appoint Javier as overall PR spokesperson.
The organization used all media sources to share their message with MPs. They were interviewed on radio, television and in the print media. They also had to appear before the Committee on Social Affairs of the Legislative Assembly, where they found opposition to their actions.
Thanks to the support of a number of MPs and on-going permanent lobbying in Congress, they could change Legislative Committees which led to a favourable ruling in the Legislative Assembly. After further negotiations with Deputies and using various communication strategies and increasing their visibility thru letter-writing, promotional materials, meetings, etc. a law was finally passed with the approval of the Presidency of the Republic.