For Oxfam, fiscal justice is about all people having the space, voice and agency to exercise their rights and influence the fiscal system – whatever their gender, class, religion, ability. We enable individuals, groups and communities to influence and monitor fiscal systems, mobilizing greater revenue and increasing spending on public services.

Fiscal justice is critical in addressing extreme inequality and poverty. More than technical tax or budget systems, it is about power, politics and support in the fight against inequality. Our vision puts active citizens and the civil society organizations at the heart of our approach – paying particular attention to commonly overlooked groups, and the barriers to their voices, issues and participation.

Oxfam’s Fiscal Accountability for Inequality Reduction – Even it Up! (FAIR-EiU) program unites the work of Oxfam and partners in over 40 countries. To find out more, download the concept note.

Here you can find the Track Record of Oxfam’s fiscal justice & inequality work including case studies, videos, and reports. These bring together our approach, impact and learning on fiscal justice in areas such as citizen engagement, social accountability, budget monitoring, tax and spending.

Featured country case studies are available in English, French and Spanish.

Citizen mobilization and increased transparency for better budgets

Citizen-led campaigning, capacity building of civil society, and engagement with different authorities and ministries has been at the heart of work over the past two years in the areas of tax, budgets and active citizenship in OPT. Together with MIFTAH, AMAN and ARIJ, Oxfam in the OPTI combines strategies on both the demand and supply side of the governance process; strong public campaigning to mobilize citizens on the one hand, and increasing transparency and accountability on governments’budgets for social services on the other.

This case study highlights the supporting and meaningful participation of citizens in government budget processes, and how citizens have amplified their needs and voice through a public campaign which rallied more than 42,000 people in Palestine.

Lessons Learned

  • Flexibility is key. Even though it is important to plan your campaign, it eventually depends how your audience and the authorities respond to your campaign that determines in which shape or form you can continue. In the case of the Money 4 Medicine campaign, the greatest threat was its’ success. Because of the pushback, the team had to reassess and adjust the campaign.

  • Considering the limited space for civil society organizations to operate in the OPT, it really helped that the issue of Money for Medicine was put central in the campaign, not Oxfam or the partner organizations behind it. No logos were used from any of the organizations. This provided the campaign team with the space to act, and citizens with space to engage with the topic.

  • Cooperation between Oxfam and its’ Finance 4 Development partner organizations MIFTAH and ARIJ, with the different Ministries show that increased fiscal transparency is possible, and an important way to ensure that Palestinian national and local budgets are more responsive to the needs of the poor and the marginalized.

  • Creating a positive track record of cooperating with a specific ministry can help in building relationships with other ministries as well. Showing that increasing citizens’ involvement in the budget process has helped the service delivery and the fiscal transparency of the ministry, as made it easier to engage with other Ministries as well.
Citizen mobilisation case study

Vietnam

Citizen engagement and influencing for fair taxation

The work in Vietnam illustrates how working on both the tax and the budget spending side of the fiscal system, while putting active citizenship at the centre of the approach can lead to strong fiscal justice gains.

By increasing citizen participation, and in particular women’s participation, transparency and accountability in the budget process is increased and promoted. When it comes to technical issues such as tax incentives, by promoting coalition building, multi-stakeholder dialogues, and being a credible actor with key expertise on taxation, Oxfam in Vietnam is continuously proving its value as an influencing actor.

This case study highlights examples of meaningful citizen engagement in local budget processes and successful influencing of the tax system using, making use of country-by-country reporting, that strengthens tax transparency and tackles tax avoidance in Vietnam.

Lessons Learned

Citizen engagement case study
  • When engaging with citizens as part of budget monitoring or social accountability work, it is important to be aware that our agenda as civil society organizations might be different from what citizens think is most important. The issues that citizens themselves have identified as needing change, will also be the issue where they find most motivation and engagement to act upon.

  • It is worth exploring possible cooperation with unusual allies, such as Oxfam in Vietnam did with the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce (VCCI). Even though their interests might seem worlds apart at first sight, both actors could find a common interest in increased transparency for multinational corporations with active operations in Vietnam.

