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.
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.
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)
January 2016 | by International Budget Partnership Kenya
Part of a series on how to read and use Kenya’s key national and county budget documents, this guide examines the Budget Review and Outlook Paper (BROP), a document that must be produced by both national and county governments every year, using Kenya’s 2015 National Budget Review and Outlook Paper as an example.
The guide is meant to be read alongside Kenya’s 2015 National Budget Review and Outlook Paper, available for download here. The 2015 BROP was released in November 2015 and reviews the performance of Kenya’s 2014/15 financial year, which ended on 30 June 2015.
- How to Read and Use Kenya’s Budget Review and Outlook Paper (IBP Guide, January 2016)
- 2015 Kenya National Budget Review and Outlook Paper
- IBP Kenya’s annual analysis of the National Budget Review and Outlook Paper (IBP Paper)
- Kenya: Analysis of Budget Policy Statement 2016 (IBP Paper, February 2016)
- Kenya: How to Read and Use a Budget Policy Statement and a County Fiscal Strategy Paper (IBP Guide, February 2016)