Building community power: Putting people first in public budgets

Annual Report 2022

Message from our Executive Director

Dear Friends,

Prior to joining the International Budget Partnership (IBP) in February as its new Executive Director, I led FARO, a “think-and-do tank” that is IBP’s partner in Ecuador and experienced firsthand the value IBP brings to partners across the world. In concrete and practical ways, IBP champions a network of civil society organizations that learn from and support each other. It opens doors and builds bridges with policymakers and governmental authorities. It supports activities that are rarely financed by traditional funders. And using fresh insights and methodologies, IBP spurs meaningful change.

Now, as part of IBP’s team I have been inspired by the diverse coalitions we work with that are transforming citizens’ lives by influencing how public funds are spent, collecting data that informs and improves public service delivery, and including the voices of underserved populations in the public budget’s decision-making process. IBP’s work has had impact at scale on people’s lives. Working closely with our grassroots and social movement partners in seven countries (Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa), we have improved services for more than nine million people over the past five years.

I continue to be in awe of the collective strength of our diverse network of partners from every region of the globe. Following the release of the Open Budget Survey in May 2022, our team worked closely with civil society partners in more than 120 countries to engage national governments and advocate for more open, participatory and accountable public finance systems. I saw in my meetings with public officials and local partners the concrete impact IBP and our partners have made on policies and practices that allow for greater participation, transparency and structural changes towards more equitable budgets.


Working closely with our grassroots and social movement partners in seven countries, we have improved services for more than nine million people over the past five years.

Partnerships have always been at the heart of our organization’s vision and that is why, as IBP enters this new phase, we want to bring the collective knowledge and insights of our partners to the main stages of decision-making at national, regional and global levels. We want to expand the space for peer-to-peer learning where partners can engage with and learn from each other’s experiences and innovate new approaches together.

As power imbalances, inequalities and narrowing civic space perpetuate exclusion, IBP’s goal to build a movement to make public budgets work for people is more urgent than ever. I’m proud of IBP’s role in shifting power and reclaiming people’s right and ability to have a say in public money.

There is no easy answer to the challenges we face, but the dedication, expertise and passion of IBP’s donors, staff, Board of Trustees and partners gives me hope that building a more just world is possible. I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead, and I look forward to working more closely with all of you in the coming year and beyond as we strive to deliver meaningful and lasting change in communities around the world.


Ana Patricia Muñoz
Executive Director

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The power of people: Supporting social movements to create systemic change

We have forged powerful and diverse reform coalitions that have helped our movement partners unearth valuable data to shift government understanding of the problems driving poor service delivery and find solutions. Our partners are now seen as essential players in making service delivery systems better. They are starting to formalize their relationships with government officials and oversight bodies, like national audit offices, to improve how services are delivered long term.

Out of the shadows: Spotlighting the needs of Nigeria’s rural communities

In Nigeria, our partners worked with government to ensure that key sectors like agriculture and primary healthcare are adequately prioritized and that rural communities are not neglected.

We worked alongside the Small-Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON) to make the case for increased budget allocations for agriculture and ensure that what is allocated is responsive to women farmers’ needs. Thanks to years of relationship-building and datasharing with government, they have become trusted partners to government in shaping budget decisions on agriculture. Their members now sit on the National Technical Steering Committee for the Agricultural Sector and on a committee that implements the national gender policy on agriculture. In Niger, Oyo and Jigawa state, SWOFON coordinators are part of committees that oversee budget allocations and actively participated in public consultations on the 2023 budgets. The National President is also a member of the federal budget committee. They have leveraged these spaces to get fertilizer, seeds and equipment for 500,000 women farmers.