  • Working in coalition with civil society organizations, think tanks, research institutions and other experts has ensured a mutual strengthening of each other’s technical and influencing capacity. The reach and influencing power of the collation on both tax and budget issues has increased due to collective action. In broader sense, coalition building helps to strengthen civil society, and makes civil society more effective in holding the government accountable for effective policies and implementation.

Citizen engagement and influencing for fair taxation

The work in Vietnam illustrates how working on both the tax and the budget spending side of the fiscal system, while putting active citizenship at the centre of the approach can lead to strong fiscal justice gains.

By increasing citizen participation, and in particular women’s participation, transparency and accountability in the budget process is increased and promoted. When it comes to technical issues such as tax incentives, by promoting coalition building, multi-stakeholder dialogues, and being a credible actor with key expertise on taxation, Oxfam in Vietnam is continuously proving its value as influencing actor.

This case study highlights examples of meaningful citizen engagement in local budget processes and successful influencing of the tax system using, making use of country-by-country reporting, that strengthens tax transparency and tackles tax avoidance in Vietnam.

Lessons Learned

  • When engaging with citizens as part of budget monitoring or social accountability work, it is important to be aware that our agenda as civil society organizations might be different from what citizens think is most important. The issues that citizens themselves have identified as needing change, will also be the issue where they find most motivation and engagement to act upon.

  • It is worth exploring possible cooperation with unusual allies, such as Oxfam in Vietnam did with the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce (VCCI). Even though their interests might seem worlds apart at first sight, both actors could find a common interest in increased transparency for multinational corporations with active operations in Vietnam.

  • Working in coalition with civil society organizations, think tanks, research institutions and other experts has ensured a mutual strengthening of each other’s technical and influencing capacity. The reach and influencing power of the collation on both tax and budget issues has increased due to collective action. In broader sense, coalition building helps to strengthen civil society, and makes civil society more effective in holding the government accountable for effective policies and implementation.
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Ghana

Improved fiscal governance through active citizenship

In Ghana citizen engagement is central to improving government transparency and accountability, all the more so after the financial crisis that followed the 2012 elections. In a country where 50% of the population is between 18 and 35 years old, young people are instrumental in creating change.

To get young citizens to engage in influencing policy change, the key to success has been music and culture! Through online and offline conversations including Ghanaian musicians and celebrities, youth are informed and encouraged to vote in a government that would work to reduce inequality in the country.

Oxfam and partners in Ghana are also working to increase the transparency and accountability of local and national governance. Through the now famous Shama model, citizens get to understand what their tax payment is contributing to and are able to have a say into budget allocations for local level development of their community. At the national level, a broad based civil society coalition has found a way to voice their recommendations to the government public finance management system using the IMF to build pressure.

This case study highlights the effective fiscal justice influencing for the Ghanaian government to set up a more progressive public finance management system, whilst working to increase active citizenship at the local and national level.

Lessons Learned

Understanding the issues that matter to youth, the conversations they are interested in and their influences is helpful in connecting with this generation. Including pop-culture influencers in the civil society conversation about accountability and public finance management, drew young people into the debate. This enables a new generation of young active citizens to stand up in Ghana.

• Central to both the local and national level governance approaches are Ghanaian citizens themselves. They voice their needs, demand increased accountability of the government and are part of the development of their communities. Through organizing platforms for dialogue among citizens and government, Oxfam supports their voices being heard. Active citizenship is at the heart of this approach.

• Establishing a diverse strategic partnership (including civil society organizations, think-tanks and grassroots movements) has strengthened the call for greater accountability in Ghana. Standing together with a unified voice enables a strong, sustained dialogue between citizens and government. In this manner, we voice a continuous demand for accountability.

Use global institutions and international influencing spaces as strategic levers for top-down pressure. The use of the IMF and World Bank influencing spaces in a multi-level civil society-led campaign with direct representation by citizens can lead to policy reform processes and implementation of improved fiscal responsibility at the national level.

Improved fiscal governance case study

Agriculture Budget Advocacy in Ghana

In Ghana more than half the population depends on agriculture for their livelihood. In the last decade the government has made commitments to increase and improve agriculture spending and ensure that it supports female and male smallholder farmers.

