Gender-Responsive Budgeting in Ethiopia’s Country-wide Social Accountability Program
Gender-responsive budgeting determines budget content based on inclusive policy processes that require wide stakeholder participation. The Ethiopia Social Accountability Program (ESAP) provided an
opportunity to introduce a community-based gender-responsive budgeting tool in almost a quarter of Ethiopia’s woredas (districts) across five public services: education, health, water, agriculture, and
rural roads. The program guided over 110 local organizations to help communities assess the standards and budgets of basic services they received, prioritize necessary improvement, engage in dialogue with
service providers and local government, and realize the agreed reforms. Initially, gender-responsive budgeting was among ESAP’s least-used accountability instruments, because it lacked practical guidelines. In response, a team of consultants and local organizations collaborated to revise the tool and make it applicable for use at the grassroots level. Action research shows that the resulting tool was used to great effect in over a dozen locations, where tangible improvements were noted in women and girls’ access to services. The adapted “mainstreaming tool” saw greater take-up and continues to influence woreda budget processes.