Soliciting Citizen Input on Budget Planning in Tunisia

After the Arab Spring, Tunisians have expressed a desire for increased government accountability and budget transparency. In response, the government has implemented a number of reforms, including providing municipalities with greater control over their local budgets. To help municipalities with this new responsibility, the Federation of Tunisian Municipalities (Fédération Tunisienne des Villes Tunisiennes, FNVT) requested FSVC’s assistance in training municipalities on how to solicit the input of their constituents into their budget planning process.

In May 2016, FSVC volunteer experts Kouraich Joauahdou (Chairman, Action Associative) and Ahmed Ben Nejma (Project Coordinator, Action Associative) conducted a training in Tunis for 20 civil servants from various municipalities who had expressed an interest in implementing tools for participatory budgeting, but lacked the knowledge and skills to do so effectively.

The volunteer experts first guided participants through the process of a participatory budget, and how to obtain effective results in Tunisia. They then presented a case study of a successfully-implemented participatory budget procedure in a Tunisian municipality. The volunteer experts also reviewed examples for memorandums of understanding signed between a Tunisian
municipal government and local CSOs. Finally, they presented the participatory diagnosis tool, which provides a framework for municipalities to assess the interests of citizens in particular projects.

As a result of the workshop, Tunisian municipalities acquired practical knowledge on how to implement participatory tools in their respective municipalities. Increasing the capacity of local governments to solicit the input of their constituents in the local budget process will help ensure that they are able to respond to the needs and priorities of citizens.

FSVC’s program is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), and aims to increase the effectiveness and accountability of the Government of Tunisia in implementing open government policies and strengthen the capacity of CSOs to advocate effectively for open government policies.