Despite this, Ghana continues to lag behind in agriculture development and food security. Government spending priorities continue to be heavily influenced by income from oil and minerals, and receiving foreign aid, rather than building on farmers' and citizens' priorities and needs.

Partner organizations and Oxfam in Ghana are working together to improve agriculture budget allocations and policies and to create more opportunities for citizens to influence decision-makers. They are doing this through:

  • joint evidence-based advocacy
  • strengthening the capacity of citizens and journalists
  • creating spaces for citizen engagement
  • bringing the issue to a wider audience through media
  • campaigning during public moments (e.g. elections)

These efforts have opened up space for civil society to engage with government on issues related to the agricultural budget and policies.

Lessons Learned

  • Be creative in using political opportunities. The team was sharp enough to jump on opportunities indirectly associated with the agricultural budget to help them achieve their goals. For example, a multi-regional advocacy strategy during the 2016 election campaign resulted in a number of agriculture commitments and the 2013 Oil for Food campaign resulted in a commitment from the Government of Ghana to allocate a portion of the country's oil revenues to smallholder agriculture.

  • The key to success lies in the way you partner. Oxfam in Ghana is partnering with a strong set of national and local organizations who engage in both agriculture and budget advocacy, and who work at the local level in Ghana. For the most part partner organizations play a leading role and Oxfam a supportive, less visible, role. This approach recognizes national and local partners' leadership and expertise and is more effective in advocacy with national authorities

  • There is power in using traditional media and social media to attract attention. The key is to know which type of media to use for which audience, and to package messages in a way that your stakeholders can best use them. This could be by broadcasting radio shows with key information about your project, or by creating an infographic to share on social media.

  • Plan some time for peer-to-peer learning exchange. Partners and Oxfam staff have a rich experience that should be shared across other teams and countries to improve agriculture advocacy efforts elsewhere. Plan for extra effort in documenting and sharing the lessons of the work through more traditional means (presentations, webinars, reports) as well as more creative mediums (e.g. videos and stories).
Agriculture Budget Advocacy case study
 
 
Kenya

Fiscal justice for women and girls

Through its work on the Fiscal Accountability for Inequality Reduction (FAIR) programme, Oxfam in Kenya aims to influence decision makers to take action on progressive taxation and budgeting processes. It aims to equip citizens and civil society organizations with the knowledge and skills to feed into public finance management processes, including monitoring of spending and the delivery of public services.

A focus on women and girls is at the centre of Oxfam in Kenya’s programming. This case study shows how three closely interlinked Oxfam projects – Wezesha Jamii, WE-Care and Gender-Responsive Budgeting (GRB) – benefited women at the economic, political and social levels. This holistic approach encompassed many different areas, including economic empowerment, social protection, social norms, unpaid care, political participation and budgeting.

Lessons Learned

Kenya case study
  • Information is key. Oxfam and its partners engaged in awareness-raising and ensured that people knew their rights regarding social protection. This led to an increase in registration for social security schemes. Sharing information was also important when engaging with youth. Budgeting can seem like a very technical topic, but when the right information is given, young people are aware and claim their rights as taxpayers.
  • Address social and cultural norms. Policy influencing is important, but the willingness (or otherwise) of decision makers and stakeholders to change policy or behavior is often rooted in prevailing social norms. To change social and cultural norms, not only women should be targeted but also men, as they have a great say on decisions at both the household and the community levels.
  • Combine strengths and avoid working in ‘silos’. The GRB project successfully combined the expertise of the Institute of Public Finance Kenya, the National Taxpayers Association and Youth Alive Kenya to achieve outcomes that might not have been realized without the partners making use of each other’s knowledge. The integrated approach of the three projects – Wezesha Jamii, WE-Care, and GRB – also exemplifies the strength of working collaboratively across different programmes.
  • Identify policy and legislative measures that support the work you are doing. In the case of Kenya, these were policies such as access to information and the right to public participation, both of which are enshrined in the country’s constitution.

