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Ghana: Budget Monitoring by SEND-Ghana and its Partners Helps Improve Nutrition for Children and Support Local Farmers

By: Tony Dogbe, Joana Kwabena-Adade

The International Budget Partnership (IBP) collaborates with a diverse network of civil society organizations around the world that analyze and monitor government budgets and advocate for better budget policies and more open and accountable budget processes in order to fight poverty and improve governance. In several instances over the past 10 years, members of the global network have succeeded in positively influencing the budget process, including both the formulation and implementation of government budgets. Between 2007 and 2010, the Social Enterprise Development (SEND-Ghana) Foundation, one of the IBP’s partners, monitored the performance of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP, a government program that integrates several social protection interventions), engaging with 50 district assemblies, 50 focal civil society organizations (CSOs), and 50 District Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC)/Citizens Monitoring Committees (DCMC) in seven regions across the country.

SEND-Ghana used the information gathered from this monitoring exercise to promote improvements in the program with district assemblies and officials from collaborating ministries, departments, and agencies directly at the national, regional, and district levels, but also indirectly through the media.

As a result of this campaign, the implementing agencies of the GSFP and key program actors within the communities were moved to improve service delivery, including the provision of:

– basic infrastructure, such as safe and hygienic water sources, toilet facilities, urinal and handwashing facilities, and adequate kitchenware;

– agricultural services, such as the direct purchase of food from community/district farmers, extension services, farming inputs supply, and the formation of farmers into farmer-based organizations;

– health services, including training cooks in hygiene and nutrition, health education for pupils, training to maintain water and sanitation facilities in the school, and student health services like measuring body mass index and de-worming; and

– education services, such as supports for parents to supervise their children’s education, adequate teachers (average teacher: pupil ratio of 1:35), adequate stock of textbooks (average textbook: pupil ratio of 1:1 ), availability of equipment for extracurricular activities, and the daily marking and closing of school registers.

In addition the public, especially at the local level, was better informed about the GSFP and more capable of participating in and monitoring the program — and demanding accountability from the institutions that implement it.