‘Our Money, Our Budget’ Social Media Bash on the 2018 National Budget Presentation
Zambian finance minister, Felix Mutati, presented the 2018 National Budget to Parliament on 29 September, 2017. Due to the limitations in young people attending this event at the National Assembly, SAfAIDS in partnership with Action Aid (Global Platform Zambia) and CSPR provided live online coverage of the event on social media. This was conducted in the form of live tweets and Facebook updates so the adolescents both debated and shared their instant reactions to the policy pronouncements and budgetary allocations in the national budget as the minister of finance was presenting them .
The overall activity was part of the main focus of the project – raising public awareness – to enhance the capacity of community members to influence pre and post budget decisions that support young people’s education, health and social protection interventions, child participation and public investment in children. The event was promoted on the SAfAIDS’s social media platforms in order to generate interest prior to the actual day of the budget presentation.
The main hashtag was #ZamBudget2017 supported by #Budget2018. There was wide participation from youths from all over the world; approximately 4,567 people were reached with information as well as participating in the various social media discussions.
The diversity of people participating on the platform were also analysed to measure the extent to which adolescents had taken center stage in the budget discussions. Some of the deliberations that stood out for the youths were that:
Voices Of The Youth
“Equally, although the health allocation as a share of the total national budget has increased by 0,6%( K6,78 billion) in 2018 from K5,76 billion in 2017, it only accounts for about 8,9% of the national budget and falls short of the Abuja declaration of 15%.”–Grace Banda and her Group.
“We felt that while the overall budget has increased public investment in adolescents remains inadequate in comparison to international and regional standards with regards to education and health among others.”-Ngandwe and Group members
“We also identified that health infrastructure targets are for completion ONLY in the year 2018. This implies that access to reproductive health services and quality health care for adolescents will remain a challenge.”- Chonzi Chilufya and Group members.
To reach a wider audience and raise the advocacy profile for public investment in adolescents and young people, a children’s parliament will be conducted to provide children and adolescents with the opportunity to learn about the functions of parliament and increase their capacity to monitor national plans and budgets that affect their livelihood. As a result, a Child Communique on the 2018 National Budget and a press release on the Child Position on the 2018 Budget will be shared.