Fiscal justice for women and girls

Through its work on the Fiscal Accountability for Inequality Reduction (FAIR) programme, Oxfam in Kenya aims to influence decision makers to take action on progressive taxation and budgeting processes. It aims to equip citizens and civil society organizations with the knowledge and skills to feed into public finance management processes, including monitoring of spending and the delivery of public services.

A focus on women and girls is at the centre of Oxfam in Kenya’s programming. This case study shows how three closely interlinked Oxfam projects – Wezesha Jamii, WE-Care and Gender-Responsive Budgeting (GRB) – benefited women at the economic, political and social levels. This holistic approach encompassed many different areas, including economic empowerment, social protection, social norms, unpaid care, political participation and budgeting.

Lessons Learned

  • Information is key. Oxfam and its partners engaged in awareness-raising and ensured that people knew their rights regarding social protection. This led to an increase in registration for social security schemes. Sharing information was also important when engaging with youth. Budgeting can seem like a very technical topic, but when the right information is given, young people are aware and claim their rights as taxpayers.
  • Address social and cultural norms. Policy influencing is important, but the willingness (or otherwise) of decision makers and stakeholders to change policy or behavior is often rooted in prevailing social norms. To change social and cultural norms, not only women should be targeted but also men, as they have a great say on decisions at both the household and the community levels.
  • Combine strengths and avoid working in ‘silos’. The GRB project successfully combined the expertise of the Institute of Public Finance Kenya, the National Taxpayers Association and Youth Alive Kenya to achieve outcomes that might not have been realized without the partners making use of each other’s knowledge. The integrated approach of the three projects – Wezesha Jamii, WE-Care, and GRB – also exemplifies the strength of working collaboratively across different programmes.
  • Identify policy and legislative measures that support the work you are doing. In the case of Kenya, these were policies such as access to information and the right to public participation, both of which are enshrined in the country’s constitution.
Uganda case study

Uganda

Fair taxation through evidence-based advocacy and active citizenship

Oxfam in Uganda is working with civil society organizations (CSOs) to amplify the voices and fiscal needs of Ugandan citizens. In its Finance For Development programme, Oxfam is promoting fiscal justice to tackle inequality in the country by empowering citizens to exercise their rights through actively engaging with power holders.

Citizens engage on issues of public revenue collection (taxation) and public spending in the healthcare, education, social development and agriculture sectors, thereby seeking greater accountability in public financial management (PFM).

This case study shows the power of swift and coordinated action, backed by a wide constituency of citizens, to change regressive tax policies. It illustrates how citizens can improve PFM at both local and national levels.

Lessons Learned

Uganda case study
  • It is important to influence not only government policies, but also international financial institutions (IFIs) that have an influence on these policies. For Oxfam, this meant taking the national CSO and citizen agenda to the headquarters of the IMF in Washington, and pushing for structured engagement between civil society and the IMF in Uganda. As a result Oxfam and other CSOs in the country now have regular opportunities to share their social perspectives and to bring an inequality lens to bear on the technical economic analyses carried out by the IMF in Uganda.

  • Citizen-led campaigns can open up and expand the space for debate on fiscal policy: they amplify the power of people in pursuit of fair fiscal policy reform. Campaigns have a greater impact if they are supplemented by timely research, evidence and awareness-raising. It is crucial to ensure that citizens are aware of their rights in order to uphold them and to hold government accountable.

  • Linking the local to regional and global levels pays dividends. Oxfam and its partners in Uganda have combined forces to better engage with IFIs, and in this work partners have been able to make use of Oxfam’s networks, relationships and technical guidance from other contexts.

Fair taxation through evidence-based advocacy and active citizenship

Oxfam in Uganda is working with civil society organizations (CSOs) to amplify the voices and fiscal needs of Ugandan citizens. In its Finance For Development programme, Oxfam is promoting fiscal justice to tackle inequality in the country by empowering citizens to exercise their rights through actively engaging with power holders.

Citizens engage on issues of public revenue collection (taxation) and public spending in the healthcare, education, social development and agriculture sectors, thereby seeking greater accountability in public financial management (PFM).

This case study shows the power of swift and coordinated action, backed by a wide constituency of citizens, to change regressive tax policies. It illustrates how citizens can improve PFM at both local and national levels.

