[Video conference] From Rhetoric to Action: E-Government and Aid Effectiveness

A videoconferenced workshop between Washington DC, Berlin and Paris
Date: 17th September 2008

Program Description

Increasing the impact of development aid is the core objective of the Paris Declaration, a document endorsed by more than 100 developing and donor countries and multilateral agencies in 2005. The 2008 “Evaluation of the implementation of the Paris Declaration” calls for faster progress from rhetoric to action by both partner governments and donors. In this context, this workshop organized jointly by GTZ and GICT/e-Development Thematic Group explores the connection between e-Government and aid effectiveness. The workshop will try to address two questions using inputs of practitioners from partner country governments and development organisations:

  • How can e-Government contribute to aid effectiveness?
  • How does the concern for aid effectiveness inform the way we invest in e-government?

Continue reading “[Video conference] From Rhetoric to Action: E-Government and Aid Effectiveness”

Making government budgets more accessible and equitable

(from ID21)

Involvement in the budget process in poor countries has traditionally been limited to a select group of political actors. But this has changed over the last decade with legislators, civil society groups and the media playing a more active role. What impact is broader engagement having?

Research from the Institute of Development Studies, UK, examines the substance and impact of applied budget work undertaken by civil society groups. The research draws on six case studies of independent budget work in Brazil, Croatia, India, Mexico, South Africa and Uganda. One focus of the research is how civil society budget work influences government budget priorities and spending in a way that benefits poor and socially excluded groups.

Budget work is carried out by various types of organisations including non-government organisations (NGOs), networks and social movements, and research organisations. All the groups examined in the case studies share a commitment to increasing the influence of poor and marginalised groups in the budget process and ensuring that budget priorities reflect the needs of these groups.

The six organisations all engage in certain core activities centred on data analysis and dissemination, advocacy and capacity building. Most work on national and state-level budgets, though several groups also work at the local government level.

The research shows that independent budget work has the potential to deepen democracy by strengthening accountability, fostering transparency and encouraging participation. It can also increase financial allocations in areas that contribute to social justice and equity outcomes and ensure that public money is efficiently spent.

The research also reveals the limits to budget work. Any increases in financial allocations secured as a result of advocacy initiatives are likely to represent a small share of overall government spending. Also, the scope of budget work to influence financial allocations depends on the openness and flexibility of the budget process (spending priorities may not be open to change).

The impacts of budget work identified by the research include:

  • improving the transparency of budget decisions and budget processes and increasing the accountability of state actors
  • increasing awareness and understanding of budget issues
  • improving budget allocations in a way that benefits poor and socially excluded groups
  • ensuring better use of spending, for example in areas such as health and education, and reducing corruption (by tracking expenditures)
  • diversifying the range of actors engaged in budget processes (for example, legislators, civil society groups and the media)
  • strengthening democracy and deepening participation.

The research concludes that:

  • Budget work has been successful in a range of areas, including improving equity and social justice outcomes.
  • The technical nature of the budget process limits the scope for broadening citizen participation.
  • The challenge for budget groups is how to scale-up and replicate the successful impacts achieved to date.
  • Influencing budget policies requires a combination of sound technical knowledge, effective communications and strategic alliances.
  • Promoting the voice of poor and socially excluded groups is an important indirect effect of budget work.

Source(s):
‘Budget Analysis and Policy Advocacy: The Role of Non-governmental Public Action’, IDS Working Paper 279, IDS: Brighton, by Mark Robinson, 2006 Full document.

Funded by: UK Economic and Social Research Council

id21 Research Highlight: 16 August 2007

Further Information:
Mark Robinson
Policy and Research Division
UK Department for International Development (DFID)
1 Palace Street
London SW1E 5HE
UK

Tel: +44 (0)20 70230000
Fax: +44 (0)20 70230636
Contact the contributor: mark-robinson@dfid.gov.uk

Improving health services through community score cards. A case study from Andhra Pradesh, India

Case study 1, Andhra Pradesh, India : improving health services through community score cards
MISRA, Vivek et al , August 2007

This eight page note summarises the findings, processes, concerns, and lessons learned from a project in Andhra Pradesh – one of six pilot projects aimed at the application of specific social accountability tools in different contexts of service delivery

Evaluation Of Citizens’ Voice & Accountability – Review Of The Literature & Donor Approaches Report

O’Neill, T., Foresti, M. and Hudson, A. (2007) Evaluation of Citizens’ Voice and Accountability: Review of the Literature and Donor Approaches. London: DFID.

