This case study looks at how Hakikazi Catalyst in Tanzania implemented a variation of the “citizen report card” to assess the impact of government spending. Hakikazi developed PIMA cards (pima means “measure” in Swahili) to provide a simple, flexible evaluation tool that enables communities to gather qualitative and quantitative information on inputs (what funds did the community receive?), outputs (how were the funds used?), and outcomes (how did the projects affect the community?) of government expenditures on poverty-reduction strategies.
Excerpted from the book National Values and Principles of the Constitution, this chapter discusses two of the core values of the Kenya public finance system: public engagement and equity in distribution of resources.
November 2016 | By Jason Lakin, Ph. D, IBP Kenya
In order to determine budget allocations for sectors such as health, education, and infrastructure, the Kenyan government is meant to consider the views of the general public. In reality, however, there has been relatively little discussion with the public about sector priorities. To get better a sense of public opinion, IBP Kenya sponsored a national survey asking citizens from across Kenya’s 47 counties what they thought the sector distribution of the national budget should be, and what they believed the actual allocation to be.
Four key points emerged from comparing the government’s current sector priorities with the public’s:
- The public wants less investment in the energy and infrastructure sector than the government.
- At the same time, the public wants higher spending on health and agriculture than the government has proposed.
- The public wants more spending on the economic and commercial affairs sector, and less in the governance and public administration sector.
- The public would also give less to education and more to security, environment, and water and social protection.
In this paper, we offer different perspectives on how to interpret these results. While more research is needed, we believe the survey results suggest the public does have concerns about the government’s priorities, and their preferences should be given weight in the decision-making process.
- How Do Kenyans Prioritize at the Sector Level? Comparing Public and Government Preferences (November 2016)
- Attitudes of Kenyans to The National & County Budget Making Process: Comprehensive Survey Report
In August 2016, IBP Kenya worked with Infotrak Research & Consulting, a Kenyan survey research firm, to carry out a national survey of Kenyan attitudes on issues related to the national and county budget process. Part of the survey focused on sectors and sector preferences to find out which sectors are most important to Kenyans and how much they know about sector spending. To gather empirical evidence about Kenyan views on principles of equity, the survey also included a set of simple scenarios about sharing resources and questions designed to trigger views of fairness indirectly.
February 2016 | by Jason Lakin, Ph.D. and Mokeira Nyagaka
Over the past several years, Kenyans have engaged in a vibrant debate about the meaning of public participation in government decision-making, particularly with respect to the budget process. This debate has taken place amidst widespread disappointment with the quality of public participation as it is currently practiced at both national and county levels.
In this paper, the authors argue that the concept of public participation needs to be refined. They propose that the concept of public deliberation is more useful and, ultimately, offers more specific guidance for thinking about how the public engages with budgets. Drawing on the concept of deliberative democracy, the authors argue that it requires government to make proposals, justify those proposals, and create space for not just the proposals but the justifications to be debated. The proposals and justifications must be relevant and plausible, must be open to change, and must be based on broad concepts of public welfare, such as equity and fairness, and not reducible to self-interest.
The authors also investigate whether Kenya’s national and county budget documents produced since 2013 meet these standards and finds that in most cases they do not. Many of these documents are not readily available to the public, and those that are often lack basic descriptive information about the government’s proposals. Those that do have detailed descriptive information often lack relevant justifications for the decisions they contain. Where there has been an attempt to offer justifications for the decisions made, they are often too vague to actually explain these decisions.
The paper concludes by arguing that we should assess all government documents and government “participation” processes by the exacting standards of public deliberation, using existing laws to do so. The biggest impediment to public deliberation in Kenya today is not the absence of law, but the lack of sufficient demand from organized citizen groups for greater transparency and more serious deliberation in the budget process.
- Deliberating Budgets: How Public Deliberation Can Move Us Beyond the Public Participation Rhetoric (February 2016)
- Rethinking Citizen Engagement: From Participation to Deliberation (August 2016)
This pamphlet contrasts the current practice of public participation in Kenya with elements of the concept of public deliberation, looking at differences between a ward-level budget hearing using the current participation practice and one organized using a “deliberative practice.”
February 2016 | By Belal Fallah, Department of Economics and Financial Sciences, Palestine Polytechnic University
In much of the West Bank, particularly in areas such as Awarta and Nablus, there are rampant problems in the funding and delivery of government services and infrastructure projects. These problems range from general mismanagement of funds to outright corruption. In response, the Teacher Creativity Centre (TCC) launched a project to mobilize students to conduct social audits of public services. Integrity Action, a nonprofit organization registered in the United Kingdom, supported TCC through funding for the campaign activities, help in shaping the audit tools used by students, and by providing guidance on monitoring.
Over a period of four months, the TCC mobilized groups of students from 58 secondary schools, exposing a host of problems and advocating for their solutions. Some groups significantly improved infrastructure in their communities. Others were less successful — a lack of information and concerns about exposing too much undermined the potential of their work culminate in change.
This case study was commissioned by IBP’s Learning Program in cooperation with Integrity Action. It demonstrates the challenges and benefits of involving students in strategies for social accountability.
- Palestine: Teaching Active Citizenship Through Social Audits (Full Case Study, February 2016)
- Palestine: Teaching Active Citizenship Through Social Audits (Summary, February 2016)