Budgeting for Decent Sanitation in South African Townships

by Dustin Kramer, former Deputy Secretary General, Social Justice Coalition, Cape Town— Jul 20, 2017

For the past two years, the Social Justice Coalition (SJC), a social movement based in Cape Town, South Africa, has used budget analysis and advocacy as a tool to campaign for decent sanitation in informal settlements. IBP worked with SJC to undertake research and analysis of Cape Town’s municipal budget in support of the broader advocacy campaign. Initial research uncovered extremely low spending — less than 2 percent of the water and sanitation capital budget was going to informal settlements, even though informal households make up over 20 percent of the city’s population. Faced with this injustice, SJC began to view the budget process as a set of political moments and institutional processes through which the campaign could move.

The Social Justice Coalition Cape Town Sanitation Campaign

Making Kenya’s Newly Opened Budgets Work

Brendan Halloran, Senior Fellow, Strategy and Learning, International Budget Partnership— Jul 11, 2017

In Kenya, IBP and its partners seek to support inclusive engagement in the budget process. Yet outcomes have been mixed. This has forced civil society advocacy groups to learn and adapt their approaches, sometimes after investing significant time and effort in a seemingly promising avenue of engagement. Such is the case with the work of Kerio Center and the Uasin Gishu Disability Forum to ensure resources in the Uasin Gishu county budget for persons living with disabilities.

Uasin Gishu PWDS Forum

Protecting Fiscal Space in Modi’s India

by Nikhil Dey, Social Activist, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS)— Jul 06, 2017

When fighting for equity and social justice — or good governance and accountability — politics matters. When the political environment shifts, one step forward can quickly turn into two steps back without vigilance and an eye open for opportunities. In India, the government’s attacks on social programs brought many CSOs and social movements together to fight to preserve the progressive policies that they had helped establish. This essay from IBP’s 2016 Annual Report details how sophisticated mass-based protests, bolstered by sharp analysis by independent budget experts, helped protect the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

protecting fiscal space in India

Making the Most of the Budget Cycle: The Budget Approval Phase

By Jay Colburn, International Budget Partnership— Jun 20, 2017

The budget approval, or enactment, phase of the budget cycle is when the Executive’s Budget Proposal is submitted to the legislature, where the members may then debate, alter, and approve the final budget. Frequently, it is at this point that the key issues in the debate over the budget are established. Because this process culminates in the enactment of the final budget law, this is often the point when media attention is greatest, offering CSOs valuable opportunities to advocate for their issues.

Lawmakers meet during a parliament session in Ghana

Opening Budgets to Fight Climate Change

Delaine McCullough, Communications Manager, International Budget Partnership— Jun 13, 2017

Estimates of the funds that must be mobilized globally for an adequate response to climate change amount to hundreds of billions of dollars per year. Although funds will be coming from both international and domestic private and public sources, much of the climate change efforts will be managed by national and subnational governments through their domestic budgeting systems. To ensure that the scarce resources invested in climate-related activities are spent most effectively and reach the intended beneficiaries — the people and communities most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change — with minimum leakages, transparency and accountability will be essential.

Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) Damage and Rehabilitation in the Philippines

From Strategy to Rules of Thumb: How IBP South Africa Makes Strategy-Aligned Decisions in the Field

By Albert van Zyl, South Africa Country Manager, International Budget Partnership— Jun 08, 2017

Most people within organizations find strategic planning, theories of change, and log frames to be a pain. Not only because formulating them is hard work but also because we never implement them, at least not as intended in the heady aftermath of putting on paper what seems to be a clear step-by-step map to mission success. Why? Because the unpredictable, ever-changing world we work in refuses to comply with the plan. However, establishing rules for making strategy-aligned decisions in the field can help you stay on course.

Make Strategic Decisions In the Field

PesaCheck: Reflections on Budget Fact-Checking in the Kenyan Context

by Leo Mutuku, PesaCheck— Jun 01, 2017

When budget stories make the news, fact checking is crucial. Now more than ever, individuals and intermediary organizations need to cultivate a culture of fact-checking given that misinformation is rife with changing global socio-political dynamics. What have we learned from Kenya’s PesaCheck initiative? And how can these lessons guide civil society organizations interested in running similar fact-checking initiatives?

pesacheck fact checking made simple

Exposing Wrongs With the Right to Information: Freedom Forum’s Work With the Media in Nepal

by Ryan Flynn for the International Budget Partnership— Apr 19, 2017

When Freedom Forum, a civil society organization based in Nepal, decided to use the country’s Right to Information (RTI) laws to investigate special funds allocated to parliamentarians, they uncovered a vast array of wasteful projects. Such nebulous spending was being channeled through Nepal’s Constituency Development Funds (CDFs), mechanisms for allocating money from the national coffers for parliamentarians to spend in their local constituencies. Using Nepal’s Right to Information law to investigate CDFs, Freedom Forum painstakingly traced how money was being spent and projects were supposed to be administered. They then worked with investigative journalists to piece together a series of exposés revealing the misuse of public money.

Overseeing Budget Sustainability: A New Tool for Watchdogs

by Daniel Baksa, David Mihalyi, and Balazs Romhanyi— Mar 28, 2017

When optimism fuels public spending and earnings fail to materialize, a country can quickly find itself in fiscal crisis. Civil society has a crucial role to play in ensuring government policies are sustainable, yet interrogating the assumptions underlying budget decisions can be dauntingly complex. For this reason the Natural Resource Government Institute and the Fiscal Responsibility Institute Budapest have developed a tool to help potential watchdogs grapple with these complexities.

Bridging Political Polarization: Pension Reform in El Salvador

By Rocio Campos, International Budget Partnership— Mar 09, 2017

Building consensus and using evidence to influence policy can be particularly challenging in contexts where political polarization has become entrenched. This was the scenario in El Salvador in 2014, when IBP started working with a diverse group of civil society organizations to influence the debate on pension reform. Tactics included producing evidence for decision makers and working to socialize basic facts about the reform with the wider public.

Pension Reform in El Salvador