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Beyond Data: A Panorama of CSO Experiences with PRSP and HIPC Monitoring

This paper examines civil society organizations’ (CSOs) experiences monitoring Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers and Highly Indebted Poor Country expenditures in several countries, including Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, Uganda, and Zambia. It provides detailed descriptions of CSOs monitoring structures and evaluates the ability of CSOs to monitor effectively. The study concludes that limited access to data, a lack of skilled human resources, and a lack of political will constitute major challenges to the deepening and expanding of CSOs monitoring activities. It also argues that CSOs monitoring is valuable for reasons beyond its effects on fund management, including its contributions to community empowerment and the decentralization of power.

The Hidden Corners of Public Finance: A Synthesis of Country Case Studies that Look Beyond the Core Budget

This report gives an overview of eight case studies commissioned by the International Budget Partnership that examine public spending that can occur outside of the core budget. This includes certain categories of government activity that may be carried out by state-owned enterprises (SOEs), for example in the form of quasi-fiscal activities (QFAs), or financed through extra-budgetary funds (EBFs) or tax expenditures (TEs). The case studies focus on these four topics in different countries. The full synthesis paper and case studies are available below.

 

Ukraine: Combating Corruption Disguised as Charity

Ukraine: Combating Corruption Disguised as Charity

October 2016 | by Iryna Postolovska, Harvard School of Public Health

Combating Corruption in Ukraine Case Study International Budget PartnershipCorruption takes many forms and guises, some seemingly innocuous. When governments fail to provide enough resources to deliver quality healthcare, can’t charitable contributions help cover the gap? However, when charitable contributions are made to seem like requirements to receive services, and when the funds involved are opaque and unaccountable, there is cause for suspicion.

This case study describes how health advocates in the Ukrainian city of Poltava created the Institute of Analysis and Advocacy (IAA) to take on entrenched corruption in the provision of local healthcare. IAA’s campaign targeted different levels of government and links in the service delivery chain, from individual hospitals to the national legislature. Reformers undertook a variety of complementary tactics to uncover and document corruption, lobby for change, and address the root causes of corruption in the healthcare system. All of this took place against a backdrop of the toppling of a corrupt regime during Ukraine’s Euromaidan Revolution in 2014.

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Ukraine: Light of Hope’s Work Improving Social Services For Marginalized Groups

Ukraine: Light of Hope’s Work Improving Social Services For Marginalized Groups

October 2016 | by Sergii Slukhai, Professor of Economics at Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University, Ukraine

case-study-ukraine-social-servicesLight of Hope was founded in 1999 as a charity association with the mission of helping people living with HIV/AIDS in the Ukrainian city of Poltava and the surrounding region. Over time its mission, and the range of services it has provided, has expanded to encompass other marginalized groups. The organization began to work with people struggling with substance abuse and then former inmates. Light of Hope eventually became one of Ukraine’s largest and most successful non-state service delivery organizations.

In 2011 it embarked on a pioneering campaign to collaborate with the city government of Poltava. This case study examines the Light of Hope’s efforts to establish the Poltava Social Adaptation Center, which received unprecedented fiscal support from the local government. It documents how Light of Hope managed to successfully establish a facility to deliver a complex array of services to ex-prisoners, drug users, people who are HIV-positive, and the homeless. Light of Hope was able to garner an unprecedented level of support from the city government for the center, including funding from the city budget. In the process, the organization also challenged the stigma surrounding marginalized groups.

This case study provides useful lessons for service delivery organizations seeking a wider strategy for winning social change.

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Honduras: The Fragility of Gains in Budget Transparency

Honduras: The Fragility of Gains in Budget Transparency

October 2016 | by Hugo Noe Pino and Brendan Halloran

Honduras: The Fragility of Gains in Budget Transparency

Honduras once stood out as example of how rapidly improvements in budget transparency could be made. In 2012 IBP praised the country for the exceptional gains it made on the Open Budget Index (OBI), when its score jumped from 11 in 2008 to 53 in 2012. Yet just a year later, amidst a period of troubled politics, the county suffered a series of setbacks that led to a tightening of the executive’s grip on the budgetary process and to freedom of information being restricted. This was reflected in its OBI score in 2015, which fell to 42.

In hindsight it seems likely that Honduras’ initial gains on the OBI were related to the need for the then government to shore up its international reputation and credibility following a military coup that ousted a democratically-elected president. This case study examines the background to the rise and fall of budget transparency in Honduras. It presents a cautionary tale about the dangers of “open washing,” and about political manipulation disguised as a window of opportunity.

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