Strong grassroots vital to enhance good governance

 

 

Unless the government builds strong grassroots capable of fully participating in project proposing and decision making process, questioning and tracking public finance expenditure, taxpayers’ money allocated for project implementation, especially in rural areas will continue to yield poor results.

This observation has been made here over the weekend by leaders of Kagera Development and Credit Revolving Fund (KADETFU), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), whose activities are also financed by the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS).

KADETFU leaders issued the caution when recounting to FCS on the results of the pilot project currently under implementation titled ‘Building Capacity for the Public, Village and Ward Leaders in Participatory Planning and Budget Process in Bukoba District’.

Syliveter Busanya, KADETFU Project Coordinator, said the organisation, whose mission is to protect human rights, conservation of the environment, facilitate promotion of social, economic, cultural development and thus empower the society to organize and fight for their needs through utilizing locally available resources, has so far visited eleven villages in Bukoba district.

According to him, in all areas they visited villagers appeared to have either very little or completely no knowledge on their civic rights, especially in holding leaders accountable in various matters while  members of Village and Ward Development Committees appeared to have little knowledge on their roles.

He said due to ignorance villagers were denied of their civic right to participate in initiating projects and tracking expenditures of development funds allocated for projects implementation in their areas.

In some areas KADETFU learned that village general meetings (village assemblies) were hardly convened, a trend that negatively impacted on village development matters, such making decisions on Land Use Plan ( LUP) and land conflict resolution.

“If the government wants to ensure that funds allocated for projects is judiciously spent then it has to invest in building capacity for the grassroots”, Busanya insisted.

“We, at KADETFU with the financial assistance of the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) have recorded significant results in areas where we have so far visited to implement this project. In the course of implementing this task we have noted that there is a pressing need for the government to collaborate with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to build capacity for the grassroots to enhance governance”.

Agastin Angelo, who also works with KADETFU as Project Coordinator, recounted that in areas visited by KADETFU villagers were now capable of pressing village leaders to convene general meetings and demand answers to various pertinent questions.

According to Angelo, KADETFU through FCS’ financial assistance is involving members of village and ward development committees in the training by focusing on the roles of each group, as far as governance is concerned.

“Though the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) through NGOs has all along been instrumental in building capacity for civil society in the country we think it must also direct its resources to strengthen the grassroots to be able to participate in decision making process, track public finance expenditure and also hold their leaders accountable,” he observed.

FCS organize a joint learning visit to Zanzibar CSOs

A two-day joint learning visit organized by the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) was an eye opener for representatives from the government, development partners and FCS Board members.

The delegation comprised of three development partners (DFID, SDC and the Danish Embassy, FCS Board members and the Foundation technical team led by Executive Director, Advocate Francis Kiwanga. The team visited five civil society organizations (CSOs) in Unguja funded through grants provided by FCS.

During the visit which also included discussions with project beneficiaries, delegates were happy with the initial outputs of the projects considering that implementation started in early October 2016. They advised CSOs to focus more on the sustainability, documentation of lessons and success stories and long-term outcomes of the projects if they were to be relevant to intended stakeholders.

FCS Board Chair Prof. Prosper Ngowi, Zabdiel Kimambo from DFID Jacqueline Ngoma from SDC and Stephen Shayo the FCS Board member were among the visiting delegates who constantly reminded CSOs on the importance of thinking about the outcome of all training and sensitization activities in the lives of the very people they wanted to improve for better. DPs and Board members challenged FCS to look into the capacity development gaps facing CSOs and support them to contextualize the projects.

“On the activity side I think they are doing fine but we have to focus more on the contextual aspects and sustainability issues if the project interventions were to be of relevant impact to beneficiaries”, summed up Mr. Kimambo.

During the team’s visit to the Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA) Zanzibar sub-office, the delegates were informed that 40 women and men who underwent series of sensitization seminars on human rights and legal matters affecting women and the general population have started changing their previous mindset on land and legal issues that affect them. The project is implemented in Unguja South and Central districts.

TAMWA trained core team beneficiaries in gender issues, rights and legal matters related to land and Kadhi. The organization has already reviewed published and disseminated documents on Land Act, gender policy and Kadhi Act to the House of Representatives, Zanzibar Law Reform Commission and other government departments, CSOs and DPs.  

On land, the organization has by December 10th handled and forwarded to relevant authorities 98 land complaints out of which 37 have been resolved.

