Beads - Passion for Facilitation

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Gender Analysis and Influencing Budgets - at the heart of Social Accountability

When we were updating the Gender Responsive Budget tool (GRB) for ESAP2 partners it struck me again how fundamental the combination of gender analysis and influencing budgets is for an inclusive and effective approach to social accountability.

In the process of updating the GRB tool, we had a redesign workshop with some partners who were interested to work with the tool. They missed a clear step approach in the previous version of the tool - and were therefore finding it hard to use GRB with citizens. We managed to boil the tool down to something that would give good results at the local level: basic service budgets that work for women too.

During the workshop, we realized two things:

  1. social accountability tools like Citizen Score Cards, inevitably lead to the identification of service improvements that have budget implications
  2. social accountability tools are not necessarily gender sensitive - e.g. our partners form Focus Groups of vulnerable segments of society, and this includes a group of women, but gender is an issue across vulnerable groups, and not all women are vulnerable.

We concluded that the best way to bring women's issues to bear on the district budget would be to mainstream gender budgeting into all the other SA tools that we are promoting. Our new GRB tool does exactly that - in a few clear steps:


The most interesting is step 4, which makes gender analysis an integral part of Social Accountability. At the local level it can be challenging to make women's voices heard among those of men. However, experience shows that men are often inclined to change their priorities for service improvements once they have heard the stories of women. I love the following example shared by one of our partners:

(chat or khat is a leaf, and chat chewing is a social custom in this area of Ethiopia)

We are pleased to see that partners now have a clear plan to use the updated GRB tool in order to get better service improvement results for women. Tadelech Debele, our GRB consultant (in the intro picture on the top of this blog), is following them and will produce case studies in a couple of months.

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