No government action has the potential to improve the daily lives of poor people more than the budget. However, studies repeatedly fail to find a proportional relationship between public spending levels and human development indicators. A major reason for this disconnect is that public spending is often plagued by inefficiency, inequity, and insufficient accountability.
The Transparency and Accountability Program’s response to the public spending problem is to empower civil society organizations (CSOs) to monitor and improve the quality of public spending and service delivery. TAP focuses on CSOs because they have clear advantages in accountability work:
- They are on the ground and can monitor continuously;
- They speak the local language, and understand the national, regional, or local context;
- As citizen organizations, they have clear incentives to drive positive change;
- Unlike international organizations, they can focus on specific programs or spending issues, and offer practical solutions.
TAP’s competitive grant program develops CSOs’ capacity to monitor and improve public spending and service delivery by supporting research and advocacy projects designed and led by the CSOs. In their projects, organizations use social accountability tools, including Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys, Quantitative Service Delivery Survey, and Citizen Report Cards to identify important issues in public spending and service delivery and to advocate for improvements. TAP’s capacity building program emphasizes four key elements:
- Learning by doing: CSOs develop their interest, capacity, and expertise in expenditure monitoring, analysis and advocacy as they carry out their TAP-supported projects.
- Peer learning: Through high-impact engagement, TAP facilitates knowledge-sharing and ensures that organizations learn from each other’s rich and diverse experiences and expertise.
- Technical support: TAP provides technical resources and training to support completion of the work both during workshops and throughout the program.
- Partnerships: TAP helps CSOs forge concrete partnerships with stakeholders including government officials, World Bank staff, and other non-governmental organizations.
TAP is supported by funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
Since 2006, TAP has strengthened the capacity of 48 CSOs in 25 low- and middle-income countries to better hold their governments accountable and to promote improvements in social sector public spending and service delivery. Our current partners by country are:
- Association Burkinabé pour la Survie de l’Enfance (ABSE)
- Association des Femmes Africaines Face au Sida (AFAFSI/BF)
- Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights (ARHR)
- Center for Democratic Development (CDD)
- Choice Ghana
- Family Care International-Kenya
- The Future in Our Minds (FIOM Rwanda)
- Transparency Rwanda (TR)
- Réseau Jeunesse, Population et Développement du Sénégal (RESOPOPDEV)
- Daraja Development Limited (Daraja)
- Save the Children
- Pathfinder International
- Action Group for Health, Human Rights and HIV/AIDS (AGHA)
- Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE)
- Plan Uganda
- Uganda National Health Consumers/Users Organization (UNHCO) and the Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development (HEPS)
- Uganda Network of AIDS Service Organisations
- WaterAid in Uganda