Participatory Budget forum.  ©

Transparency International Lithuania Chapter photo

Partner – Transparency International Lithuanian Chapter

Location – Throughout Lithuania

Since 2021

Participatory budgeting is a process that enables students to actively participate in the decision-making process of allocating public funds. It represents a democratic tool that empowers communities (municipalities, or in this case, schools) to propose and decide on the public spending priorities. Through participatory budgeting, students have a voice in how public funds are spent, leading to an increase in transparent, inclusive and accountable governance. 

In order to build more cohesive societies and communities, there is growing interest in participatory budgeting, due to the pressing need to strengthen citizens’ skills and civic education competences, as well as to develop the ability to recognise disinformation and assess information critically. The project aimed to promote inclusive and transparent democracy from an early age, while strengthening the participatory budgeting community in Lithuania and engaging students in the decision-making processes in their schools and communities.

The project’s main objectives were to support schools and their community members to implement participatory budgets; engage students with interactive workshops and trainings; involve students and teachers from the Network of Schools for Integrity, and present them with model participatory budgeting examples; engage teachers and school administration members in practical training on how to integrate participatory budgeting activities into day-to-day learning; and present the main findings and experience of participatory budgeting in schools to national- and municipal-level decision-makers during advocacy meetings. Through the participatory budgeting activities, the dedicated budget was spent on various initiatives such as building bicycle stands, installing a drinking fountain, and introducing additional benches in a school park, amongst many others.

Through their participation in the participatory budgeting activities, the students increased their civic and financial literacy skills, while the school administrations and teachers enhanced their understanding of how to promote and implement such initiatives. Moreover, the engagement resulted in the fostering of social cohesion and mutual trust within the school communities, enabling them to collaborate on common agendas while developing trust, positive perspectives and inclusive narratives.

During the project:

Almost 4,000 students and more than 120 teachers and school administration representatives from 22 schools were directly engaged in participatory budgeting events and exercises

More than 7,300 students from over 70 different schools participated in participatory budgeting workshops on the topics of public speaking, civic and financial literacy

Over 100 teachers and school administration members from more than 80 schools nationwide took part in the practical training for teachers, titled "Participatory budget: experiences and practical tips for school communities"

This project was also acknowledged by the Government – the Ministry of Education, Science, and Sport of Lithuania has pledged to implement participatory budgeting in all the schools under its direct administration