CSOs urged to revamp citizens’ engagement in the EAC integration

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that work for enhancing citizens’ engagement in the East African regional integration (EAC) have been asked to redefine their core roles and make citizens more aware of what is happening in each step of the process.

This was said by Mr. Francis Kiwanga, the Executive Director of the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) at a two day meeting held in Morogoro that saw the establishment of a Tanzanian CSOs chapter for enhancing citizens’ engagement in the EAC regional integration. 

The Tanzania chapter is part of the East African Civil Society Organizations’ Forum (EACSOF) coordinated by FCS through funds from TradeMark East Africa.

Mr. Kiwanga added that CSOs need to start working from the grassroots and provide key information on the benefits of the integration and how the process will affect their quality of life. 

EACSOF is charged with the role of fostering greater and effective civil society engagement in the EAC integration process. It is envisaged that through EACSOF, CSOs will build networks and institutional capacity so as to enable citizens benefit from the process.

CSOs Proactivity in Devising National Development Plans

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have been advised to be more proactive in the formulation of national development plans so as to collectively influence change processes and development in the community.

The remark was made by Mr. Francis Kiwanga, the Executive Director of The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) at a one-day national CSOs consultative forum organized by the FCS, to validate the proposed 2016/17-2020/21 Tanzania Five Year National Development Plan.

He challenged CSOs to be more engaging, ready to dialogue and take the lead in the formulation of national development plans to ensure that their views and concerns are included in these development plans rather than being reactive only after the plans have been formulated.

“CSOs are key development players in the realization of development goals and plans when it comes to implementation and monitoring aspects, starting from the grassroots level. Thus, it is important for CSOs to actively engage with our policy makers so as to adequately influence improvement and implementation of the Five Year Development Plan,” said Mr. Moses Kulaba, who was the forum facilitator.

“The proposed five-year development plan, which has already been presented in the parliament did not adequately consult views from the CSOs sector as one of key development stakeholders in Tanzania. Therefore, this forum calls for urgent CSOs inputs to ensure that some of the left out citizens’ concerns are being included in the final draft of the development plan document,” he added.

Mr. Zaa Twalangeti, a participant from Tanzania Association of NGOs (TANGO) said the government should recognize CSOs inputs by giving them the opportunity to air their views and comments on the final draft, as well as suggest ways of implementation.


FCS plans interventions with People with Disability

The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) has invited representatives from the Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) to identify specific areas of intervention to be funded by the FCS for the coming year.

Speaking at a meeting aimed at aggregating DPOs’ views on key interventions FCS can consider when targeting projects concerning People with Disabilities (PWDs), Mr. Dickson Mveyange, a stakeholder at the meeting, proposed for interventions aimed at creating an inclusive society where PWDs enjoy recognition and equal rights to education, health and other basic social services.

He also proposed more targeted disability awareness campaigns to reduce stigmatization. He also thinks advocacy would be key to awaken PWDs to stand up and add value to the community.

Mr. Luis Benedict from Tanzania League of the Blind (TLB) said: “Laws and Policies governing PWDs need to be re-addressed since there still exists some contradictions. Also, there is a strong need for strengthening and building the capacity of DPOs to enhance sustainability and growth, as well as creating good cooperation amongst the organisations.”

Gender and Health matters for PWDs was another focal area for consideration, particularly on issues affecting women and children with disabilities.


CEMOT stakeholders meet for evaluation report validation

The Coalition on Election Monitoring and Observation in Tanzania (CEMOT) project team has been advised to take full advantage of recommendations made on their evaluation report to achieve greater outcomes in interventions aimed for future general elections.

The remark was made by stakeholders who attended a one-day validation meeting of the evaluation report of the CEMOT project held in Dar es Salaam in mid May. Coordinated by The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) the validation meeting aimed at assessing the extent to which objectives of the project were achieved during the entire period of its operation.

Giving his remarks, Dr. Benson Bana, from Tanzania Election Monitoring Committee (TEMCO) appreciated the contribution from key stakeholders including Development Partners, government and others who enabled the 2015 electoral monitoring and observation work.

Presenting the draft evaluation report, the lead consultant, Mr. Chinedu Nwagu, said it was crucial to acknowledge the various challenges faced such as inadequate time for planning and preparation of the project. He said since project adoptation was delayed, there was little time for internal planning, evolution and adjustments. 

He was also of the view that election interventions should not be treated as one-time events but as a process to allow greater outcomes in future elections. 

Since CEMOT is a coalition formed by the Tanzania Election Monitoring Committee (TEMCO) and the Tanzania Civil Society Consortium for Election Observation (TACCEO), the lead consultant advised that the two locally based election observers need to create an opportunity for long-term citizens’ engagement in democratic process by going beyond elections, and endeavour to gain public empathy to rally behind key national issues.

CSOs seek coherent voice on Draft Five-Year Development Plan

Members of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the country have called upon one another to come up with burning issues that could be included or rectified in the proposed 2016/17-2020/21 Tanzania Five Year National Development Plan.

The initiative was reached at a one-day national CSO consultative forum held in in Dar es Salaam to validate the proposed 2016/17-2020/21 Tanzania National Five Year Development Plan. The forum was organized by FCS to enable the sector keep pace with other key stakeholders including the private sector, academicians, and researchers whose views have been forthcoming.

Providing a way forward, Mr. Irenei Kiria, the Executive Director of Sikika, a CSO focused on advocacy on health issues, said that each sector-specific CSO should be proactive and table core issues that are vital to enrich the draft Five-Year National Development Plan.

For his part, Mr. Edward Mbogo from the NGO Network for Dodoma (NGONEDO) said: “There is no depth of information pertaining to some sectors when you look at the Five-Year Development Plan. Hence, this platform should enable us all in the civil society sector to provide workable and alternatives issues that we deem fit.”

Mr. Kaganzi Rutachwamagyo from Inclusive Development Promoters and Consultants (IDPC) said the proposed Development Plan still shows little inclusion of special groups, especially on their social economic empowerment and other support services. He then proposed for the change of modalities.


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