Our partner has leveraged these spaces to get fertilizer, seeds and equipment for 500,000 women farmers

As our research on budget credibility this year underscored, many governments deviate in their spending from their approved budgets, particularly for social sectors, which disproportionately impacts marginalized communities. We found this to be true in Nigeria’s healthcare spending. With partners we analyzed federal and state health budgets and found underspending as high as 30–85%—due to delays in the federal government’s disbursement of funds to states, centralized procurement procedures and inaccurate accounts reconciliation by untrained staff. As a result, many primary healthcare facilities in Nigeria’s rural communities are unable to hire skilled nurses and midwives, buy medical supplies and medicines, or renovate aging clinics. Our campaign with the Justice, Development and Peace Commission and the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives urged officials to prioritize spending on primary health centers using town halls, meetings and the media to sustain attention to this issue. Thanks to our advocacy, Ogun and Oyo states drew down on the national Basic Health Care Provision Fund and leveraged the Midwives Expanded Service Scheme to get resources flowing to rural clinics.

Breaking barriers: Streamlining help for Indonesia’s communities

In Indonesia, our partners forged win-win relationships with government to make assistance programs easier to access. Officials now have better data to run programs more effectively and communities have a seat at the table, ensuring resources reach those who need them most. 

We helped expand access to the country’s social protection program with the help of the Indonesian People’s Struggle Association (SPRI), which represents urban poor women. SPRI collected social audit data showing how many urban poor families were being left out and urged officials to streamline the registration process and revamp their data management system. Several coalition partners became part of a team tasked by the government to update the system—the only civil society groups entrusted with this task. SPRI also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the greater Jakarta ombudsperson for joint monitoring of the program’s implementation.

As a result, the government revised the registration process to make it more transparent and to allow for paper-based applications to accommodate the poorest families that are unable to apply online. SPRI submitted 9,058 members’ households for registration of which 3,140 were verified and accepted into the database.


households were verified and accepted into the social protection database.

We also helped the National Union of Traditional Fisherfolk (KNTI) collect valuable insights to remove red tape for small-scale fisherfolk to get subsidized fuel from the government. We discovered that 75% of the government’s quota for subsidized fuel for fisherfolk gets diverted to other sectors because too few fisherfolk can get the KUSUKA card they need to access the subsidy.

Ultimately, KNTI persuaded officials to simplify the registration process and were officially appointed as operators of the KUSUKA database, supporting the registration of 10,000 KNTI members to date and 3,444 in 2022 alone. They also secured a Memorandum of Understanding with national and regional Ombudsperson offices to jointly monitor and collect community feedback on whether the subsidized fuel is distributed equitably.

We discovered that 75% of the government’s quota for subsidized fuel gets diverted to other sectors.

Eyes in the air and on the ground: Improving flood resilience in Senegal’s informal settlements

In Senegal, we brokered new relationships between government officials and our partners, UrbaSEN/the Federation of Senegalese Inhabitants (FSH), which fight to make the voices of informal settlement residents heard. Using proven methodologies like social audits and drone footage, UrbaSEN and FSH collected valuable community data that provides officials with unique insights into the scale and nature of the problems they face with recurring flooding and related water and sanitation issues. We forged trusted relationships between UrbaSEN and FSH and the National Sanitation Agency who now rely on each other regularly. This new way of working with communities is a significant shift for sanitation agency authorities and is leading to clear-cut results. Together we improved flood management and sanitation infrastructure for 2.5 million informal settlement residents (including 1.1 million in 2022 alone). These partners are also stepping into positions of influence—54 women members have become municipal councilors (three are deputy mayors) which gives them even greater influence over budget decision-making.

2.5 million
We have improved flood management and sanitation infrastructure for 2.5 million informal settlement residents.

