Why public resource allocation needs to be gender-based

04Nov 2018
By Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
Guardian On Sunday
Why public resource allocation needs to be gender-based

LITERATURE indicates that social accountability monitoring (SAM) is an efficient tool in addressing socio-economic inequalities in society, more specifically on poverty reduction.

The allocation and use of public resources from duty-bearers entrusted with responsibility for these resources, and the performance of duty-bearers is crucial in progressively realization human rights

Good governance is also a major component of this approach because empirical evidence has shown that there is correlation between an effective governance system and the level of socio-economic development in a state, and vice versa.

SAM locates citizens at the centre of service delivery, especially in relation to the decision-making process and oversight on government policies.

In a nutshell, social accountability defines state-citizen relations in the provision of social services, such as health, housing, water, sanitation and education.

Social accountability monitoring is an approach that is used to advocate community/citizens engagement at the council level for improved health service provision.

It promotes community engagement in planning and monitoring performance, transparency and accountability at the local government authority level. In this equation, the state has an obligation to provide basic human needs to its citizens whereas citizens have a right to demand answers from policymakers and policy-implementers in the manner the afore-mentioned social services are provided.

Having recognised the importance of SAM, TGNP Mtandao will organise week-long training to knowledge centre members from three district councils, namely Kishapu in Shinyanga region, Mbeya, and Morogoro on the importance of SAM in their working areas.

TGNP's programme officer for mobilisation and outreach Deogratias Temba told this paper that the workshop aims au among other creating awareness among actors (particularly local level) on issues related to social accountability and enhancing constructive citizen engagement on various levels.

“We want members to know and use SAM to develop the capacity of its community-level members for the effective use of evidence from the public resource management framework to influence social change at local level,” he said.

The seminar also will also create awareness among actors (particularly local level) on issues related to social accountability and enhancing constructive citizen engagement on various levels.

This also includes the budget cycle from the central government to the local government on timely delivery of funds and implementation of project against expenditures.

He further retaliated it was their first time to introduce SAM to their members to widen their knowledge and skills on how to track and satisfy themselves that all public funds and resources disbursed to district councils were properly utilised.

For his part, national SAM facilitator for Governance and Organisation Development Solutions Nemence Mabung’ai said SAM started between 1999 and 2000, with the main objective being to ensure citizens get their basic rights through social services because, ideologically SAM dwelt on human rights.

Mabung’ai further noted that they wanted to make sure all citizens have the right to ask questions the way actors make decisions on the distribution and utilisation of public resources.

“So, basically when talking about some we talk the way public resources are distributed, spent and supervised,” he noted. “All persons have a fundamental right to obtain explanations and justifications for:

The allocation and use of public resources from duty-bearers entrusted with responsibility for these resources, (whether intergovernmental institutions, government officials or private service providers) and the performance of duty-bearers in progressively realising the human rights of those they serve,” he added.

According to him, duty-bearers have a duty to: provide justification regarding their decisions and performance and to take corrective action in instances where public resources have not been used effectively to realise human rights and capabilities to prevent this from happening again.

SAM has five key stages, which are: Strategic planning and resource identification, expenditure management; performance management; public integrity management; oversight management as well as the ways of doing advocacy.

The challenges that community are experiencing during demanding their rights in each step include: Communication gap between the government as duty barriers, versus community as right holders; lack of access to government plan and budget that specify resources allocation for each community groups, resistant of some of government staff to provide accurate information (eg. budget and expenditure reports).

Other challenges are delays in funds disbursement from central government to local government, and lack of trust for service providers who are engaged by the government to execute projects that address community needs and rights; eg contractors. Other challenges are corruption and friendship during delivering and demanding of services.

The approach emphasizes direct engagement between the State and citizens in policy decision-making through a broad range of actions and mechanisms that promote dialogue.

Flora Mathias (40) from Tigushe Knowledge Centre in Ijombe, Mbeya District Council, said that the knowledge and skills they were getting on SAM was crucial for them to track whether public resources allocated to support the vulnerable group including women, children and disabled at the district council were properly utilised.

Lydia Mwakalinga from Jitume Igale – Mbalizi, Mbeya Rural, said the training on SAM would empower them with skills and knowledge on how to follow the public resources utilisation from village, ward and district council levels. “Formerly, we used to analyse the fiscal budget presented at the national level, to see if gender needs were given priorities in the budget allocation,” he said.

TGNP Mtandao is an activist non-profit organization, and in 2012 was registered as TGNP Mtandao Limited. TGNP emerged through a collective process of critical reflection by leaders of key women’s and gender organizations about the situation of women who are the most exploited and oppressed people within the exploited labouring classes.

TGNP’s ideology and philosophy is built on transformative feminism, which is a struggle that aims to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and other marginalized groups, whether due to class, sex, gender, age, ethnicity, disability, geographical and nationality locations.

Its goal is to facilitate the transformative feminist movement that influence and contribute to gender responsiveness of policy formulation and implementation in the areas of agriculture, water, health, education and extractive industries, for equitable resource allocation and sustainable livelihoods.