- On March 28, 2018
From March 7th to 9th, SEND GHANA organized a budget analysis and advocacy training workshop for the SEND team and staff from 6 other civil society organizations. The workshop was funded by Oxfam in Ghana.
This training aimed to equip participants with knowledge about the budgetary system both on a district and national scale. By providing them with tools to perform basic analysis of allocation and expenditure, the workshop gave attendees the opportunity to potentially influence the budget process itself. Over three days, 15 participants engaged in exercises to understand budget terminologies and documents, carry out calculation and analysis of key budget components, and apply methodologies to monitor budget implementation. Through group work and discussions, workshop participants were able to identify real life problems within various sectors such as education, and directly linked those issues back to the budget process to develop a prospective solution.
Reflecting back on the training, SEND GHANA’s workshop co-facilitator, Bashiru Jumah, expressed that because each individual had experience in the field, the level of participation in discourse was very high. He explained that although SEND has long been advocating for resource allocation to poor communities, a few years ago the organization realized there was a gap in their work stemming from limited knowledge of budget processes. Ever since then, SEND has focused on educating staff on budget monitoring and analysis in order to enrich their advocacy for pro-poor budget. He emphasized that the workshop was directly in line with SEND GHANA’s strategic objective to ‘make the budget work for equity’. “Whether you are on a project in education, whether you are on a project in health, agriculture, you need to have some knowledge about budget process, and then you should be able to have some skills to carry out budget analysis,” Jumah asserted. “You cannot be pushing for policy reform or proper interventions without paying attention to how the budget is prepared, who decides what goes on the agenda, how much money is to be made available, when the money is released, how it is supervised, or if it reaches the intended beneficiaries.”
Many training attendees had never participated in a similar workshop. Both Joseph Azam and Fred Nsenyani, of SEND GHANA and the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition respectively, conveyed that while they had previously been part of a budget tracking team, they personally were not as involved due to their lack of knowledge on the subject. “Having participated in this workshop, I think next time when I’m with the team, I will not only calculate figures, but will be able to also make informed suggestions and help to analyze to put out a very good report,” said Azam.
In an effort to continue the momentum gathered over these three days, the budget tracking and analysis training workshop ended with an action plan, enabling participants to put their new knowledge and skills into practice. Head facilitator Harriet N. Agyemang of SEND GHANA closed the workshop by urging participants to continue practicing their new skills, a sentiment that was echoed by all workshop attendees. “I want to encourage you. You have all the documents. You perfect this act through practice. So please make time; try your hands on these budget documents to perfect the skill, and then you can analyze the budget as often as you want.”
By Marina Cummiskey
28 March 2018