Participatory budgeting is a democratic process in which residents directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. Each year, residents brainstorm ideas, turn them into proposals, and vote to decide which proposals to fund. Started in Brazil in 1989, participatory budgeting has been used for over 7,000 public budgets globally, for cities, states, nations, schools, universities, and other institutions.
1. Brainstorm Ideas
Residents share and discuss ideas for projects.
2. Develop Proposals
Volunteers develop the initial ideas into feasible proposals.
Residents vote on which projects to fund.
4. Fund Winning Projects
The government funds and implements the top projects.
Participatory Budgeting in Action
Participatory budgeting (PB) involves local authorities and citizens cooperating in determining the allocation of public money – the budget. This helps municipalities to realize their economic potential, and citizens to secure access to essential services.
- Mamadou Bachir Kanouté, Executive Director Enda ECOPOP (Dakar, Senegal)
Participatory budgeting is more than just deciding how a portion of the city’s budget should be spent. It is about engaging people in city issues, getting them to understand the trade-offs that have to be made in local spending decisions, improving communication between people and local government, and including marginalized groups in local decisions.
- Enid Slack, Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance, Canada
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PB Scoping Toolkit
Review key design questions that you will need to answer to plan a participatory budgeting program, and sample answers to these questions. To create a plan that works for your situation, start your own PB playbook. The playbook will walk you through the most important questions to answer when designing a process. Each step of the way, we will share recommended options and information to help you decide. At the end, you will have a plan for your process.