What we have learnt about budget advocacy


In 2014, we  worked in partnership with the Mobilising Advocates from Civil Society (MACS) coalition to provide budget advocacy support to 12 organisations. These organisations focus on reproductive, maternal and child health (RMNCH) in Kenya. The aim of this partnership is to provide basic skills on how to conduct budget advocacy in Kenya – in essence, making budgets a friendly affair for civil society organisations.

We began with a week’s training to help participants understand the budget processes in Kenya, acquire skills on analysing budget allocations to RMNCH, and identify opportunities to engage in the budget process for RMNCH. We prepared detailed budget training manuals specifically to speak to the needs of these organisations and that they can reference in their work. We guided the participants to further develop factsheets and tools for them to use in their day-to-day work – a good example being a ‘budget calendar infographic’ that shows both the national and county budget stages, dates, documents produced and opportunities to engage.

Importantly, the training week also included practical time for organisations to develop annual work plans in their coalitions. It was an opportunity to define the elements of RMNCH in the budget they want to measure and focus on. This activity provided outputs for participants to take away and use at the end of the training, as well as key milestones to mark during the year.

We also provide helpdesk support to these organisations on an ongoing basis – being on hand to guide them in developing their advocacy messaging and tools, obtaining budget data for them and linking them up with organisations or individuals who can provide additional support. The skills gained among the participants were visible as soon as we completed the week’s training.

For organisations in Africa aiming to carry out health budget advocacy, working in coalitions is useful to avoid duplication of messaging. It also creates a common voice that has more impact on policy makers. Sometimes you have to admit that not everyone can be a budget expert, and working in partnership with organisations that specialise in budgets, while you specialise in advocacy, is a beneficial model to ensure that budgets become a friendly affair.

Development Initiatives and Mobilising Advocates from Civil Society (MACS) focus on reproductive, maternal and child health (RMNCH) in Kenya. The aim of this partnership is to provide basic skills on how to conduct budget advocacy in Kenya – in essence, making budgets a friendly affair for civil society organisations.

This blog post originally appeared on Mamaye.org