The International Budget Partnership, in collaboration with the Maternal Health Task Force, produced this paper as part of the Ask Your Government! Initiative. It provides an overview of how civil society groups and citizens can use independent budget analysis to hold their governments accountable for pledges made under the United Nations Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. While the document focuses on those commitments that relate to maternal health it hopes to contribute to the accountability efforts of the child health community.
By Almudena Ocejo (Centro de Contraloría Social y Estudios de la Construcción Democrática).
When it comes to health care in Mexico, “universal” has never meant equal, particularly when it came to the access to adequate care for the country’s 52 million uninsured. Civil society organization Fundar — a research organization with a background in budgetary analysis — developed a successful advocacy strategy on health policy to change this.
The full version, short summary, and one page summary of this case study are available in English.
May 2016 | by Jillian Larsen
The International Budget Partnership has spent almost a decade researching how and why civil society campaigns on budget-related issues succeed or fail. Based on the findings of nearly 30 case studies spanning five continents, this paper synthesizes what we have learnt so far. It focuses particularly on the relationships between civil society organizations (CSOs) and both government and non-government stakeholders, establishing a typology of these relationships, and examining how and why they contribute to successful budget campaigns.
The main finding is that, when it comes to budget campaigns, CSOs cannot go it alone. Cooperation from either elite stakeholders, a wider network of non-state actors, or both, is crucial. Campaigns that failed to forge strong cooperative relationships were found to have much weaker outcomes. Those that were able to sustain relationships while adapting to ever changing circumstances exhibited the strongest outcomes.
December 2015 | By Peter Bofin
On paper, Tanzania is committed to reducing maternal, newborn, and child deaths. In practice, however, women giving birth often lack access to the basic obstetric care needed to prevent avoidable fatalities.
The White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) Tanzania has been dedicated to advocating for better maternal health for years. When they discovered that even experts find it impossible to determine how much districts in Tanzania spend on maternal health, they started a campaign targeting key players in the budgetary process. The campaign aimed to win greater transparency of maternal health spending and to get the government to uphold its commitment to provide emergency obstetric health procedures in half of all local health centers.
A number of important lessons emerge from WRA Tanzania’s campaign: the need to aim for achievable and measurable targets gleaned from broad public commitments; the usefulness of marshaling evidence; and the strengths of planning a multi-level campaign through power analysis. But the case study offers warnings too – notably the importance of critically evaluating how promises can be feasibly implemented given the requirements and restrictions imposed by the budgetary process itself.
In this video three IBP partners share their compelling stories of how they used budget analysis and monitoring to improve government spending and policies to help the poorest and most marginalized people in their country.