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In a workshop in Nigeria, participants were divided into groups and asked to imagine they were a family, each taking on the role of different family members. They were then given a basic salary and a list of household items to budget for. The group needed to prioritise, and as a second stage the exercise was made harder; asking them to choose between funding their daughter’s education or grandmother’s treatment for tuberculosis.

This exercise is useful to help people understand how different perspectives impact on the budget, and how difficult decisions need to be made. This can be expanded to look at choices in a school budget. People can discuss from their perspective (teacher, village leader, mother, father, girl, etc.) thinking about the various groups and the different things they need (teachers accommodation, children books, girls’ toilets, disabled children access, alternative learning materials, additional teacher training, HIV education, school meals, etc.) and then have a debate to produce the best school budget possible deciding what is fair and what would make for the strongest budget.