Excerpt

1.3 A core group of DAC partners are collaborating on a joint evaluation of development
aid for strengthening citizens’ voice and the accountability of public institutions. The
Overseas Development Institute has been contracted to undertake the first stage of
this evaluation, which involves the development and piloting of an evaluation
framework. This literature review is the first output from this first phase. It aims to: (i)
review the theoretical debates on voice and accountability and how they relate to
development; (ii) review the different donor approaches to supporting voice and
accountability and identify commonalities and differences across contexts; (iii)
provide an overview of evaluation theory and practice in relation to voice and
accountability interventions; and (iv) identify key knowledge gaps in relation to the
effectiveness of donors in supporting voice and accountability.

1.4 This review has three main sections. Section 2 surveys the academic literature to
present current thinking on what voice and accountability means, how they operate in
practice and how they relate to the achievement of broader development objectives.
Section 3 turns to the donors’ own understanding of voice and accountability as set
out in their relevant policy and guidance documents. It discusses how the donors see
voice and accountability contributing to their poverty reduction mandates and what
approaches they have adopted to strengthen them, including in different contexts.
Section 4 considers the main issues relating to the evaluation of interventions to
strengthen voice and accountability. It first reviews some of the methodological
debates in the theoretical literature before summarising the donors’ own evaluative
efforts in this field, identifying both common findings and key gaps in their
knowledge.

Contents:
1. Introduction 1
2. Voice and Accountability: A view from the literature 3
Voice and accountability: a basic static model 3
Voice and accountability: a complex dynamic reality 5
Relating voice and accountability to other key concepts 6
Voice, accountability and development outcomes 9
3. Voice and accountability: A view from the donors 13
Why do donors want to strengthen voice and accountability? 13
What strategies do donors adopt for strengthening voice and accountability? 18
Do donor approaches take account of context? 25
4. Evaluating voice and accountability 29
Approaches and frameworks for evaluating voice and accountability interventions 29
What have donors learnt about their effectiveness? 36
5. Conclusions 47
Annexes 49
References 53

Monitoring government policies A toolkit for civil society organisations in Africa

(identified via Source)

The toolkit was produced by AFOD, Christian Aid, Trocaire

This project was started by the three agencies with a view to supporting partner
organisations, particularly church-based organisations, to hold their governments to
account for the consequences of their policies. This toolkit specifically targets African

partners, seeking to share the struggles and successes of partners already monitoring

government policies with those that are new to this work.
The development of this toolkit has been an in-depth process. Two consultants were
commissioned to research and write the toolkit. They were supported by a reference group
composed of staff from CAFOD, Christian Aid and Trócaire and partner organisations with
experience in policy monitoring. The draft toolkit was piloted with partners in workshops
in Malawi, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia. Comments from the reference group and the
workshops contributed to this final version of the toolkit.

Contents

INTRODUCTION  1
CHAPTER ONE: GETTING STARTED
1.1  Core concepts in policy monitoring 5
1.2  Identifying problems, causes and solutions 8
1.3  Beginning to develop a monitoring approach 10
Interaction  13
CHAPTER TWO: CHOOSING POLICIES AND COLLECTING INFORMATION
2.1  Different kinds of policies 15
2.2  Which policies to monitor 18
2.3  Access to policy information  22
2.4  Collecting policy documents 24
Interaction   27
CHAPTER THREE: IDENTIFYING POLICY STAKEHOLDERS
3.1  Stakeholders of government policies 29
3.2  Target audiences and partners  31
3.3  Monitoring by a network of stakeholders 34
Interaction  37
CHAPTER FOUR: LOOKING INTO A POLICY AND SETTING YOUR FOCUS
4.1  Analysing the content of a policy 39
4.2  Defining your monitoring objectives 42
4.3  What kind of evidence do you need? 44
4.4 Choosing indicators 47
4.5  Establishing a baseline 50
Interaction  52
CHAPTER FIVE:ANALYSING POLICY BUDGETS
5.1  Budget basics  55
5.2  Resources for policy implementation 59
5.3 Budget analysis 61
5.4 Interaction  67

CHAPTER SIX: GATHERING EVIDENCE ON POLICY IMPLEMENTATION
6.1 Interviews  69
6.2 Surveys 72
6.3  Analysing survey data and other coded information 77
6.4  Workshops, focus group discussions and observation 84
Interaction  89
CONCLUSION: USING POLICY EVIDENCE TO ADVOCATE FOR CHANGE
Interaction  98
RESOURCES AND CONTACTS 100