Budget monitoring and expenditure tracking (BMET) training series
Through the MEI Malaria Budget Advocacy partnership in Namibia, the MEI collaborated with the Centre for Economic Governance and Accountability in Africa (CEGAA) to develop an online training series for malaria leaders – from district to national level – to strengthen skills related to budget monitoring and expenditure tracking (BMET) and health budget advocacy. This 14-module series provides foundational knowledge on health financing and economics, practical skills to analyze and develop budgets, and tactics to influence decision-makers. While CEGAA’s BMET curriculum has been used for health financing in Eastern, Western, and Southern Africa, this is the first time the training has been adapted for malaria. After engaging with the training series participants will have strengthened skills to:
- Understand budget monitoring and expenditure tracking concepts and applications
- Track public sector budget processes and identify how to engage with or influence future budget planning
- Develop and analyze performance-based budgets
- Influence resource allocation using financial evidence and advocacy messaging
As country systems for governance and health decentralize, malaria transmission becomes more heterogeneous and focal, and preparation for transition from donor assistance begins, it is critical for countries to develop subnational leadership and public financial management capacities to ensure a resilient and sustainable malaria response at all levels. Subnational malaria staff on the front lines of control and elimination are well positioned to be effective advocates for program sustainability, including by strengthening engagement of local leaders and budgetary authorities to catalyze domestic financing. This BMET training curriculum provides a launch point to sharpen these skills and put them into action.
The training’s summary video includes CEGAA experts Nhlanhla Ndlovu (Executive Director) and Silindile Shezi (Project Manager) and testimonials from leaders who received the BMET curriculum through in-person training.
Module 1: Demystifying the Public Sector Budget (7 minutes)
The first module provides the key concepts of public sector (government) budgets, such as revenue, expenditure, surplus, and deficit, and how each concept relates to budget planning.
Module 2: Public Sector Budget Accountability & Performance (9 minutes)
Module 2 provides an overview of how public sector budgets serve as an accountability mechanism between citizens and government to link policy-making and service delivery and how budget performance can be measured.
Module 3: Public Sector Budgets Link Policy and Service Delivery (9 minutes)
In order to understand the impact of publicly funded programs, it's important to determine the outcomes attributable to the financial resources invested. Module 3 highlights the practice of resource tracking to bolster policy analysis and program evaluation.
Module 4: Key Economic Concepts for Public Sector Budgeting (21 minutes)
Economic fluctuations impact the availability of public sector resources and influences budget planning for government programs. Module 4 provides and overview of key economic principles impacting public sector program budgets, including a deep dive into interpreting GDP and inflation when planning and analyzing budgets.
Module 5: Understanding the Public Sector Budget Process (34 minutes)
Module 5 provides a comprehensive look at key aspects of the public sector budget process or cycle, covering its phases, information requirements and challenges, key actors, and opportunities for influence.
- Activity A: Diving into the public sector budget process
Module 6: Public Sector Budget Cycle Calendar (7 minutes)
While government fiscal year timelines can vary from country to country, there is a typical sequencing and pacing of public sector budget phases or steps regardless of which calendar month it starts. Module 6 outlines the budget cycle for a fiscal year beginning in April, including consideration of multi-year budgeting.
Module 7: Principles of Good Public Sector Budgeting (3 minutes)
Module 7 reviews the four key principles underpinning strong public sector budgets: robust financial management systems; strong financial management legislation; an independent auditor general; and an active parliament, civil society, media, and electorate.
Module 8: Challenges to Public Sector Budget Decision-Making (5 minutes)
Policy decisions around prioritization and resource allocation are often made within the parameters of imperfect information and processes. Module 8 reviews common challenges policy-makers face when developing budgets in resource-constrained settings.
Module 9: Introduction to Different Budgeting Methods (17 minutes)
Module 9 introduces three different budgeting methods and outlines the advantages and disadvantages of each. The module also maps out how to move from the ‘old way’ of budgeting to a ‘new way’ that offers a forward-thinking framework to outcome-focused budgeting.
Module 10: Performance-Based Budget Concepts (19 minutes)
Performance-based budgeting is a framework for developing results-oriented, evidence-informed, and efficiency-focused financial plans. Module 10 discusses key features of performance-based budgets, including the materials and information needed to inform them. Module 10 also highlights the seven steps to develop a strong performance-based budget.
Module 11: Uses, Benefits, and Examples of Budget Analysis (32 minutes)
Strong financial evidence can bolster budget advocacy to mobilize resources, improve policies, and drive programmatic decisions. Module 11 provides an overview of budget analysis techniques to generate the financial evidence needed to strengthen messaging and influence key decision-makers.
- Activity D: Budget analysis exercise
- Supplemental Resource A: Excel sheet for basic budget analysis
- Supplemental Resource B: Cheat sheet for basic budget analysis
Module 12: Using National and Ministerial Budgets for Analysis (15 minutes)
Module 12 presents the structure of national and ministerial budgets – what information is available in each and how data is organized – in order to perform a comprehensive budget analysis. The module also lists the five starting points for budget analysis and how to decide which is best for your analysis.
Module 13: Factors Influencing Government Resource Allocations (7 minutes)
It’s not always clear what is considered and prioritized when budgetary decisions are made. Module 13 presents ten key factors influencing public sector resource allocations, such as policy priorities, equity, and capacity to spend.
Module 14: Using Budget Analysis for Advocacy (3 minutes)
Module 14 highlights how evidence generated from budget analyses can be converted from data into a story that can capture attention and catalyze action of various budget stakeholders in support of your budget advocacy messages.
- Activity E: Stakeholder definition exercise
- Activity F: Media delivery wheel scenarios
- Activity G: Messaging and messengers exercises
- Supplementary Resource C: Guide for Developing a Health Budget Advocacy Strategy for State and non-State Actors