Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) conducted a two-day learning session from 29th – 30th October 2020 to its 15 grantees implementing social inclusion interventions, particularly in the electoral circle to ensure the optimal participation of People with Disabilities in 2020 Tanzanian general elections. The FCS funded organizations are Disabled Peoples Organizations (DPO) and People with Disabilities Organizations (PDO).
The learning session is part of a FCS’s continued efforts to build the capacity of its grantees to equip them with skills to capture reports change stories verified and well documented along with the lessons and recommendations from partner organizations and beneficiaries that are a result of outcomes of interventions.
The objectives of the project interventions was to make electoral authorities to be more responsive of the needs of people with disabilities in such that they take into consideration all needs for People with Disabilities amid the voting process respectively to their groups. Another objective was to achieve a more Election manifesto which is more reflective of the needs of People with Disabilities. Lastly, it was for the political party’s nomination processes to be inclusive and accommodating of the needs of people with disabilities.
Rehema Malonga, FCS capacity development program officer, said, “The main objective in this 2-days training is to increase the capacity of grantees in documenting and reporting changes as they have finalized their project interventions. Another objective of the training is to train grantees to accurately collect, verify and feed upon the progress reports shared to various stakeholders, including Development Partners. These sessions continue to enhance the internal capacities of organizations.”
Speaking during the training, FCS Programe Officer, Ms Eveline Mchau, stated that the training seeks to increase learnings within FCS and partners from the model that has been used in these types of projects, i.e. Rapid Funding Model & the Continuant of funding of the course for up scaling. She also added ‘’In the training, we also want to learn on the context analysis that has brought significant policy changes and reflect on other open space for advocacy campaigns for systemic changes.”
Speaking about the impact and story of changes as a result of social inclusion interventions, Ms Mchau talked about Elizabeth Ruth, a deaf woman living in Morogoro who through CHAVITA Morogoro’s interventions, decided to run for Special Seats in the post of Councilor and won the elections. Among CHAVITA’s activities involved encouraging people with disabilities to vote through awareness campaigns, visited polling stations to ensure that they were accessible for people with disabilities and conducted meetings with electoral commissions on providing an enabling environment for people with disabilities to take part in elections.
“Elizabeth’s story is powerful. She inspires women and people with disabilities to chase their dream. That anything is possible. She is going to help everyone in her community, Showing that she might be deaf and have a disability, but that doesn’t mean she cannot work in democratic and decision decision-making. She is the face of change. “, Ms Mchau said.
‘This project from the Foundation for Civil Society has been of great help for people with disabilities. Few people with disabilities were interested in participating in the voting process because of the lack of friendly environments and inclusion in the processes. But now, after getting awareness and for friendlier voting environments, many people living with disabilities have developed an interest in participating in the voting process and even run for seats. I am also proud that I decided to run for special seats and was able to win “, explained Elizabeth.
Foundation for Civil Society has been working in the civil society sector for over 18 years in development processes and poverty reduction initiatives since her establishment, engaging with different Disabled People Organizations funding various Disability focused projects and interventions in Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar as part of its efforts to work towards social inclusion of people with disabilities.