Gender-Sensitive and Child-Friendly Budgeting in Zimbabwe"
This article is part of a compilation of articles under the title 'Demanding Good Governance - Lessons from Social Accountability Initiatives in Africa' by the World Bank. It highlights the lessons of two social accountability initiatives in Zimbabwe in terms of context, processes and results for possible replication and further learning by policymakers, practitioners, and technocrats. The following initiatives are examined: the Child-Friendly National Budget Initiative being coordinated by the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO), and the Gender Responsive Budgeting Project by the Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre and Network (ZWRCN).
For years, budget formulation, implementation and analysis in Zimbabwe have been the preserve of government technocrats under the leadership of the Ministry of Finance. The author argues that a series of national and local budgets, supposedly informed by national development interests (especially after 2000), have failed to achieve economic growth with equity. Hardly any evidence shows that national budgets in Zimbabwe, particularly between 2000 and 2008, address the underlying causes of poverty, marginalisation and exploitation, or the needs of vulnerable groups – particularly women and children.
The budget analysis and advocacy work by NANGO and ZWRCN since 2002 was, therefore, not only an attempt to find lasting solutions to structural causes of poverty, but also, and equally important, an attempt to institute mechanisms that hold the government accountable for their policies and actions.