Call for partnership to help increase citizens’ role in planning, budgeting

The Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) has called for stronger partnership with all concerned stakeholders to engage citizens in planning and budgeting.
Anastase Shyaka, who was unveiling the 2017 community scorecard Tuesday, said though the current state of citizen participation in planning and budgeting shows better results than it was 3 years ago, it’s still very low.
The 2016 Rwanda Governance Scorecard had noted an overall improvement in citizens and civil society organizations’ participation at 61% and 72% respectively.
However, the sub-indicator on citizens’ satisfaction in their participation in district processes of planning and budgeting was at just at 7.40%.
Shyaka said the contribution of Rwandans in political issues like elections, Umuganda, and knowing the general vision of their country was very high, above 80%, but not in their participation in planning and budgeting where the numbers were still low.
“For a long time, planning and budgeting have been taken as a preserve for experts. Some thought the public had nothing to do with it, therefore they didn’t give them the voice. It’s not that they can’t contribute to it; it’s just a matter of mindset. It’s what we want to change. Every citizen, whether literate or illiterate, is able to recognise what was right for the community,” he said.
From 2010, RGB partnered with Norwegian People’s Aid and other NGOs in a project called the Public Policy Information Monitoring and Advocacy (PPIMA) operating in 8 districts to get a feel of how people participate in planning and budgeting, he said.
“Everything in our country aiming at giving voice to our citizens, at searching for solutions to their issues and good service delivery, whether done by civil society, private sector or even by public institutions, is highly welcome,” he said.
“We want to strengthen our partnership. We want to see data from the community scorecard used by RGB in order to foster the implementation and searching for solutions to issues found,” he added.
Madeleine Niyomutoni, from Kageyo Sector in Gatsibo District, said they started with PPIMA in 2011 when people were asked to give their ideas.
“When we started out, we discussed in groups according to our different categories, like men, women, and people living with disabilities. Every group gathered ideas and challenges they see in our community in all sectors, including education, infrastructure, health and others,” she said.
All ideas were gathered and PPIMA focal points discussed them with local leaders, then met with citizens to discuss about it and set the priorities, she said.
“For example, we never used to have clean water because the taps were damaged. When we met with our leaders for the first time, we told them that development was nearly impossible without water,” she said.
“They discussed the budget required to repair it and even the public contributed. In less than two months the issue had been solved”.

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