Lessons Learned

  • It is important to influence not only government policies, but also international financial institutions (IFIs) that have an influence on these policies. For Oxfam, this meant taking the national CSO and citizen agenda to the headquarters of the IMF in Washington, and pushing for structured engagement between civil society and the IMF in Uganda. As a result Oxfam and other CSOs in the country now have regular opportunities to share their social perspectives and to bring an inequality lens to bear on the technical economic analyses carried out by the IMF in Uganda.

  • Citizen-led campaigns can open up and expand the space for debate on fiscal policy: they amplify the power of people in pursuit of fair fiscal policy reform. Campaigns have a greater impact if they are supplemented by timely research, evidence and awareness-raising. It is crucial to ensure that citizens are aware of their rights in order to uphold them and to hold government accountable.

  • Linking the local to regional and global levels pays dividends. Oxfam and its partners in Uganda have combined forces to better engage with IFIs, and in this work partners have been able to make use of Oxfam’s networks, relationships and technical guidance from other contexts.
Uganda case study

Brazil Public Budget for South-South Cooperation

Brazil Public Budget for South-South Cooperation

Timeframe: 2016 – 2018

As part of a wider effort to influence the government to adopt mechanisms of participation, transparency and accountability, Oxfam Brasil, together with their partner Articulação SUL (ASUL), worked to increase the transparency and accountability of the Brazilian public budget for South-South Cooperation (SSC).

ASUL, with input from other civil society organizations in Brazil, built a new tool to monitor the federal public budget. The outputs of this tool were used for advocacy at the national and international level. At the same time, the data was made publicly available and helped ASUL and Oxfam raise public awareness on budget issues and support citizens to engage with the public process.

Lessons Learned

Brazil public budget case study
  • It is smart to combine your policy influencing work with budget analysis efforts, but technical expertise is key to analyzing the data, regardless of the topic you work on, be it South-South cooperation, agriculture, or anything else. In the case of ASUL, they recognized that they were not a budget monitoring expert, but that did not stop them. They found a technical budget specialist and gave themselves time to learn. It is important to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses, and then find the right people to help you move forward.

  • Play to your strengths and let your partners play to theirs. This is especially important at a time where space for civil society is shrinking in Brazil, particularly for those with an international identity. ASUL is an experienced partner who had prior relationships with key government officials, which helped open doors and increased the legitimacy of these budget monitoring efforts. Oxfam could focus on its strengths as a convener, both with civil society in Brazil and through its international networks.

  • Take a constructive approach and create a dialogue with your government. Take the time to build trust with the government and influence through building on what they are already doing, rather than just providing a critique.

  • Unexpected moments that look like challenges can turn out to be opportunities. The situation of financial crisis and political upheaval in Brazil enabled civil society to work a bit under the radar and make the most out of the chaotic situation. Of course, challenges such as high staff turnover in government and shrinking civic space remain. However, ASUL and Oxfam have learned that even in difficult situations there can be a way to effectively engage with government
 
 

Brazil Public Budget for South-South Cooperation

Timeframe: 2016 – 2018

As part of a wider effort to influence the government to adopt mechanisms of participation, transparency and accountability, Oxfam Brasil, together with their partner Articulação SUL (ASUL), worked to increase the transparency and accountability of the Brazilian public budget for South-South Cooperation (SSC).

ASUL, with input from other civil society organizations in Brazil, built a new tool to monitor the federal public budget. The outputs of this tool were used for advocacy at the national and international level. At the same time, the data was made publicly available and helped ASUL and Oxfam raise public awareness on budget issues and support citizens to engage with the public process.

Lessons Learned

  • It is smart to combine your policy influencing work with budget analysis efforts, but technical expertise is key to analyzing the data, regardless of the topic you work on, be it South-South cooperation, agriculture, or anything else. In the case of ASUL, they recognized that they were not a budget monitoring expert, but that did not stop them. They found a technical budget specialist and gave themselves time to learn. It is important to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses, and then find the right people to help you move forward.

