Alongside the release by SIRD of Cecilia Ng’s edited volume “Gender Responsive & Participatory Budgeting: Imperatives for Equitable Public Expenditure” there has been lots of talk in the media on the topic of Gender Responsive Budgeting. It is then a great time to learn more about this attempt to open up democratic spaces and place decision making power back into the hands of the people.
In the Malay Mail Online Joshua Woo in an article entitled “How would grassroots democracy look like?” reflects upon the “Duta Kita, Hak Kita” initiative in Penang which uses the GPRB approach to enable democratic deliberation over local budgets.
On the constituents’ part, they are involved in the whole process, from the project’s inception to the actual voting on what development to be implemented. Since the money belongs to the people, then the people have the right to decide how to spend it, and participate actively in the decision making process. Thus the project’s title “Duit Kita, Hak Kita,” reflecting democratic activism.
The projects will have to undergo four phases — survey among the people, focus group discussions, voting on the budget and needs, and finally the implementation.