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December 16, 2022

CRVS Workshops in Uganda and Maldives Mobilize Government Leadership for Budget Advocacy

The Data for Health team at the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) conducted national workshops in Uganda and the Maldives in September and October to pilot test the planning module of the forthcoming Budget Advocacy Framework and Toolkit for CRVS Funding Sustainability, a systematic guide to help countries develop and implement a strategy to mobilize political will and domestic resources for their civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems. These workshops brought together different country-level CRVS and identity (ID) management stakeholders, mostly representing government ministries, departments, and agencies, as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations and civil society, and covered both budget advocacy and legal reform recommendations from CRVS Legal Review. The goals of the budget advocacy workshops were to orient participants to the approach, align on key challenges that inhibit sustainable delivery and financing of civil registration services, and generate strategies to advocate for increased investment in CRVS by government budgetary authorities.

Uganda holds a joint legal review and budget advocacy inception workshop, setting the stage for legal reform and domestic resource mobilization

In September, GHAI organized a workshop Jinja, Uganda to launch budget advocacy and present key findings from a comprehensive legal review. Led by GHAI’s Data for Health team, including Ugandan legal consultant Hadijah Namyalo-Ganafa, this workshop gathered representatives from key CRVS government agencies – including the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA), the Ministry of Health, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, and Ministry of Finance – and international non-governmental organizations and non-state actors.

During the workshop, preliminary findings from a landscape analysis were presented and discussed, focusing on challenges and opportunities to strengthen domestic financing and sustainability of the CRVS system. Rosemary Kisembo, Executive Director of NIRA, called the event “very critical for the success of the CRVS-ID agenda in Uganda.” The workshops enabled stakeholders to identify and discuss the challenges and opportunities in the CRVS system, as well as the priority issues and next steps for both budget advocacy and legal reform. Building on the workshop outcomes, GHAI’s Data for Health team will continue to provide technical assistance to NIRA and partners to develop and implement a CRVS budget advocacy strategy, as well as advance legal reform, in the coming months.

Government stakeholders in the Maldives commit to pursuing legal reform and budget advocacy for their CRVS system at a joint workshop in October 2022

The budget advocacy inception and strategy development workshop in the Maldives, led by GHAI’s Data for Health team, guided country stakeholders on how to secure and sustain domestic funding for CRVS policy and legal reform implementation. This event happened alongside a CRVS legal review and reform workshop that was supported by the Vital Strategies Global Grants Program and ImagineLaw. The joint workshop gathered representatives from key government agencies, including members of Parliament, as well as development partners including Vital Strategies, UNESCAP and UNICEF.

During the workshop, GHAI led interactive sessions on advocacy for sustainable financing for the Maldives’ CRVS system, including analyses of the annual budget process and key stakeholders, and problem analysis and prioritization. GHAI also held a side meeting with Members of Parliament who serve in leadership positions on the Budget Committee, to secure their support for future budget and policy change efforts. At the end of the workshop, 94% of the participants indicated that the workshop content was valuable to their jobs and that they found the workshop materials and breakout sessions helpful.

The draft budget advocacy strategy that came out of the workshop aims to address two CRVS system bottlenecks – one related to IT and one related to HR – in order to demonstrate to decision-makers the value of investing in the system and influence resource allocation decisions in the next fiscal year.

Reflections on country budget advocacy partnerships and planning workshops

By holding budget advocacy launch and strategy development workshops alongside CRVS legal review recommendations workshops in both Uganda and the Maldives, GHAI was able to leverage the convening of numerous CRVS leaders and build upon the system improvement discussions. Stakeholders acknowledged the role of budget advocacy in securing funds needed to implement system improvement priorities being sought through legal reform. Moreover, these forums were the first of their kind in both countries, dedicated to planning and joint development of budget advocacy strategies to mobilize domestic resources for national CRVS and ID management systems. These events provided timely discussions between diverse CRVS system stakeholders, mobilized government leadership for budget advocacy strategy development and validation and paved the way for locally led budget advocacy implementation in 2023.