Lekhnath, Nepal--More than 50 women in Lekhnath came together on a grey, rainy day, despite their busy schedules to discuss the municipal budget. The look on their faces showed they meant business. They wanted involvement in the budget consultation meetings. So far, only men had been involved in such discussions. The women had come to demonstrate that they mattered just as much.
Every year, 10% of the municipal budget of the block grant is allocated to women in Nepal. The main purpose of the block grant is to target investment in women (10%), children (10%), the disadvantaged and the indigenous (15%) towards their development. However, the 10% entitlement does not always reach the women as intended. The Lekhnath women were simply unaware such allocation existed and thus, never had the chance to participate in the municipal budget consultations.
“We were not involved in any of the planning consultations. We did not even know about our own entitlements. Until we were informed by the Community Communication Centre (CCC) last year, we stayed inside our homes, without a clue about the budget specifically for women. We were missing out on the opportunity to develop ourselves but we won’t let this happen anymore,” says 50 year old social worker, Suk Kumari Bishwakarma.
Program for Accountability in Nepal
Community Communication Centre (CCC) implemented the project on the use of Social Accountability tool of Public Expenditure Tracking System (PETS) through the World Bank’s Program for Accountability in Nepal (PRAN).
PRAN, since 2010, has been providing practical training, action learning and networking opportunities aimed at developing the capacity of civil society organizations such as CCC and government actors to promote social accountability in Nepal. It is hoped that the impact of these initiatives, over time, will be to promote more accountable, honest, transparent and responsive government agencies delivering quality public services. The program supports social accountability activities in three focal areas: public financial management, municipal governance and public service delivery.