As a part of IID’s Social Accountability initiative aiming to enhance citizen participation in the budgetary process, IID, in collaboration with its local partners MSEDA and USS, has successfully completed its first phase of Action Plan for the period of June to December 2023, targeting Dhangara Village and Baraoora Tea Estate. This initiative followed IID’s first biannual assessment of citizen engagement in budgetary processes in June 2023.  

The action plan encompassed a range of initiatives, including door-to-door campaigns, courtyard meetings, and lobbying with the local government, aimed at improving citizens’ understanding and access to school budgets, fostering a culture of participation in the budgeting process, and addressing challenges that inhibit citizen involvement in discussions and the expression of their concerns. Hence, this initiative brings together citizens, civil society organizations (CSOs), and local government in a collective effort to create an education budget that responds directly to the needs and demands of the community.  

The campaign engaged around 2,500 households, where volunteers offered counseling to over 3,500 individuals in Baraoora Tea Estate and Dhangara Village. Its main goal was to elevate their knowledge and awareness of budgetary matters. Moreover, over 12 courtyard meetings in both targeted areas reached more than 700 individuals, promoting community understanding of budget-related concerns. Additionally, lobby meetings were held with local policymakers, school representatives, and union parishad authorities to sensitize them about public participation in budgeting and advocate for institutional reforms. 

The action plan has been well-received by various stakeholders, yielding both tangible and intangible outcomes. It has led to increased sensitivity among local officers, politicians, and civil society leaders towards citizens’ concerns, encouraging them to undertake initiatives that facilitate public participation. Tangible outcomes include the establishment of a notice board to display the school budget at Dhangara Government Primary School so that public has access to budget related information, and the installation of a complaint box to encourage the provision of feedback about the school and ensure transparecny in budget allocation and implementation. To count the intangible outcomes, there has been a notable increase in awareness among the locals regarding their rights and responsibilities pertaining to the budget, as well as their responsiveness to children’s priorities and community needs. Moreover, the action plans have fostered citizen engagement in discussions with policymakers on budgetary matters, a previously rare occurrence. 

Thus, the action plan is a component of IID’s Social Accountability initiatives, aimed at aligning citizens’ needs with budget allocations by enhancing the capacity and awareness of both citizens and stakeholders. Through these efforts, IID is committed to improving the quality, fairness, and inclusivity of budget allocations and implementations in schools and union parishads. This IID’s action plan initiative is a regular biannual effort, following up on the biannual assessment of citizens’ participation in the budget. 

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