Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) in collaboration with WAJIBU Institute and NGO Network for Dodoma(NGONEDO) organized the Civil Society Organizations Directors Forum in the Capital City Dodoma to empower CSOs and development actors to raise public awareness on the released CAG report and develop engagement forums to reflect and discuss key issues from the document. Such interactive forums aim at enhancing the effective engagement of the actors in promoting public accountability.
Chairperson of NGONEDO, Sarah Mwagasaid that such forums are important for assessing such public records and afford open dialogues that empower citizens’ participation in issues of social accountability monitoring. They enable them to understand key development issues related to planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
‘‘The Forum today allowed CSOs Directors to analyse the released CAG report 2017/2018. There is a need for citizens to reflect on issues detailed in the report to evaluate the government’s performance for the advancement of our nation. The public is unable to access such documents as this report. Also, the majority cannot analyse, interpret and understand such reports. So, this forum is an opportunity for CSOs Directors to reflect and discuss with experts on how a citizen can access the content of these reports.
When citizens understand these reports they hold the government to account. This report contains detailed information on the national government, local government and programmes implemented through citizens’ taxes. Therefore, it is the citizenry’s right to know how their taxes were collected and spent. Through the forum, the citizens have a platform that affords them all the key information in the simplest form.
Normally as a technical document, the CAG reports come with limitations on public accessibility, analysis and interpretation. These reports are usually voluminous packing up to 400 pages, which makes them difficult for a citizen to read and understand. Moreover, the reports are written in difficult professional language that is not easy for the public to easily understand.
Therefore FCS CSOs Directors Forum will facilitate such discussions in other regions to give civil society and citizens a platform to reflect on this report. This effort tries to bridge the knowledge gap among development actors and citizens in general, regarding key issues of public accountability highlighted in CAG reports.
During her opening remarks, Nasim Losai, FCS Senior Capacity Development Officer said that the forum is a platform for directors to discuss key national development issues and in such discussions, reflect on how they can help government and citizens achieve sustainable development. She also added that such forums facilitate discussions on the civil society sector, CSOs and their projects and the impact in communities they are being implemented.
The CSOs Directors Forum was initiated by FCS in 2015 and has mostly been hosted in Dar es Salaam, involving Directors of CSOs to discuss and engage on various development issues linking the civil society initiatives to citizens. These two forums on the CAG reports were held in Dodoma and Dar es Salaam. They will then be followed by others in Mwanza, Mtwara, Mbeya and Arusha. Our key social accountability monitoring partner WAJIBU Institute will be the lead party on the analysis and interpretation of the CAG report in this series of CSOs Directors Forum meeting.
The forums are expected to bring various outcomes including increased awareness on the CAG reports, increase public accountability and good governance in the collection and use of public resources.