The GFN Committee have handed over the election organisation for the annual advocacy awards to INNCO. On the plus side it’s a recognition of INNCO’s global potential, on the other, it’s now our responsibility to ensure that these awards continue to attract enthusiasm, support and nominations to acknowledge the very best from across the globe.
Advocacy work can often seem a thankless task. The majority of advocates are volunteers utilising their own time and resources to do the work, in the background - quietly, without any glory or fanfare because of the passion they feel about helping others, about sharing their knowledge and experiences and the need to disseminate the truth about safer alternatives to tobacco. Advocates and consumers are the backbone and foundation of and for the work that INNCO does. The Advocate of the Year Awards are there to recognize and acknowledge the people who are deserving of our appreciation, because without them, we are nothing.
INNCO considered that the previous criteria for the first category i.e. a consumer advocate with no prior background in advocacy has tended to favour those relatively new to the field, and unwittingly excluded stalwarts, some of whom have been doggedly slogging away for years!
Whether they unfailingly collate and disseminate daily news updates, publish blogs, produce web broadcasts, websites, oversee or assist consumer advocate organisations, rise above the chatter in Social Media or offer practical advice and support in local initiatives – each play an important role.
The INNCO Advocacy Awards offers a global opportunity to recognise and acknowledge the advocacy warriors, the researchers, the consumers who consistently strive to make a difference. The people who believe that the truth about tobacco harm reduction offered by switching to alternative nicotine products is a cause worth fighting for.
The revised criteria for the first category is:
An individual consumer advocate
for alternative nicotine products (whether a member of a group or independent) who has consistency gone ‘above and beyond’ to spread information, knowledge, enthusiasm or offered assistance in supporting the rights of others to choose safer alternatives to combustible tobacco.
The second category remains similar to previous years:
An advocate for tobacco harm reduction, who may or may not be a consumer, who utilises their professional status and position to promote the concept of Tobacco Harm Reduction using their background in science, health, advocacy or academia.
Finally, INNCO have introduced an entirely new category. As one of INNCO’s stated aims is to encourage the formation of local and national advocacy groups on the basis of ‘together we are stronger’, it seemed a logical progression to acknowledge the importance and effectiveness of sharing a common goal.
The third category will be offered to:
An advocacy group or organisation
which has been outstanding in promoting the cause of alternative risk reduced nicotine products whether through education, campaigning, collaboration or by offering practical assistance within their regional and/or national community and governments.
NOTE: The individual advocate winners and a representative from the group winners will each receive free registration to GFN2017 in Warsaw, together with an award certificate presented during the main conference.
To ensure fairness and transparency, the winners from this year’s INNCO Advocate Award will be invited to sit on the panel to assist in overseeing the selection of the next years’ awards - ad infinitum ;-)
This year three members of the INNCO Steering Group plus one leading academic advocate will oversee the selection process, the winners will be chosen primarily on the number of nominations received together with:
- The nature of the person’s/group’s involvement, for example: Are they active in influencing policy, are they involved in advocating for product safety, are they involved in organising campaigns or have they had to overcome significant government or regional opposition?
- The actual/potential impact of their involvement whether locally or globally
- Their success in engaging others in advocacy
Nominations open on 27 February 2017 and must be submitted via the INNCO.org website.
People may nominate ONE candidate from one or all of the categories Nominations will close at midnight (GMT) on 31 March 2017
To ensure balance, supporting statements will be limited to a single paragraph of no more than 100 words.
The winners will be announced on Thursday 15th June at the GFN by Dr Ethen Nadelmann following his Michael Russell Oration.