Initiatives

Strengthening Public Accountability for Results and Knowledge

Our Strengthening Public Accountability for Results and Knowledge (SPARK) program flips traditional public finance management work on its head by putting underserved communities at the center of budget advocacy.
Nilawati, an Indonesian fisherwoman and member of The Indonesian Traditional Fishers' Union (KNTI), trains women in her community about budget credibility advocacy.

Women Leaders in
Grassroots Movements

About SPARK

In 2018, we piloted a new approach in seven countries to equip grassroots communities with the skills to gain influence over budgets. This effort focused on Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa. In five years, we have proven that a bottom-up model works. We can tangibly improve the lives of underserved communities and these communities can lead effective, powerful coalitions capable of shifting government incentives and service delivery practices.

We started by talking to underserved communities first, because they know best what services are failing them and what they need to thrive. We then built powerful coalitions of budget analysts, reform allies in and out of government, oversight actors and the media to improve the services they identified as priorities. We pursued five strategies.
  1. We helped partners strengthen their ability to represent their communities’ needs. Using social audits and other budget analysis, we helped them collect community data to show government officials the extent of the service delivery gaps they were facing and to articulate compelling arguments to get these issues addressed.
  2. We fostered broad reform coalitions united by mutual interests and complementary skills and networks. Coalition allies have helped to open doors and provide insights on the barriers officials face, and how best to navigate their limitations and incentives to drive change.
  3. We brokered partnerships with accountability actors—such as auditors, legislators, and others—that shared our commitment to improve public spending.
  4. We opened the doors to decision-making spaces where our grassroots partners could meaningfully inform budget decisions that impact their communities.
  5. We shaped narratives and leveraged partnerships with the media to make the case for better services and apply sustained pressure for the government to respond.
Nigerian and Ghanaian women farmers are getting the right tools, seed and fertilizer to increase food production. Informal settlement residents in South Africa and Senegal have cleaner and safer sanitation facilities. Indonesian fisherfolk are securing a greater share of subsidized fuel to improve their livelihoods. Most importantly, our partners have a seat at the table influencing services for their communities and making governments more responsive to their insights.  Governments now see our partners as influential players in informing fiscal policies for underserved communities, which will allow them to keep building power over resources long-term.
As we deepen our impacts in four focus countries (Indonesia, Nigeria Senegal and South Africa), we will pivot our approach in three important ways:
  1. Putting greater focus on bottlenecks in how public finances are managed to ensure service delivery reforms stick, including collaborating with government at multiple levels to ensure fiscal systems are more equitable longer-term.
  2. Integrating an intersectional gender lens by prioritizing partnership with women-led chapters of partners and having a sharper focus on maternal health, gender-sensitive sanitation services and other sectors they see as priorities. We will seek to understand and engage with the power dynamics that perpetuate the systematic exclusion of women and marginalized people.
  3. Deepening our partnership model by ensuring that partners are central to both strategy and implementation planning and fully integrated into learning.
Key Impacts
9m
people now have access to new or improved services
37
policy changes have been secured by our reform campaigns
$352m
in increased allocations secured across 7 countries
68
spaces were convened in which citizens informed and shaped budget decisions in 2021
Where we work in this area
Members of the fisherfolk group KNTI at a rally where government members and fisherfolk came together to discuss budget credibility issues facing fisherfolk.

Indonesia

In Indonesia, we fostered powerful coalitions to support the national fisherfolk union and a grassroots organization representing the urban poor to demand accountable delivery of services. Together we have improved access to fuel subsidies for fisherfolk and cash assistance for urban poor households respectively.
The Smallholder Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON) joined forces with IBP in 2018 to marry budget analysis expertise with organizational strength to improve the lives of women farmers.

Nigeria

In Nigeria, we fostered powerful coalitions to support a nationwide movement of women farmers and community health advocates to demand accountable delivery of services.
Astou Mbengue, lead data collector for the Senegalese Federation of Inhabitants (FSH), is working to improve living conditions in informal settlements.

Senegal

In Senegal, we work with social movements and coalitions of excluded communities to demand improved services for sanitation, flood-response, climate change and primary healthcare.

South Africa

In South Africa, we fostered a powerful coalition of a dozen organizations that are part of the Asivikelane initiative, which has participants from over 500 informal settlements across 10 municipalities.
kenyan-youth

Kenya

In Kenya, we spent the past decade supporting civil society actors to arm themselves with budget knowledge, and advocate for equitable and better-quality services.
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), with IBP's help, ensured that 90,000 students benefitted from scholarships in FY2021-22.

India

IBP has partnered and supported budget advocacy in India for more than 15 years. From 2018-2022, we fostered powerful coalitions to improve access to critical government programs meant for Dalit and Adivasi communities.
Janet Atimoliga, a rice farmer, poses on her farm as she is assisted by women from her local farmer group, Korania Wedamdaga Women's Cooperative, to transplant and apply fertilizer to rice seedlings. Navrongo, Upper East-Ghana. Photo by Francis Kokoroko for International Budget Partnership © 2022.

Ghana

In Ghana, we fostered powerful coalitions from 2018-2022 to support a nationwide peasant farmers association and communities affected by mining to demand accountable delivery of services.
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