Map of Dominican Republic"Know where your dough is!" is the catchy refrain of this serious-minded jingle. Dominican Republic civil society groups, with support from the European Commission, have come together around a colourful campaign that urges citizens to press their local authorities to spend national cash on the things that matter to them.

Played on radio since October last year, the jingle is just a small but vocal part of a wide-reaching campaign calling for more equitable distribution of the national cake and a greater share of the national budget to go to social services.

The campaign for "A budget to end poverty and exclusion" was launched by Foro Cuidadano, a group of Dominican civil society organisations, with the financial support of the European Commission.

Foro Cuidadano, which means; 'citizens' forum', wants to see more of the Dominican Republic’s national resources going to education, health, housing, social security and sanitation. And they’re using music to call on all the country’s citizens to speak up and join the campaign.

"I don't believe it when they say there is no money,” goes the jingle. “Another year without going to school…. Our children's health is not a game….the budget and housing aren't either. We ask for justice, free of exclusion and poverty" and it ends with the refrain: "Know where your dough is going!”

To listen to the jingle, click on the icon below.

Foro Cuidadano

Despite years of steady economic growth in the Dominican Republic, poverty andFlag of Dominican Republic inequality rates haven't decreased accordingly. Some 42 percent of Dominicans live below the poverty line, according to the World Bank. Estimates by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean suggest that between 2000 and 2005, the richest 10 percent of Dominicans accounted for 38 percent of national income, while the poorest 40 percent received only 10 percent of the national cake.

"Dominican Republic is famous for its low investments [in basic services]," a representative of Foro Cuidadano told local newspaper, Hoy. "Every time spending in social sectors decreases, it is a violation of the Constitution and of the international agreements signed by Dominican Republic on social and economic rights."

Foro Cuidadano says that the Dominican Republic has one of the worst social records in the Caribbean region. The 2006 World Bank Poverty Assessment indicates that a considerable proportion of the population live in extreme hardship, without access to social services, sanitation, decent housing or schools.

Funding for this communication campaign was awarded by the European Commission to Centro Juan Montalvo, which is a member organisation of Foro Ciudadano. Created in 1998, Foro Cuidadano represents more than 250 Dominican civil society groups ranging from religious, youth, women and farmers’ organisations to trade unions. Together the membership of Foro Cuidadano aims to promote common positions on political, economic and social issues.

The European Commission supports a number of Dominican civil society organisations pressing for public sector reform. Many include communication activities and studies to disseminate information on the Dominican national budget and enable key civil actors to have a say in how national resources are spent.

Click here for more pictures of the "For a poverty and exclusion alleviation budget" campaign.


DISCLAIMER: This information is provided in the interests of knowledge sharing and capacity development and should not be interpreted as the official view of the European Commission, or any other organisation.

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