“Before the training by TAMWA most of us did not know where to go and actions to follow up if men and unscrupulous people grabbed our plot…now most of us know what and where to take these matters to”, explained Fatima Hassan at Kikungwi village in Kikungwi shehia.

Unlike in the part when men were the first people to victimize their spouse in relation to land ownership, now they were becoming serious partners as Tatu Shaaban of Kikungwi village testified. “Our men have started to change for better. They support us when we raise our voices against other men who still want to continue with their land-grabbing attitudes”.

Visiting the Association of Non Governmental Organizations in Zanzibar (ANGOZA), the visitors were informed how the project to build the capacity of citizens to analyze budget and public expenditure tracking system were hailed as key to increasing accountability and good governance.

ANGOZA Project Coordinator, Hassan Khamis Juma said “More people were now showing interest in asking and scrutinizing government budget and funds because they know it was their money and they have the responsibility to see funds were properly used and accounted for”. He said his organization has also been conducting policy engagement sensitization and training to CSOs at the end of which every CSO had developed its wok and action plan.

At the Zanzibar Female Lawyers Association (ZAFELA), two children were among those who gave account of how the project has gradually been empowering them to raise their voice and know their basic rights and increase self esteem which also helped them in schools.

A Standard Five pupil at Mwanakwerekwe F School, Abdulhamid Abdi said “Now I am able to stand in front of adults and my fellow children and say what I had intended to say without fear or loss of words something which was impossible before the orientation by ZAFELA”.

On her part, Neema Said, a Form Three student at the Haile Selasie Secondary School was even more vocal against early marriage and pregnancy at a tender age. She called upon the community including all parents in disregard of whether the child in danger of developing into bad behavior belonged to them or not to be vigilant in protecting children from sexual abuse including early and forced marriages.

Jamillah Juma, ZAFELA’s Executive Director said the old myth that religion was a contributing factor behind infringement of women’s rights was now outdated because the Holy book has indicated the age of 21 for girls to marry.

The team travelled to Mangapwani, some 20 km north of Unguja to meet and hear how the Safari Development Organization (SADECO) and Zanzibar Youth Forum was engaging other youths in the Isles on land, rights and East African Integration under the umbrella of ANGOZA.

SADECO has already trained more than 90 young people of whom 33 were elected members of the first Unguja Central Youth Baraza. Sensitization sessions undertaken by the project funded through grants from FCS have empowered youths aged 15-35 years for the first time to realize that there is a youth policy and youth fund in their district.

Mbaraka Nassoro Mbaraka was optimistic that now that youth know the existence of the policy and Fund for them, they will make effort to engage other youths through the barazas and see how best to get and utilize youth Fund. “We did not know about the 2003 Youth Act and how youths should be part of the process to review policies and Act which established the district-based youth Barazas which decimated our development pace”.

Chama cha Malezi Tanzania (UMATI) in Unguja has made progress in the implementation of the project funded through FCS grants to empower communities  on legal and laws on local government.  Already 40 people have been trained and more than 400 through public meetings and debates on local government.

Thuwaiba Jeni Pandu one of those trained on the law and Act on shehiawas very vocal and called upon FCS to scale up the project to reach all five districts in Unguja. The project was currently being implemented in three districts of West, South and Central.

“There were gaps in working relationship between Shehas and the communities. Communities did not know the role of shehas and the leaders did not mind the role of communities in shaping up order in shehia”, she said and went on “Now, things are beginning to change”.

At the Zanzibar Association ofInformation against Drug Abuse and Alcohol (ZAIADA) the delegates had the opportunity to know the extent to which sensitization meetings on the rights of young people to participate in local government had reached. A short drama was performed with a message that Shehas should ensure young people were represented in planning and decision making.

France spot FCS for PISCCA grants in Tanzania

The France embassy in Tanzania in its framework of cooperation with civil organization in Tanzania has entered into a subsidy agreement with the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) worth 126, 314,000 Tanzanian shillings to cover its capacity building and monitoring component to its projects lying under PISCCA. PISCCA stands for Programme of Innovative from Civil Societies and Coalition Actors which now the FSC will be required to monitor and train its grantees.

Currently these projects are running in six regions namely; Kigoma, Iringa, Morogoro, Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar. The signing of the agreement with the FCS, took place at the France Embassy in Dar es Salaam, on 25th November 2016. Signatories from two parties were; Her Excellency Malika Berak, the Ambassador of France in Tanzania and The FCS Executive Director, Advocate Francis Kiwanga.

