According to the Investopedia website, a budget is defined as an estimation of the revenue and expense over a specified period of time and is compiled and evaluated on a periodic basis. With this definition, it can be said that a country’s budget is her working document that outlines how the country will allocate and spend its resources within a given time.
For many young people, discussions about budget and national spending is like playing reggae in the midst of blues. While many a youth will prefer a discussion on football, movies or some fun activity, only a handful will be interested in understanding the role of young people in budgeting or how they can get involved in the budget process.
As a national working document, the budget affects every citizen, both young and old. As it is currently, young people only hear about the budget but they are hardly able to follow up on that which affects them in the budget. With this reality, the need for participatory budgeting – the act of collective brainstorming on the budget process has become something everyone should actively #getinvolved in. While the budget process may be a mentally tasking exercise for young people, it is important to enlighten and educate them on the importance of following through on matters that concern youth in the budget.
At South Saharan, we believe in empowering the youth as active citizens who are courageous enough to ask questions about governance and understand how national resources are being spent. To bring this knowledge to the understanding of the youth, our good governance project - The Awakening, a weekly radio program that enlightens the youth on active citizenship and good governance, last week, focused on Youth Participation in the Budget Process.
The guest on the program, Ebele Okonkwo, Coordinator, Budget and Planning Advocacy Partnership, Enugu, stated that the youthful age is not an age of carrying placards but a time for constructive involvement in understanding governance processes. The discussion on the Zonal Network of Radio Nigeria focused on how young people can get involved in following the budget and how the entire budget can be broken down for easier understanding for young people.
In order to further bridge the gap between young people and the budgeting process, South Saharan Social Development Organization through The Awakening Program hosted twenty-five Student Union Government (SUG) representatives from ten South Eastern universities on participation in budgeting and the need for young people to imbibe transparency and accountability as values and also demand same from their institution.
With the knowledge gathered from the training, it is expected that the students are better equipped in budgeting and on how to follow up on the provisions in the budget in order to be more involved in nation building.