Bangladesh is a developing country with around 155.8million people. Bangladesh is divided into 08 Divisions and 64 Districts. For the purposes of local government, the country isdivided into 489 Sub-district (Upazila) and 4,550 Union (Sub-sub-district).
Thedevelopment intervention of the government in Union level is implementedthrough the elected body i.e. Union Parishad. Local government is an integralpart of the whole governance process. Like the central government, localgovernment institutions at different levels perform many, similar functionssuch as, agriculture, health, education infrastructure development etc.
, withintheir legal jurisdictions. It is important to maintain fiscal transparency andaccountability of local government institutions to build a resilient communityenjoying freedom of all forms. Bangladeshis extremely densely populated and a relatively new democracy. In the absenceof transparency and public accountability most of local government offices areinaccessible to the poor and powerless. Some of the causes includeinefficiency, system failure, inadequate mobilization of vision and the absenceof participation by local people. People should participate in the governancesystem in order to ensure that the services provided by the government systemare responsive to the demands and needs of citizens. Bottom-up pressure to the authorities andpeople’s movement can change the existing inertia situation power relations.
Governance is epitomized by predictable,open, and enlightened policymaking (that is, transparent process); abureaucracy imbued with a professional ethos; an executive arm of governmentaccountable for its actions; and a strong civil society participating in publicaffairs; and all behaving under the rule of law. (World Bank Study on Africa1989: p-55) Thetiered system of local (Union Parishad-UP (Sub-sub-district Council) andUpazila Parishad-UZP (Sub-district Council)), district (Zila Parishad-ZP(district council)) and national political and administrative structuressupported by appropriate legislation: the Local Government (UP) Act (2009),which obliges Union Parishads to follow descendent accountability processes. Acontinuing people’s conscientization and mobilization process can be initiatedthrough education, dialogue and consensus building to bring about change.People’s active participation prevents the top-down approach of governmentproject and services.
The social accountability techniques are appropriate forensuring people’s participation and to establish a sensible local government.From this background being supported by World Bank and Manusher JonnoFoundation; my organization ‘Institute of Development Affairs (IDEA)’ initiatedSocial Engagement for Budgetary Accountability (SEBA) Project in 09 UnionParishad under Sylhet district. This paper explains how this project hascreated an enabling environment for participatory budgeting in localgovernments engaging community people.