A public budget is an important tool governments use to make decisions that reflect their social and economic priorities. It also shows how they commit to meeting the needs of their people.
The decisions governments make about how to fund policies, programmes and services have a direct impact on girls’ lives. These funding decisions affect girls' health, education, safety and protection from violence.
Government budgets should plan, cost and fund interventions that address child marriage across sectors and at the local, sub-national, national and international level.
Our approach to budget advocacy
Girls Not Brides’ approach to budget advocacy aligns with the International Budget Partnership. This suggests it is most effective when it combines two key elements: budget analysis, and strategic advocacy.
Budget analysis is the capacity to secure, analyse and explain the implications of budget information.
Strategic advocacy is the ability to raise awareness about a campaign. It includes mobilising the public, and reaching out to policymakers and other stakeholders.
Civil society can influence public budgets by combining these two elements, and by working with organisations skilled in these areas.
There is no such thing as a child marriage budget
Child marriage is a multi-sectoral issue which impacts on a girl’s health, education, livelihood, safety and many other aspects of her life. There is no one single budget line for ending child marriage, but there are many different interventions for preventing and responding to the practice.
It is our role as advocates to prioritise which sectors and which budget lines we want to advocate to government for e.g. health, education, child protection, etc.
Why budget advocacy is needed to end child marriage
Development assistance plays a critical role in supporting girls and women, but current models of development finance are not sufficient in scale to reach everyone, nor are they sustainable in the long term.
Budget advocacy is a tool to ensure that domestic governments take the lead to prioritise and finance interventions for girls.
It also helps us to see what policy implementation of a multi-sectoral policy or programme looks like in reality. Implementing scalable interventions to address child marriage and support girls is an important challenge in a number of countries with high-prevalence or burden of child marriage. Budget advocacy can help us understand how to implement policy at the sub-national level and also measuring how to achieve a shift in the rates of child marriage over time.
It is a way for us to directly advocate and work closely alongside parliamentarians, line ministry and department officials, budgeting and planning officials and the media on specific services and programmes for girls that public budgets, are or should be, funding.
How our member organisations work
Girls Not Brides members advocate for financing to implement national strategies, National Action Plans and other government policies and programmes designed to address child marriage at the national and sub-national level.
Our members want their governments to allocate domestic resources to policies and programmes that will address child marriage or support already-married girls. Their advocacy focuses on national and central government public expenditure, as well as sub-national expenditure by local government.
More than money
Budget advocacy is about more than merely asking governments for more funding. Civil society organisations connect the numbers behind the budgets to the real-life stories of girls' lived experiences. They advocate for improved government transparency and accountability, and for including citizens and youth to participate in their budgetary processes. They demand more gender-equitable and efficient use of resources, across and within sectors.
These approaches means Girls Not Brides member organisations and other stakeholders can influence how their government allocates and spends resources that relate to child marriage and girls’ issues.
They can understand how budgets are prepared, and interventions are funded.
They can influence how their government prioritises spending on child marriage.
Civil society and budget advocacy to end child marriage
This report looks at the role that civil society organisations can play in budget advocacy to address child marriage, with key lessons from six pilot projects.
Civil society and budget advocacy to end child marriage: Six case studies
Six budget advocacy pilot projects designed and implemented by Girls Not Brides member organisations in Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan and Togo.