How to map the budget cycle

Health Financing
Mapping the budget cycle will help you explore when decisions are made, by whom, and how you can engage directly or via champions.

WHAT is it?

The Budget Cycle Mapping tool (download available below) will give you a better idea of what the budget process looks like in your context. The tool will help you to check where you might need to work with champions and consider what evidence they will need.

The accompanying training slides (download available below) can help you to learn what the budget cycle is, explore the four stages in the budget cycle and identify how you can engage in each stage of the budget making process.

The coalitions that E4A support have found that having an increased awareness of the budget cycle and using this to inform their planning of advocacy interventions has increased the effectiveness of their engagement.

HOW do I do this?

You need:

  • The Budget Cycle Mapping tool
  • A group of people. If possible, this should include government officials, civil society and health providers.
  • Flipchart and post it notes


Important tips:

  1. Map the 4 broad stages of the budget cycle
  2. Identify the decisions relevant to your priorities, by whom and when
  3. Discuss as a group whether the decision making spaces are closed, invited or claimed
  4. Identify potential champions to help you to access closed decision spaces
  5. Discuss what evidence may help to convince stakeholders to champion your priority
  6. Feed this information into your advocacy


WHEN do I do it?

For best results, map the budget cycle at the start of your engagement in the health budget advocacy, to ensure that all your advocacy interventions are strategic from the outset. We have found that the coalitions we support find it helpful to revisit this mapping as part of maintaining an up to date understanding of the political economy of their context. They then use this to routinely adapt and update their planned advocacy interventions.


WHAT can I do with the information?

Look at the decision making map you have created and consider these questions as a group?

  1. Are there closed decision making spaces that citizens should be invited to contribute to?
  2. Is there information you need to fully participate in invited decision spaces?
  3. How can you claim access to decision making spaces? Are there joint coalitions between government and civil society that could help you to claim access to these spaces?
  4. In all of these decision making spaces, how are you making sure that you open up access to others who may find it more difficult to engage? For example, marginalised populations.


As you consider these questions, think about how the answers can inform additional advocacy interventions. Remember, that advocates not only have a role to play in improving health for all, but in strengthening the accountability system so that everyone’s voices can be heard in decision making processes.