Dunfermline Advocacy Initiative (DAI) was founded in 1992. It brings together people who need advocates and responsible, committed people to be advocates. The advocates’ role is to get to know their ‘partners’ so that they can help them say what they want to say, and achieve what they want to achieve.
Citizen advocates are not paid. They act as advocates out of commitment to their advocacy partners. Instead of deciding what is best, they take their direction from their advocacy partners. This type of relationship has made a significant difference to many people’s lives. Both advocates and partners develop their leadership skills through being in this dynamic kind of relationship.
This is a good example of the following Citizen Leadership principles:
- 1. Potential
- No-one is denied an advocate because of the degree of their disability. In fact the opposite is true. And when someone is matched with an advocate they are encouraged to direct the advocate’s activity
- 4. Person-centred
- Advocates are citizens, not professionals. They are recruited for their particular leadership qualities, so that they can be most help to their advocacy partner
- 7. Control Through Partnership
- Advocates and partners work together to address what is most important for the partner. Advocates do not choose what to do or how to do it by themselves. The word ‘partner’ is used deliberately to show the nature of the power dynamic in the relationship