Where We Work

At the International Budget Partnership (IBP), we believe strengthening citizens’ abilities to understand and participate in their government’s budget processes results in better policies and outcomes that can reduce poverty and ignite citizen activism.

Over the course of two decades, we’ve learned many important lessons, but three in particular have influenced our evolving strategy:

  1. Budget analysis and advocacy performed by professional NGOs is important but must be combined with collective citizen action and engagement, particularly in marginalized communities.
  2. To attract citizens budget work must align with their priorities and promise real improvements in their lives.
  3. Budget work is highly dependent on individual country context and we must tailor our strategic approach to fit each one.

These lessons have led us to a bold new approach to budget advocacy: SPARK (Strengthening Public Accountability for Results and Knowledge) – an ambitious and innovative global program to arm marginalized groups and activists with the tools necessary to engage in budget processes and affect transformational change in their lives.

The goal of SPARK is to leverage citizen action and democratize budget processes to improve public service delivery. SPARK builds the budget knowledge and skills of marginalized groups and movements by linking them with budget organizations in order to expose fiscal causes and build effective budget advocacy.

IBP is flipping budget advocacy on its head by first connecting with and understanding the everyday problems that people are experiencing across the globe – obstacles such as lack of healthcare, nonexistent or inadequate sanitation facilities and an inability to access social programs. From there, our goal is to help citizens understand the role budgets can play in uncovering and addressing the service delivery gaps and empower them to achieve change.The result is a budget program working on real issues in real-time for real people.

SPARK’s multi-faceted support includes strategic partnership, coalition-building, budget literacy and brokering relationships with governments.

Achieving open and democratic budget processes that address the needs of marginalized groups requires powerful citizen action to shift political will. To do this, we have to partner with citizen-led groups to engage meaningfully with budgets processes and generate the political pressure required to shift inequitable fiscal practices in the direction of justice and equality.

SPARK is currently operating in seven countries: Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa. IBP’s role varies in each specific context but always includes a mix of financial and technical assistance and peer engagement, supplemented by additional research and advocacy support to catalyze sustainable change.

The SPARK model includes working across five key components within a country’s context to:

  1. Strengthen our partners’ capacity to engage in fiscal governance. IBP will identify and engage with existing organizations of marginalized actors to support their efforts through coalition building, training and more.
  2. Support and create reform coalitions. IBP and partners will join existing coalitions or broker new ones that are aligned with SPARK objectives.
  3. Accountability ecosystem. IBP and partners will explore opportunities to leverage accountability actors and mechanisms, including Supreme Audit Institutions, media, parliament, etc. in order to complement citizen collective action.
  4. Enhance participation opportunities and information disclosure in the fiscal system. IBP and partners will negotiate and support government actors to improve mechanisms for citizen participation and the dissemination of information that enables citizens to engage in budget processes and service delivery.
  5. Change Norms and Ideas. IBP and partners will contribute to shifting narratives and ideas around citizen access to budget processes and priorities.

 Given the new approach of SPARK, along with the critical challenges we’re taking on, learning will be a key factor in the success of our work. To ensure we maximize our learnings, IBP has formed a partnership with the Institute of Development Studies and Accountability Research called Learning with SPARK (LwS). The partnership will embed researchers in each SPARK country to generate insights, ask questions and facilitate regular reflection. LwS also brings together experts from the fields of accountability, civic participation, service delivery and public finance to help distill lessons for the SPARK program and the broader field.

Our Work

At the heart of SPARK are the marginalized citizens most affected by inequities in budget processes and service delivery gaps. These citizens, and the activist groups they’ve formed, are the focus of our capacity building and strengthening efforts. Without our partners, the critical work that will improve lives will not happen, and it’s our goal to help them work in a different way.

While SPARK partners differ in each context, all of them are powerful activist groups with the ability and will to affect transformation change in the lives of citizens.

See below for a snapshot of our work in each SPARK country:

Sector Entry Point Partners
Agriculture IBP is supporting efforts to increase rice farmers’ access to subsidized fertilizers and ensure that subsidy programs are honored by all levels of government. Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG)
Mining Communities IBP is working with civil society to improve mining communities’ access to benefits and protections that are guaranteed by law. Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM)

 

Sector Entry Point Partners
Water and sanitation IBP is supporting manual scavengers to access retraining and transition benefits. Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA); Center for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA)

 

Health IBP is working with civil society to address pervasive malnutrition in tribal communities, specifically among pregnant and lactating women. Support for Advocacy and Training to Health Initiatives (SATHI);

CBGA

Education IBP is supporting Dalit and tribal students (who are among the most disadvantaged socio-economic communities in the country) to access scholarship entitlements for higher education. National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR)
Sector Entry Point Partners
Fishing Communities IBP is focusing on increasing access to subsidized fuel needed for increased production for small and traditional fisherfolk. Kesatuan Nelayan Tradisional Indonesia (KNTI);

Inisiatif

Social Assistance Programs IBP is supporting efforts to increase access to social benefits and assistance for the urban poor in Jakarta. Serikat Perjuangan Rakyat Indonesia (SPRI);

Inisiatif; FITRA

Sector Entry Point  Partners
Health IBP is working with CEDC to engage in evidence-based budget advocacy to improve primary health care services. Community Empowerment and Development Center (CEDC)
Water and Sanitation IBP is working with CEDGG to build community capacity to advocate for improvements in water services for ethnic minorities in Baringo County. Centre for Enhancing Democracy and Good Governance (CEDGG)
Sector Entry Point Partners
Health IBP is working with a faith-based community network to improve quality of and access to primary health care services. Justice Peace and Development Commission (JDPC) in Nnewi, Ibadan, and Ijebu-Ode; BudgIT, Centre LSD
Agriculture IBP is supporting small-scale women farmers to improve the quantity and quality of agricultural inputs and support services. Small-Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON); Centre for Social Justice
Sector Entry Point Partners
Water and Sanitation IBP is working with Urbasen to improve sanitation services in informal settlements. Urbansen; ONG3D
Social Assistance Programs IBP is supporting FSAPH, a federation of disability organizations, to improve access to benefits and social protections including healthcare for people with disabilities Federation Senegalaise des Associations de Personnes Handicapees du Senegal (FSAPH); OSIDEA
Sector Entry Point Partners
Water and sanitation IBP and its partners are working to improve delivery of sanitation services in informal settlement communities in metropolitan municipalities. Planact, Community Organization Resource Center (CORC), and Afesis-corplan