In this section, we shine a spotlight on partners who are spearheading budget advocacy on the ground to affect transformational change in their communities.
This month we talked with Ubagu Martha Amuche, a member of COMEN (the Community Empowerment Network) in the Ojoto community in Anambra state.
Q: What inspired you to start working with COMEN?
A: To start working with COMEN was challenging, however, it is also the most satisfying volunteering community development work. I wanted to make a positive contribution to the growth and development of my community, build a network of people with shared goals, and gain professional skills and experience to meet the demands of society.
Q: What skills or tools did IBP bring that helped COMEN achieve their successes?
A: IBP supported us in gaining budget advocacy and process skills and shared reflections and lessons learned to help us achieve our successes. COMEN has been able to generate useful evidence by monitoring what the government is currently doing with the funds that have been budgeted in health sectors and other areas.
Q: What achievement with COMEN are you most proud of and why?
A: I am proud of leading members to advocate for Primary Health Care Centers, championing and defending civil society space and the formation of a partner network. Our partnership with the Justice Development and Peace Caritas helped us to influence and improve Primary Health Care Centers’ service delivery and provide the evidence needed for the #FixmyPHC campaign, which directly led to governments increasing money spent on Primary Health Care Centers.
Q: How has engaging in budget advocacy affected your life?
A: Engaging in budget advocacy has helped to understand the implications of budget choices and take action to help shape community budget choices.
Q: Why should the average citizen care about budgets?
A: Citizen involvement in budgeting makes local service delivery more efficient and effective. Therefore, citizen participation in the budget is very important for the individual, government and society at large.