WRI held a multi-stakeholder training for budget monitoring at the local level. The training was held in five WRI's research areas, which are Solok regency (September 16-19, 2004), Kebumen regency (September 27-29, 2004), Mataram municipality (October 2-3, 2004).
In general this training is aimed to increase the ability of civil society organizations (CSOs) and the government as well to draw up a budget that is more pro-poor and pro-marginalized groups, including women.
In specific the aims of the training are :
To identify problems that result from the implementation of non gender-considerate budget, that can be presented to regional government to draw up a budget with that takes into account gender perspectives.
To analyze the implementation of non gender-sensitive budget in the researched regions.
To identify work partners at regional government level to press the implementation of gender-sensitive budget
This training covered 5 stages :
First stage, to identify the level of conceptual understanding, gender-perspective understanding, and how to analyze it.
Second stage, to employ FGDs and plenary sessions to identify and to map out gender issues.
Third stage, to discuss a gender budget.
Fourth stage, to audit the Document of Work Item Budget (DASK) through FGDs and plenary sessions with Bandung municipality as the study case.
The fifth stage, to draw up a gender performance-based budget through FGDs and plenary sessions and to design follow-up actions after the training.
As anticipated, when the preparation for Multistakeholder training was underway in 9 researched districts, in the first facilitation during the training process of gender understanding, participants, especially males rejected all matters pertaining to gender. They identified gender with female. In Kebumen regency for example, there was a strong tendency to label the word gender to women. In this training the participants consisted of 90 percent females and one male.
Regional government (the executive) and the legislative body – as already happened in preliminary Multistakeholder training in 9 researched districts – kept insisting that budget allocations that had been made and approved were gender-just, taking into consideration people’s aspirations and women’s as well. But when probed further, in the facilitation process, its implementation was not aimed at women’s participation, either in the planning, discussions, and in budget implementation. Even an already gender budget as revealed by the executives turned out to be incongruent with the appropriate gender concept. Only in FGDs and plenary sessions did the participants become open-minded to gender understanding and found their faults in doing gender-just allocations.
In every facilitation and group discussion, Women Research Institute (WRI) explored deeper unique and specific local issues of each district. Characteristics of local issues were reflected in follow-up plans of each region. Solok regency will do socialization of gender and gender budget to all parties, under the auspices of head of Society Empowerment supported by the regent of Solok.
In the meantime, Kebumen regency will establish a supervising forum for a gender budget for village allocation fund that fully involved women’s participation in village development deliberations. Mataram municipality planned to do socialization of gender and gender budger to all parties, especially to the legislative body, who were not present during the training sessions and to third echelons as budget planner.
Both in the training preparation in 9 researched districts and in the training of gender budget, the participants showed their full participation and gave contributions to the implementation of training programs. This is because the issue of gender budget was a new issue and became the need of the regional government. Generally, local policy makers have been socialized with gender budget through the Decree of Minister of Home Affairs No.132/2003, but the socialization of concepts was not that good, while they had to do the implementation. As a result, gender-just programs and its budget allocations were not in accordance with the aims and people’s needs, both males and females, where women always became the marginalized group. Accordingly, it was found that there were many policies that were not gender-sensitive.
The training preparations in 9 researched districts and gender budget training, that involved multi-parties, gave many lessons for every participant such as knowledge and information on gender concepts, budget planning mechanism, the involved actors and the time needed to draw up a budget, discussions, implementation and audit of budget. In addition to that also presented were the problems and policies that were not gender-just, and aspirations from the grassroots, including those of women. This activity became a collaboration forum and multi-party sharing of experience to understand the process and budget mechanism as well as the collective responsibility to realize gender equality and justice, and to handle difficulties they have been facing in implementing the gender budget.
Lessons that can be learnt from this activity, both from preparations and from the gender-just training sessions are how to get in touch with many local problems that have unique regional characteristics in connection with gender and gender budget and explore deeper into them. In addition to that, participants also get inputs from various notes and local views on gender budget allocations and the process of grasping people’s aspirations, especially women’s involvement in the process of planning, discussion, implementation and control of budget.
Participants in this training consisted of Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) of C Commission, D Commission, E Commission, female DPRD members from any commission, female NGOs, head of Regional Development Plan Body (Bappeda), Anticorruption NGOs, heads of sub-division of budget for Educational Sector, Health Sector, and Labor Force Sector, head of People Empowerment Office, heads of Women Empowerment Bureau and Bureau of Social Affairs, Social Organizations and Family Welfare Education Group (PKK).**