Mobile phone supported participatory budgeting allows citizens to come together and vote on their priorities to address their most pressing needs. The local government devotes a percentage of its local investment budget to the project selected by the citizens, such as renovating health centers, schools or building bridges and water access points. In the DRC, this approach is already leading to results: Tax collection increased up to sixteen fold as citizens saw that projects started to be implemented. And the provincial government had increased transfers of funds to local governments up to fourfold as it saw a more legitimate process to elaborate the budget. This has longer term promise as, in late 2012, a law was passed to institutionalize Participatory Budgeting (PB), and other provinces are following suit and start replicating. The process has allowed repairing 54 classrooms, building a bridge in Luhindja, creating a health center, repairing the sewage system in Bagira, and building a water fountain, as well as toilets in local markets in Ibanda. Maybe more importantly: it created a more legitimate way to elaborate budgets and increased trust in local Government. Facilitated by ODTA-ICT4Gov, this work is now being replicated in Cameroon and 22 countries across the African continent (with the launch of a new observatory in December 2012 endorsed by 5000 local Government practitioner during the Africities Summit in Dakar).
Mobile participatory budgeting helps raise tax revenues in Congo (O’Reilly Radar)
Mobile-Enhanced Participatory Budgeting in the DRC (World Bank Blogs)