  • Play to your strengths and let your partners play to theirs. This is especially important at a time where space for civil society is shrinking in Brazil, particularly for those with an international identity. ASUL is an experienced partner who had prior relationships with key government officials, which helped open doors and increased the legitimacy of these budget monitoring efforts. Oxfam could focus on its strengths as a convener, both with civil society in Brazil and through its international networks.

  • Take a constructive approach and create a dialogue with your government. Take the time to build trust with the government and influence through building on what they are already doing, rather than just providing a critique.

  • Unexpected moments that look like challenges can turn out to be opportunities. The situation of financial crisis and political upheaval in Brazil enabled civil society to work a bit under the radar and make the most out of the chaotic situation. Of course, challenges such as high staff turnover in government and shrinking civic space remain. However, ASUL and Oxfam have learned that even in difficult situations there can be a way to effectively engage with government
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Linking the fiscal debate to gender at national and local level

Oxfam in Bolivia connects the issues of tax and gender justice. Together with Bolivian Women’s Rights Organizations, Oxfam works to depatriarchalize power relationships and makes demands for public investment instruments that address the problems faced by women.

Oxfam invested in generating evidence and information. We used this evidence to directly approach local and national decision-makers. Alliances with national, regional and global actors, such as women’s rights organizations, were a key part of this work.

This case study highlights the experiences of Oxfam in Bolivia in:

  • coordinating its advocacy work on inequalities and taxation

  • applying context-appropriate influencing strategies

  • helping women’s organizations to institutionalize gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) at local levels.

Lessons Learned

Brazil public budget case study
  • Transform challenges, and social and political conjunctures into opportunities for debate. When the challenges start to be acknowledged by actors in positions of power, windows of opportunity can be found to identify common agendas and position issues in the public and political debate.

  • Connect the agenda and the grassroots of the programmes with influencing actions at various levels. Oxfam continues to be a strategic partner that links capacity-building in its partner organizations with political advocacy processes. The more connected the advocacy work is with the territories and grassroots of its long-term development programmes, the more credibility and legitimacy is generated.

  • Present data and messages in simple language that appeals to common sense. Fiscal matters and GRB can be very technical and complex. Therefore, it is necessary to develop narratives and communication strategies that appeal to common sense, are user-friendly and specific.

Linking the fiscal debate to gender at national and local level

Oxfam in Bolivia connects the issues of tax and gender justice. Together with Bolivian Women’s Rights Organizations, Oxfam works to depatriarchalize power relationships and makes demands for public investment instruments that address the problems faced by women.

Oxfam invested in generating evidence and information. We used this evidence to directly approach local and national decision-makers. Alliances with national, regional and global actors, such as women’s rights organizations, were a key part of this work.

This case study highlights the experiences of Oxfam in Bolivia in:

  • coordinating its advocacy work on inequalities and taxation
  • applying context-appropriate influencing strategies
  • helping women’s organizations to institutionalize gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) at local levels.

Lessons Learned

  • Transform challenges, and social and political conjunctures into opportunities for debate. When the challenges start to be acknowledged by actors in positions of power, windows of opportunity can be found to identify common agendas and position issues in the public and political debate.

  • Connect the agenda and the grassroots of the programmes with influencing actions at various levels. Oxfam continues to be a strategic partner that links capacity-building in its partner organizations with political advocacy processes. The more connected the advocacy work is with the territories and grassroots of its long-term development programmes, the more credibility and legitimacy is generated.

  • Present data and messages in simple language that appeals to common sense. Fiscal matters and GRB can be very technical and complex. Therefore, it is necessary to develop narratives and communication strategies that appeal to common sense, are user-friendly and specific.
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‘Let’s change priorities’: improve public spending for decent housing

Oxfam and its partner organizations in the Dominican Republic have been working for several years on issues related to public budgets and inequality reduction. In 2017, the team launched the ‘Cambiemos las Prioridades’ campaign to put decent housing on the political agenda and advocate for increased public spending on this issue.

This case study highlights Oxfam’s experiences in the Dominican Republic. It connects the inequalities and vulnerabilities that are generated when conditions of poverty and exclusion intersect with exposure to disaster risk, and ways of improving the state’s response in terms of public investment.

