Participatory Budgeting in Cameroon

The Africa Research Institute recently published a paper entitled “The Booklovers, the Mayors, and the Citizens: Participatory Budgeting in Yaounde, Cameroon.” The paper examines how different actors came together to establish participatory budgeting in the capital even though there has been a weak level of democracy and an absence of tradition of public service in…

Analyzing the Evolution and Effectiveness of Participatory Institutions in Brazil

Since Brazil adopted a new constitution in 1988, a significant development of participatory institutions – such as participatory budgeting and a variety of policy councils – has been taking place to create opportunities for citizens to participate in policy making, implementation, and evolution. Are these participatory institutions actually making a difference? In the event “Social…

Review – Bootstrapping Democracy

Comparing eight municipios, or towns, in Brazil, Bootstrapping Democracy investigates whether participatory budgeting (PB) reforms make a difference in deepening democracy and empowering civil society. While the authors acknowledge the need for an initial “blueprint” of the best way to institutionalize PB, they emphasize the importance of the “bootstrap” – the local-level innovations that adapt…