Learning, Paper

You Cannot Go it Alone: Learning from Cooperative Relationships in Civil Society Budget Campaigns

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.

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