Lessons Learned

Dominican Republic case study
  • Strategically define the visibility of the population affected by the problem.Pay special attention to how the population most affected by the issue will participate during the campaign. Representatives of the most affected people and groups can be spokespersons for the campaign, lead and coordinate key activities and be involved in the design of proposals.

  • Establish alliances with groups and actors that already use social media. While social media offers huge potential that has not yet been fully harnessed, it is also a very competitive space. Establishing alliances with groups and actors that already have a captive audience in their social networks can be more effective than trying to start from scratch to position a problem or issue.

  • Undertake thorough and timely research. It is essential to back up proposals with thorough research in order to make advocacy viable. Research provides key data and can also help highlight information gaps. It can also show which instruments and methods used by State and private institutions are areas for improvement.

‘Let’s change priorities’: improve public spending for decent housing

Oxfam and its partner organizations in the Dominican Republic have been working for several years on issues related to public budgets and inequality reduction. In 2017, the team launched the ‘Cambiemos las Prioridades’ campaign to put decent housing on the political agenda and advocate for increased public spending on this issue.

This case study highlights Oxfam’s experiences in the Dominican Republic. It connects the inequalities and vulnerabilities that are generated when conditions of poverty and exclusion intersect with exposure to disaster risk, and ways of improving the state’s response in terms of public investment.

Lessons Learned

  • Strategically define the visibility of the population affected by the problem.Pay special attention to how the population most affected by the issue will participate during the campaign. Representatives of the most affected people and groups can be spokespersons for the campaign, lead and coordinate key activities and be involved in the design of proposals.

  • Establish alliances with groups and actors that already use social media. While social media offers huge potential that has not yet been fully harnessed, it is also a very competitive space. Establishing alliances with groups and actors that already have a captive audience in their social networks can be more effective than trying to start from scratch to position a problem or issue.

  • Undertake thorough and timely research. It is essential to back up proposals with thorough research in order to make advocacy viable. Research provides key data and can also help highlight information gaps. It can also show which instruments and methods used by State and private institutions are areas for improvement.

Dominican Republic case study

Mobilizing citizens and civil society to put fiscal justice on the national agenda

Oxfam and its partner organizations in El Salvador are working to promote tax justice through comprehensive, transparent and fair fiscal reforms that strengthen tax collection and support the implementation of progressive public spending.

This case study highlights how influencing work took place in a context of limited opportunities, with a polarized debate and citizens that did not naturally make the link between taxation and rights. The government were open to engaging in dialogue about inequalities and taxation, but had little margin to approve and implement changes.

Lessons Learned

El Salvador case study
  • Establish the debate in the long term. Local actors, including civil society organizations, must constantly adjust their agendas and strategies due to recurring socio-political crises. Consequently, the fiscal issue is not given high priority. Strategies must be developed to strengthen the capacity to integrate the fiscal perspective in a more permanent way, connecting with its sectoral struggles, to keep fuelling the debate in the longer term.

  • Deepen and expand alliances with women’s and youth organizations. Inequalities affect women more deeply. Failing to address the lack of opportunities and inclusion of young people compromises the development of the societies of tomorrow. Working closely with both groups led to the development of a fiscal perspective in the women’s and youth rights agenda. Including the voices of these groups strengthens the legitimacy of proposals.

  • Assume an organizing, connecting and facilitating role. Oxfam and its partner organizations assumed these roles to facilitate dialogue and debate between social actors, cooperation actors and the Government of El Salvador. This approach enabled discussion and the assessment of possible scenarios around the development of a fiscal agreement.

Mobilizing citizens and civil society to put fiscal justice on the national agenda

Oxfam and its partner organizations in El Salvador are working to promote tax justice through comprehensive, transparent and fair fiscal reforms that strengthen tax collection and support the implementation of progressive public spending.

This case study highlights how influencing work took place in a context of limited opportunities, with a polarized debate and citizens that did not naturally make the link between taxation and rights. The government were open to engaging in dialogue about inequalities and taxation, but had little margin to approve and implement changes.

