This July, 28 ‘data user’ civil society leaders working in developing countries including Sierra Leone, Uganda, Liberia, Afghanistan, Nepal and Kenya were gathered together in Limuru, Kenya, for a week of Aid and Budget Training (see previous post on our aidinfo site for more info on the training).
The workshop incorporated modules on defining, accessing, analysing and using aid and budget information to support advocacy work and used a series of interactive sessions requiring hands-on application of concepts and skills. The centrepiece of the workshop was a case study that focused on the water and sanitation sector in Kenya, which allowed participants to practice engaging with actual aid and budget data, and to gain experience in identifying evidence to test their hypotheses on the causes of poor service delivery.
A wide spectrum of skills and expertise
We were lucky enough to have a large group of facilitators in both running the workshops and developing the materials, including International Budget Partnership, Integrity Action, Open Knowledge Foundation’s School of Data, as well as staff from Development Initiatives‘ Nairobi and Bristol offices, representing a wide spectrum of skills and expertise. The workshop represented the second pilot of this approach to using aid and budget information, building on the feedback from a workshop in Nepal last year. It was great to see that the changes to the workshop proposed in Nepal worked well, and elicited good feedback from participants in Kenya.
Latio Paul Abbas of the Society for Civic Development, one of the training participants, said:
“This training has been very useful for me. In my organisation in South Sudan, we are a staff of 32, many of us are volunteers and we have no formal skills training in advocacy. We also have limited experience in mobilising communities and we have been teaching ourselves these skills, trying to raise awareness of the funding available to people for better services. I have valued learning a ‘scientific approach’ to advocacy in the training this week. Now I understand how to find evidence and target my message to the right people, and I have a better understanding of where aid money is supposed to go and how it is channelled. I will use the training materials with my colleagues back home. I hope that we can raise funding to provide another training workshop in South Sudan to bring these skills to more people.”
Here at DI, we’re continuing to analyse feedback we collected during the week, about the use of data and access to information for advocacy in developing countries. We will be sharing these lessons and further materials from the workshop. We also hope to encourage further conversation throughout our stakeholder communities with a series of blogs and case studies over the coming months. Please do get in touch if you would like to know more by contacting Programme Manager Victoria.Room@devinit.org.
Thank you to all participants who helped make a fantastic week – and have given us some great feedback to help us to improve the materials further.