Making governments accountable: Our work in South Africa’s informal settlements

In South Africa, we grew the coalition of community groups that are part of the Asivikelane campaign, which uses a monthly survey to monitor access to water and sanitation services in informal settlements. There are now 5,717 residents in 522 informal settlements across 10 municipalities taking part in the surveys—of whom 65% are women. This past year, these efforts contributed to 1,689 instances of improved water, sanitation and refuse removal services impacting 2,533,500 people. The campaign sought to replicate its success by launching Asivikelane Health, which uses a similar monthly survey to assess the quality of primary healthcare services for informal settlement residents—starting with a pilot in the Eastern Cape. In its first year the project covered 45 clinics with 450 participants. We had 74% of participants report that Asivikelane Health led to improved services such as clinics opening on time, improved youth services, nurses treating clients better and improved medicine availability.

instances of improved water, sanitation and refuse removal services in 2022 impacting 2.5 million people.

Forging paths to progress: Bringing accountability champions together

We leveraged our flagship Open Budget Survey and other comparative analysis to shed light on the state of budget accountability globally and spur in-country reform through global, regional and national advocacy.

We released the 8th edition of the Open Budget Survey, the world’s only comparative, independent and regular assessment of fiscal transparency, participation and oversight alongside partners in more than120 countries (covering 90% of the world’s population). The report found that while transparency scores have gone up 20% since 2008, accountability systems are still weak. Nevertheless, it also showcased many diverse countries that have climbed to the top scores on transparency, made quick improvements, and undertaken innovative practices to broaden public participation. We saw progress in transparency scores in several countries where we provided support to civil society.

Progress in transparency scores


from 4 to 35


from 17 to 27


from 42 to 50


from 12 to 20


from 35 to 42


from 17 to 21


Turning the tide on public spending challenges

Through partnerships and global advocacy, we urged for greater accountability around how governments execute their budgets, an area that the Open Budget Survey finds particularly weak. Our research on budget credibility, which looks at the extent to which governments deviate in their spending from their approved budgets, finds that governments often deprioritize spending on social sectors that most affect underserved communities. We worked with nine partners in 13 countries to shed light on the scale of the problem and its impact on achieving sustainable development goals. Our research examining spending across seven sectors related to 10 sustainable development goals revealed that water and sanitation, gender, and the environment had the highest rates of underspending (18%, 15% and 13%, respectively).

Our research examining spending across sustainable development goals revealed that water and sanitation, gender, and the environment had the highest rates of underspending.

Broadening the bench: Spurring country reforms with broader group of advocates

Our teams connected in person for the first time with many new partners to build an ever broader and more diverse bench of civil society advocates that can leverage budget processes to drive change.

Supporting new budget champions

We provided in-depth and tailored training to more than 330 civil society groups in 23 countries to build their skills to analyze budgets and advocate for reform. Building on last year’s foundational online curriculum, our teams undertook 26 visits to 22 countries to conduct in-person workshops where they delved into budget analysis, provided coaching on budget advocacy tactics and facilitated targeted engagements with government officials and stakeholders. These workshops involved a cross-section of partners—from LGBTQI activists in Jamaica to researchers working on the Open Budget Survey for the first time in Armenia, to young women fighting corruption in Côte d’Ivoire.

Capacity Development


in-person workshop


online training


of participants demonstrated increased capacities and skills


of organizations
developed follow-up
budget advocacy plans

Building momentum: Regional tax initiative launched in Africa to promote domestic reform

Building on our global efforts to promote tax equity, we launched a tax initiative in Africa to expand the capacity of civil society organizations in the region to engage in domestic tax reform. We kicked off in two pilot countries, Senegal and Nigeria, where we gathered key groups to assess how the tax systems impacts the government’s ability to deliver key services and advocate for more progressive tax policies.

In Nigeria, we forged a reform coalition of 27 civil society groups—all bringing diverse capacities to joint advocacy.

Our teams also took our tax equity agenda to regional and global stages. They took part in the General Assembly of the Africa Tax Administrations Forum in Lagos in November, where we participated in a side event on gender and taxation. At the Addis Tax Initiative, a multi-stakeholder partnership to discuss how partner countries can best raise and spend their own funds, we made the case for more participation by civil society, auditors and other accountability actors in tax processes.