Lessons Learned

  • Establish the debate in the long term. Local actors, including civil society organizations, must constantly adjust their agendas and strategies due to recurring socio-political crises. Consequently, the fiscal issue is not given high priority. Strategies must be developed to strengthen the capacity to integrate the fiscal perspective in a more permanent way, connecting with its sectoral struggles, to keep fuelling the debate in the longer term.

  • Deepen and expand alliances with women’s and youth organizations. Inequalities affect women more deeply. Failing to address the lack of opportunities and inclusion of young people compromises the development of the societies of tomorrow. Working closely with both groups led to the development of a fiscal perspective in the women’s and youth rights agenda. Including the voices of these groups strengthens the legitimacy of proposals.

  • Assume an organizing, connecting and facilitating role. Oxfam and its partner organizations assumed these roles to facilitate dialogue and debate between social actors, cooperation actors and the Government of El Salvador. This approach enabled discussion and the assessment of possible scenarios around the development of a fiscal agreement.

El Salvador case study

Young Peruvians fighting inequality and fiscal injustice

In Peru, young people are taking part in the debate on fiscal justice and inequality by connecting with investigative journalists, academics, movements, and civil society organizations. Through the digital platform Actua.pe this active citizenship is further strengthened online, using creative visuals to inform the debate on issues that citizens care most about.

This creative method is helping citizens to make the connection between taxation policies and the provision of social services- such as health care - in a concrete way. With increased citizens awareness on the one hand, and strong national advocacy on taxation and fiscal issues on the other, Oxfam and partners in Peru are effectively working towards sustained change.

This case study highlights the engagement of youth participating in public debate on fiscal justice and inequality, and shows the power of mobilizing people to become true agents of change.

Lessons Learned

Young Peruvians case study
  • Connect across generations: Invite young people to the table and engage with them at the same level as other stakeholders. Provide them with the autonomous space they need to inform their political opinion and the impetus for action. 

  • Empathy, intersectionality and creativity are essential: Move your conversation beyond your usual networks. Discuss the issues in real time and connect with a variety of movements. Being creative helps to convey the messages. Use humour, cartoons, memes, social networks, and GIFs to connect with a broader audience.

  • Combining a specific fiscal issue that needs to be changed (tax exemption) with a topic of public interest: for example, health services for the treatment of cancer. When the connection between taxes and public spending is clearer, it is easier to gather support for the fiscal justice agenda.

  • Abstract and complex topics become relevant to the public when they connect to specific cases. Provide clear examples of how state capture works is key to success. Connecting academia, journalists and activists has been essential in sharing how state capture is affecting peoples’ lives.

Young Peruvians fighting inequality and fiscal injustice

In Peru, young people are taking part in the debate on fiscal justice and inequality by connecting with investigative journalists, academics, movements, and civil society organizations. Through the digital platform Actua.pe this active citizenship is further strengthened online, using creative visuals to inform the debate on issues that citizens care most about.

This creative method is helping citizens to make the connection between taxation policies and the provision of social services- such as health care - in a concrete way. With increased citizens awareness on the one hand, and strong national advocacy on taxation and fiscal issues on the other, Oxfam and partners in Peru are effectively working towards sustained change.

This case study highlights the engagement of youth participating in public debate on fiscal justice and inequality, and shows the power of mobilizing people to become true agents of change.

Lessons Learned

  • Connect across generations: Invite young people to the table and engage with them at the same level as other stakeholders. Provide them with the autonomous space they need to inform their political opinion and the impetus for action. 

  • Empathy, intersectionality and creativity are essential: Move your conversation beyond your usual networks. Discuss the issues in real time and connect with a variety of movements. Being creative helps to convey the messages. Use humour, cartoons, memes, social networks, and GIFs to connect with a broader audience.

  • Combining a specific fiscal issue that needs to be changed (tax exemption) with a topic of public interest: for example, health services for the treatment of cancer. When the connection between taxes and public spending is clearer, it is easier to gather support for the fiscal justice agenda.

  • Abstract and complex topics become relevant to the public when they connect to specific cases. Provide clear examples of how state capture works is key to success. Connecting academia, journalists and activists has been essential in sharing how state capture is affecting peoples’ lives.
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