With CIPE’s support, Kenya-based think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and five civil society organizations joined forces in a groundbreaking initiative to empower and coordinate civil society groups to engage county governments in developing, implementing, and monitoring budget priorities.
The civil society organizations first developed their ability to analyze county budgets and to find new ways to explain budgets to local citizens. Next, they solicited input from citizens on priorities for improving the public services provided by their county governments. These county coalitions were a first of their kind, bringing together a range of groups that did not usually work together, such as human rights advocates and private sector leaders. Through their work with CIPE, these organizations recognized that they had to work together if they were to have an impact. For example, the rights groups had more history advocating at the local level, but they needed the private sector’s expertise on taxation and infrastructure in order to analyze and explain county budgets.
Through one-on-one technical assistance provided by CIPE and IEA, the coalitions developed county budget scorecards and citizen-driven alternative budgets. These practical and innovative tools have been instrumental in the coalitions’ ability to evaluate county budgets, offer clear alternatives, and ensure that taxpayer money is spent in ways that most benefit the Kenyan people