Every institutional plan –as any public policy- bears costs, which can be measured in terms of financial resources, infrastructure and staff in charge. Therefore, when setting up your participatory plan there are some key aspects that should be taken into account: Which type of resources will be needed? How can they be acquired? How much will it take to set in motion the initiative, and most importantly, how can sustainability be ensured?

Financial resources

Although engagement is mostly about commitment, financial resources are necessary to set in motion engagement projects. In this sense, both SAIs and CSOs can seek funding, either jointly or unilaterally.

Identifying what types of resources are needed for project implementation is the first step toward drafting a feasible plan. Above all, it is important to consider what those resources will be used for.

Financial resources determine the scope of activities that to be carried out. Under no circumstances should the lack of resources discourage project implementation. When the enabling conditions display readiness for citizen engagement, taking small, concrete steps is better than pursuing ambitious plans.

Useful tips for building a budget

  • Identify the plan´s activities, and draft an itemized budget of expected costs.
    • salaries that need to be paid to the team in charge (take into account whether you will have to hire more staff)
    • operational costs (transportation, communication, and so forth)
    • reproduction costs (manuals, brochure, and so on)
    • infrastructure
    • consultants
    • others
  • Build an estimate of start-up investment needs.

In recent years, the SAI engagement agenda has been gaining wider support from the international community, as anti-corruption and governance initiatives have been in the spotlight for many donor agencies.

Donor support has traditionally focused on technical expertise and enhanced capacity by SAIs, an approach that has addressed oversight institutions as the main targets of international development programs (Di Renzo and Ramkumar 2009). However, in the past few years, an understanding has been growing of the role external stakeholders can play in strengthening SAI capabilities while contributing to curb corruption. In this sense, knowledge sharing and technical support have been the key areas offering opportunities for engagement with civil society. Backed by international donor agencies, programs of peer exchange, pilot projects, regional internships, and other mutual support initiatives between SAIs and external stakeholders have been implemented to advance international audit standards and improve SAI performance (Cornejo, Guillan and Lavin 2013).

Some donor agencies fund SAIs, whereas others support programs developed by civil society in the areas of accountability and citizen empowerment in public financial management. Past experiences of collaboration can be good starting points for innovative proposals. In any case, designing a feasible plan and demonstrating commitment and flexibility to assess risks and unpredicted outputs are crucial.


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