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Elena Mondo, Senior Technical Advisor, Open Budget Initiative

 

Since the beginning, collaboration has been central to how IBP carries out its mission of advancing public budget systems that work for people. The continued success of our flagship Open Budget Survey, which is produced every two years with researchers across 120 countries, has allowed us to forge ever stronger ties with and build the field of practitioners who are promoting more transparent, inclusive, and accountable budgets. As a partner from Senegal recently highlighted, the survey is a critical roadmap that guides advocates on what kinds of budget documents they should be asking for from their governments to hold them accountable and seek reforms in any sector from education to healthcare.   

We are excited to deepen the spirit of collaboration and the building of budget advocacy skills in our Collaborating for Open and Accountable Budgets (COAB) project. This initiative seeks to enhance our connections with civil society groups across 23 countries that have more limited familiarity with budget processes. We are engaging a broader set of civil society groups—beyond our traditional partners—and training them to provide a baseline level of budget knowledge so that they can incorporate budget analysis and advocacy into their work and join our call for budget openness. For groups that are new to budget work, the learning curve is steep, but we are already seeing exciting results—from youth driven calls for accountability around vaccines in Nepal to The Gambia where civil society is ensuring government follows through on audit recommendations. 

We are excited to see what the future holds as we continue to both broaden and deepen the field of budget advocacy. We look forward to sharing more learnings and success stories from this project.

We know that when citizens participate and inform budget decisions, policies reflect their needs and services improve. Our Strengthening Public Accountability for Results and Knowledge (SPARK) program flips traditional budget advocacy on its head by going straight to grassroots movements to understand the everyday problems their communities face around services like healthcare or access to sanitation facilities. We work hand-in-hand with them to uncover the fiscal governance problems underlying those service gaps and to shift the balance of power and incentives to drive change.

This bottom-up approach is paying off—3.8 million people have better access to services in the seven countries where we are doing this, governments have allocated $290 million in new monies to improve the services these movements are targeting, and movements are finally seeing progress on their agendas. Check out six stories below of how our grassroots partners are transforming their communities and building power through budget advocacy. Let us know what you think about this approach by tweeting your thoughts to @OpenBudgets or e-mail us info@internationalbudget.org.

In this section, we shine a spotlight on partners who are using budget advocacy to bring transformational change to their communities. This month, we talk with Jeanette Calder, Executive Director of Jamaica Accountability Meter Portal (JAMP). Jamaica is one of 23 countries where we are seeking to build the field of budget advocates through our Collaborating for Open and Accountable Budgets program, funded by the European Commission. Read the full interview.

  • The missing link: Indonesian fishers fill the gap to simplify the subsidized fuel program – This blog post shares the work of IBP Indonesia and grassroots partners working with government institutions and auditors to help small-scale fisherfolk access subsidized fuel. 
  • The latest update from Asivikelane identifies what South African municipalities should focus on to improve basic services in informal settlements after the upcoming municipal elections—safe sanitation and water, repairs and maintenance of taps and toilets, and cleaning and draining of toilets. 
  • Can women farmers survive the odds? – The International Centre for Investigative Reporting has been reporting on the difficulties of smallholder women farmers in communities across Nigeria. In this video documentary, hear directly from these women farmers about their struggles as a result of climate change and COVID-19 and how IBP partner SWOFON is helping them to call on government to provide assistance. 
  • On September 30, IBP and Gambia Participates co-hosted a virtual event on how we can foster open and inclusive budgets in times of crisis and beyond as part of the IMF/World Bank Civil Society Policy Forum. The recording of this event is now available in EnglishFrenchSpanish, and Arabic

  • The Addis Tax Initiative is co-organizing the 9th International Domestic Revenue Mobilization (DRM) Workshop from November 9-11. This year’s workshop will explore the relevance of tax expenditures for DRM. Find more information here and register for the event

  • The 5th Meeting of the Montreux Collaborative on Fiscal Space, Public Financial Management and Health Financing will take place 15-19 November. IBP’s Sally Torbert will participate in a panel on health budget execution system performance on Wednesday November 17. Register here

  • The Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) and IBP are organizing a virtual session on Fiscal Openness on November 18 at 10:00am EDT as part of the 2021 OGP Academy: The Case for Open Government. The session will present a comprehensive review of recent evidence on the impacts of fiscal openness and feature ideas for future research.

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