For the last five years, I’ve always learned something new about the importance of public planning and budgeting. This I’ve learned through experience working with marginalized communities from around Kenya. When you interact with the budgeting process and support people do the same, you get a lot of job satisfaction. This is especially the case when those marginalized groups get their government do what they’ve been proposing for a long time. In this article, I’ll highlight some of the lessons that I’ve learned over the years.
Budgets are considered to be quite technical documents which require one to build expertise. In this process there is a learning curve. It’s not easy, you must dedicate time and effort in order to get it right.
For citizens to have an impact in the budgeting process, they must receive the planning and budgeting information in the most timely manner. Upon receiving the budgeting documents, you need to analyse them and using the recommendations for advocacy. When budget information is received in a timely manner, it is easier to use it as evidence to argue out your case before the policy makers.
Authenticity comes with receiving, analyzing and sharing findings which are accurate. If you get a policy window and you use information which is not accurate then you are doomed. You will have ruined your reputation as a policy analyst. I know this is not what you want as a budget practitioner.
After collecting planning and budgeting information and coming up with recommendations, it’s fundamental to share those findings with the relevant audience such as county government or national government officers responsible for economic planning departments.
I’ve to be careful here and say that you should not limit yourself when it comes to engaging in public discourse. Engage as widely as possible because you never know. Sell your proposals to as many policy makers as you can. Supply the evidence required to enable these people make an informed decision.
Public planning and budgets just as any other field of study is quite dynamic. New ideas are being born every single day. Read widely to keep abreast.