 

Funded PISCCA CSOs in Tanzania includes: Friends of Lake Tanganyika (FLT) with the Biomass charcoal briquette project in Kigoma; Medical Women Association of Tanzania (MEWATA) with its youth empowerment on reproductive health in high schools and in Universities famous known as ‘Amka Kijana’ project in Iringa; Tanzania Support for Women Rights(TASUWORI) with a capacity enhancement for effective poverty Monitoring and Local Government Reforms in Morogoro, Uigizaji na Ngoma za Asili (UNA) with an out of school youth empowerment in Dar es Salaam; White Orange Youth (WOY) with community empowerment for addressing GBV for women, Children and young people in Kilimanjaro and; Zanzibar Climate Change (ZACCA) with organization in climate change governance and accountability in Zanzibar.

FCS marks the first Giving Tuesday in Dar

The Foundation for Civil Society has marked the first Giving Tuesday in Tanzania by supporting disabled students at Uhuru Mchanganyiko Primary School in Dar es Salaam.

The event also colored by Bongo flava artists, Barnaba a True Boy singer and Miriam, (a disabled young talented musician and a former student of the school). Teachers and students attended the occasion which marked the unique philanthropic event.

Giving Tuesday is celebrated worldwide, Tuesday after Thanksgiving. “In Tanzania, it has never been celebrated before, “thanks the Foundation for Civil Society for bring it here,” says Ms Anna Mshana, the Uhuru Mchanganyiko Head Teacher.

Presenting his introductory remarks, The FCS Executive Director, Francis Kiwanga, said the foundation recognizes people with special needs and the idea of bringing Giving Tuesday in Tanzania, was to showcase the ideal of philanthropy in the country.

The idea of this event is to tell company owners, organizations and individuals the role of giving back to their community. We as FCS have noticed this room and have tried to fill in the gaps. We are inviting others to do similar events,” he said.

In doing so, all FCS staffs deducted their salary at a rate of 1% each for six month, and the amount was spent in renovating one students toilet at the school. Apart from that, the organization received some contribution from individuals, companies and organization which was also presented yesterday.

The guest of honour, who is the Assistant Director of Administration at the Ministry of Education, Mr Pancras Steven said, the Ministry gives a lot of appreciation to the FCS for conceiving the idea of this years’ Giving Tuesday.

We are happy that you have introduced this great thing in our country. Please let it not be the last. Also, we thank you for considering this school as it needs a lot of attention from our people,” he said meaning that the school has special treatment and it needs some requirements that are very expensive and it is difficult for the government or parents alone to suffice them.

 

The Uhuru Mchanganyiko Head Teacher Ms Anna Mshana used the event to convey her warm gratitude to the management ond staffs of the foundation and other partners who contributed to the event. “You have done a great deal. We real appreciate,” she said adding that, the Uhuru Mchanganyiko community will use the contributed stuffs as planned and they do welcome other organizations to support the school.

FCS facilitates youth initiatives in Dar

The FCS official, Nasim Losai, (above) opening Youth Training in Dar Es Salaam. 

The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) has facilitated a three days training on Business Potentialities, Laws and Regulations for Tanzanians Youth to engage in East African market. The training has launched today 21st November 2016 in Dar es Salaam and it aims at capacitating youths from Tanzania to realize their dreams in the East African market. 

Speaking during opening of this training, the FCS official, Nasim Losai, said the foundation is keen in supporting groups with special requirements and it has found that, Tanzanians youth require more knowledge on East African business potentials. She added that, the Foundation recognizes Tanzanian government initiatives through its various youth programs and it wants to see them engage directly on issues of integrations.

We are here to support our youth. We need them to realize challenges feature them and be more effective in engaging directly with outcomes of the EAC integration,” she said and added;

 “We are instructing them with prospective skills and it is our hope that they grasp this knowledge and share with their peers. It is hard to bring a big number here, but our facilitators are making it possible to mentor them theoretically and practically. After this session, they are urged to go and share this knowledge with their peers,” she said.

A group photo of participants and facilitators of the three days Youth Training supported by FCS.

Subcategories

Contact us

THE FOUNDATION FOR CIVIL SOCIETY

  • Tel: +255 22 - 2664890-2
  • Fax: +255 22 - 2664893

Connect with us

We're on Social Networks. Follow us & get in touch.
 

     

You are here: Home News Room