Monitoring and Influencing the Central Budget by Civic Empowerment
The project aimed to enhance the capacity of civil society organizations at local level to influence the government budget and expenditure process, with particular emphasis on the social sector. The initiative took place in a governance environment where there is no tradition of using the budget as a means of holding the government accountable, at national or local levels, even in the Parliament. This project represents one component of the grantee’s broader effort to draw public and media attention to the importance of budget-making, while building the capacity of civil society to engage with government on budget matters, thus enhancing public accountability.
The emphasis on the budget for the social sector was particularly relevant as a step towards drawing attention to, and seeking to improve, the situation of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. Increasingly, the responsibility for administration of the social sector budget, including health and education, as well as social protection, rests with the municipalities. The selection of the Urban Councils and Women’s Assemblies as the focus for strengthening the role of civil society in monitoring the performance of municipal government was a relevant and appropriate choice, given the project objectives.