Participatory budget workshop for coordinators of the Ministry of Social Development’s joint planning councils
Ramallah - On October 22, MIFTAH capped off a training workshop on participatory budgets for coordinators of the Ministry of Development’s joint planning councils. The workshop showcased the basic concepts for preparing plans, objectives and the concept of the public budget, mechanisms for its preparation and the participatory budget.
The workshop is part of ongoing cooperation between the Ministry of Social Development and MIFTAH, which is aimed at promoting a participatory approach and the principles of transparency and accountability in preparing the Ministry’s budget.
Budget director at the ministry, Hanadi Barahmeh stressed that the importance of the training workshop stems from the Ministry’s efforts to promote the concept of moving in the direction of development in thought, policies, approaches, programs and plans, which she said was the transition into social development was translated on the ground. This transition, Barahmeh continued, is based on the principles of participation, rights, transparency and justice. She said, ‘Recently, the ministry has been working on the formation of the joint planning councils in all of its directorates so they could assume their role in preparing, implementing and monitoring the Ministry’s public budget through local social partnerships. This requires capacity-building and awareness among joint planning council coordinators on these concepts and standards of international transparency for budgets. It also requires an understanding of the most important components for progress and the ability to convey information from the public sector to the citizen smoothly and transparently, in addition to providing the necessary awareness on the work of the ministry in order to meet the needs of marginalized and vulnerable sectors.’
Meanwhile, Basil Abu Zaydeh, who is in charge of the joint planning council file in the Ministry of Social Development stressed on the need to connect directly with citizens to plan and work with them on all of their needs and budgets. “The people in the planning councils should have the necessary knowledge and awareness of what the people want through being in direct contact with them and including them in identifying their needs and priorities. The role of the planning councils in this regard is very crucial and vital to the ministry, which works hard to meet citizens’ needs.”
MIFTAH project coordinator Hassan Mahareeq explained that the workshop is part of a series of training workshops aimed at capacity-building for Planning Council members so they have the skills and knowledge to effectively participate in the planning process. It is also so that the Ministry can provide citizens with their needs, on the one hand, and translate them into fiscal policies, on the other. This, Mahareeq said, corresponds with the objectives of the “Finance for Development” project, which MIFTAH implements in partnership with OXFAM. This project, he said, is related to how the ministry’s fiscal policies respond to the needs of various social sectors, in particular the poor and marginalized ones. It also falls within MIFTAH’s goal to promote the principles of transparency, integrity and accountability and to enforce the principle of monitoring on government spending policies.