LUANDA, March 10, 2010 - The World Bank, in partnership with the European Commission, and the Open Society recently organized a civil society budget monitoring workshop in Luanda.
The workshop, which provided training for trainers, was part of a partnership aimed at building the capacity of local NGOs in issues related to budget monitoring. The process, facilitated by the World Bank and led by the European Commission’s Non-State Actors Support Program, began in 2008 with the drafting of a manual on Angola’s state budget. The project was enriched with contributions from various national and international organizations, including World Learning, Trocaire, Catholic Relief Services and the Episcopal Commission for Angola and Sao Tome and Principe.
The workshop was held as a follow-up to ensure appropriate use of the manual by the local organizations in their own communities. The manual seeks to improve the understanding of national budget processes by government watchdogs, especially gender budgeting. It also serves as a guide on how to access information from Angola’s ministry of finance website, enabling them to be more effective in holding government officials accountable across a broad range of policy, democracy, and governance issues.
The three-day workshop focused on education, health and other social sectors. Participants were able to learn skills they will need to develop an applied budget work program that will ensure accountability in these sectors, and also enable them to train and empower other community members.
The workshop brought together representatives of 23 national organizations drawn from various non-governmental organizations involved in budget monitoring, or the development of monitoring processes and tools, with a view to developing a supportive community of practice across the country.
The event provided an opportunity to highlight the initial efforts of the social sectors budget monitoring in the country by very few local organizations, using a specific case study in which participants were able to gain know-how for better, more effective budget monitoring. The training also intended to build the interest and capacity of local NGOs to recognize national budget monitoring as a key activity in which they must engage if they want to influence decision-making.
The event took place at a time when the Angolan Government had just finished revising the state budget, which provided the World Bank country economist with an opportunity to present and explain to participants the implications of the financial crisis on the country’s economy and the reasons why the state budget was revised.
The World Bank is currently developing Angola’s Country Partnership Strategy, which will guide its operations in the country over the period 2010-2013.