The Thematic Budget is a tool that gives citizens, communities and other organizations more insight in budgeting processes and the spending of money. The methodology engenders a dialogue between organizations and the authorities, and among citizens, about priorities, needs and the handling of problems. The Thematic Budget is one of many initiatives of budget monitoring developed by Inesc and is based on Budget and Rights Methodology. The advantage of this tool is to monitor the public budget from right holders perspective, considering the intersection of policies that impacts people’s lives, using analysis to enrich the transparency and promote social participation.
The test case Thematic Budget (TB) aims to apply Inesc’s methodologies on budget monitoring in Brazil, Uganda and The Netherlands, respecting the cultural and political diversity but also the common need to improve transparency and democracy. To achieve this ambitious goal, Inesc counts with the partnership of Cew-it Uganda and Movisie/NL, and also other partners as LSB Woners/NL and ‘Our Brasília Movement’/BR.
The Thematic Budget is one of many initiatives of budget monitoring developed by Inesc and is based on Budget and Rights Methodology. The advantage of this tool is to monitor the public budget from right holders perspective, considering the intersection of policies that impacts people’s lives, using analysis to enrich the transparency and promote social participation.
At the end of this project each country will have a TB about Education, Urban Mobility and Social Care, respectively elaborated by Uganda, Brazil, and The Netherlands. The results will be used to inform right holders and society about budget realities, and used to advocacy with governments.
*Currently, Inesc is already developing 4 Thematic Budgets using the open data of Brazil’s National Government: Food Security, Childhood and Adolescents, Racial Equality and Socioenvironmental.
The project consists in apply the Thematic Budget tool in three countries: Brazil is tracking Urban Mobility budget in Brasília, the capital of Brazil. The Netherlands choose to work with Social Care in Emmenhout; and Uganda is engage in construct the Education TB monitoring schools in Rwenzori and Acholi regions.
The project started with a Workshop in Brazil, where members of 3 organizations could know better the B&R Methodology and TB Tool. Also, was an opportunity to discuss the democracy among these 3 different contexts – the advances and setbacks – and to cultural exchanges. The result was a “budget map” of the policies and rights that the organizations choose to monitor; and a ‘step by step planning’, including media strategy and MEL.
After that, using a customize guidelines prepared by Inesc, partners started the searches about budget using on line data or hard copies information, and discussing the information with right holders and civil servants.
Now it is time to develop advocacy strategies with government related to human rights, the real measurable results and impacts of budget in beneficiaries’ lives, the effectiveness and accountability of policies, and also debate the improvement of transparency, including the access for citizens and availability of open data. The media strategy has to support this moment and the Thematic Budgets extensiveness disseminate to all society.
The Thematic Budget consists in a way to track and analyse the budget that part from right holders (‘subjects of rights’) and thematic agendas, looking forward a specific government agency or a strict policy. Is grounded in 5 Pillars of Budget and Rights Methodology:
- State funding with social justice;
- Maximum resources available to promote human rights, in view of the restrictions imposed by economic policy;
- Progressive realization of human rights, analysing the extent to which government programs and actions are realizing rights;
- Non-discrimination, analysing to what extent the public budget fights or ignores discrimination or inequality in society;
- Social participation, analysing to what extent participation contributes to realizing rights. Inesc has been applying this methodology at national, sub-national and local level, using different strategies and approaches.
First step: Reflecting about “human rights” and “budget” - Discuss with staff responsible to implementation of project the B&R methodology, and how apply that in the local reality/track budget.
Second step: Choosing a “theme” and identifying the right holders (‘subjects of rights’) - Identify within the organization mission and the human rights local context what is the target group that has urgency to have their rights guaranteed.
Third step: Reflecting about the intersection of policies at a specific agenda - In general the rights are impacted by many policies that are implemented by different agencies. So it is important to understand that connections.
Fourth step: Reflecting about how the national budget impacts the local budget - There is a relation between national policies and budget that impacts local level, including grants that are transferred by one level to another. It is important to understand that.
Fifth step: Reflecting how the policy is materialized at local level - Budget means services, programs, benefits, infrastructure works, civil servant salaries, etc. It is important to identify what kind of outputs is previewed in policies tracked.
Sixth step: Discussing the availability of information - Is necessary to identify and register how the information about budget is available (digital platform, hard copies, if is it complete, or not, etc.) and if is really accessible by citizens.
Seventh step: Discussing the information with target groups - After search and organize the budget data, it is necessary to discuss the information with target groups. Inesc oriented partners to use popular education/methodologies.
Eight step: Media strategy and advocacy - The goal of TB is to be an instrument to press government for adopt transparent procedures and provoke the empowerment of citizens through budget information. So is very important to disseminate the information to many people as possible – using media – and create a space of debate about finding with government.
* It is important to highlight that the one of results of this test case is improve the method based on the local/global applying experience. After the end of the project, Inesc will publish the adapted tool.
The Institute for Socioeconomic Studies – Inesc, is a public-purpose, non-partisan, democratic and pluralist non-profit organization. Its mission is to "Contribute toward improving representative and participatory democracy with the aim of ensuring human rights, by fostering links in civil society and strengthening it to influence domestic and international governance spaces."
Movisie is the Netherlands centre for social development. Our mission is to promote the participation and independence of citizens by supporting and advising professional organizations, volunteer organizations and government institutions. Five themes are central to Movisie's work: effectiveness; professionalisation; participation; combating and preventing domestic and sexual violence; social care. Movisie is a member of several international networks in the field of social development a.o. the International Council on Social Welfare.
Is a consortium of 6 NGOs in Uganda who have been involved in Democratic processes, Social Accountability, Human Rights, Good governance and Livelihoods. In 2013 CEWIT joined the emotive family and been active since then.
Our Brasilia Movement
Our Brasilia Movement is a civil society movement that integrates people in different dialogue, initiatives, networks, organizations and companies who share the same purpose: sustainable Federal District, fair, democratic, and good to live. It is a political participation space, but not linked to parties and governments in order to exercise their important role in social observatory autonomously.
The Landelijk Samenwerkingsverband Actieve bewoners (LSA) is a Dutch national platform in which residents join hands to make sure the quality of life in their community changes for the better. The association consists of one platform with over 70 grassroot-organisations, one board and one secretariat.
Phone number: +2567 8202 0735
Thijs van Mierlo
Our Brasilia Movement
Phone number: +55 (61) 3212-0200