UNICEF- The African Child Policy Forum Joint Initiatives on Social Budget Tracking, and Capacity and Needs Assessment of Government Bodies for Children in Africa
In the aftermath of the global economic crisis, two questionnaires were developed jointly by UNICEF and the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) with the dual objectives of assessing the needs and capacity of child-focused ministries in Africa on the one hand, and tracking the existing social budget initiatives for children on the other.
The first questionnaire takes stock of social budgeting initiatives in Africa and is designed to capture information on each initiative's background, structure, staff composition, scope of services, tools and innovations applied, possible constraints and their management, the role of different actors and partnerships, the modalities of including the voice of community members including children, the sources of funding, the impact and contribution to learning, and issues related to sustainability. In this manner, the questionnaire attempts to gather innovative and good practices on social budgeting for possible application by other social budgeting initiatives in other contexts, while also fostering possible future partnerships among the various initiatives.
The second questionnaire has been conceptualised in relation to the 2011 version of The African Report on Child Wellbeing: Budgeting for Children, which coveres a number of social budgeting components including budget laws and processes that impact on the amount, composition and implementation of government budgets as they relate to children. One of the envisaged components had been the assessment of the needs and capacity of government organs that are primarily responsible for the formulation of laws and policies, and that stand at the forefront of advocating for the rights of children at the national level.
Evidently, the way these organs are structured, funded and maintained in each country will eventually leave its mark on the realisation of child rights and the fulfilment of child wellbeing in those particular countries, and in the continent in general. This initiative, which is part of the multifaceted partnership between UNICEF and ACPF, has been taken up within the framework of UNICEF’s assistance to the African Report on Child Wellbeing, with considerable guidance provided by relevant UNICEF staff at Headquarters and some regional offices. UNICEF-Ethiopia has likewise provided assistance to the pilot-testing of the questionnaire the country.