This review of the literature on the evolution of strategic communications in international development provides a framework for assessing advocacy strategies and tools and reviews the current challenges to influencing local sanitation budgets and expenditures through the use of such tools. Effective advocacy is often necessary to achieving changes in budgetary allocations, and shaping how programs or policies are implemented. However, nongovernmental and community-based organizations rarely tailor their communication to overcome specific implementation barriers, or rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of their messages and strategies. This review first provides a brief overview of how communication goals and methods have evolved and been utilized to change local policymaking, programming and budgetary allocations in developing countries, focusing on water, sanitation, and hygiene. Based on this review, it provides an effective and useful typology of advocacy based on the barriers to policy change. The typology may be used to diagnose the need for and potential of an advocacy and communications strategy. Finally, the review summarizes the current literature on public input into and review of the budgetary process in, the literature on influencing revenue generation, and the opportunities for advocacy and lobbying in both respects in selected sub-Saharan African countries.

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