With support from Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) Kijogoo facilitated the formation of a Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys (PETs) committee. The members of the committee were elected by people in the village community meeting. Also, they were later trained on PETs techniques and on best ways to obtain information on income and expenditure in schools. The aim was to ensure citizenry in Mahenge are aware and enabled to monitor the expenditure of public fund and other resources available in schools to ensure the school-initiated projects keep accepted standard and value for money.
Sharing on how she became a member of PETs committee of which Kijogoo facilitated its formation one member, Ms Joyce Shikanga said ‘‘the village meeting was called and we got proposed by the meeting and elected.’’
How PETs has supported feeding in School
After the committee was formed and trained on PETs techniques, they started to monitor a school in Mahenge Urban. They found that despite the fact that the school owns business premises for renting there was no openness on income earned. On this Ms Joyce added; ‘‘we went to demand openness from the school administration who didn’t like the idea the first time when we met them. At the end, due to our follow ups, they accepted our demand for openness which was also supported by the school committee. There was improved money collection thereafter’’. Also, she hastened to add that; ‘‘Now the parents are contributing TZS 6,300/- per month instead of TZS 9,600/- they were supposed to contribute’’, The difference is coved through income generated from renting
Photo 2 Ms Joyce Shikanga and other PETs committee members from the left Mr Hansgary Kwanja and Mr Wahabi Dongwala
Accountability has improved money collection thus reduce the amount of money parents would have contributed for feeding programme in Mahenge Urban School. This is because the difference is now being covered up by money collected from school owned rented premises.
How we kept an eye on TSH 20mil
PETs project has also contributed to construction of a modern class which is used by the standard seven students at Mahenge B primary school. In this, the committee closely followed up on money provided by the government which was in two installments. The first release was TZS 8 mil and the second one was TZS12 mil, which brings the total to 20 mils. PETs committee had worked with the school administration to make sure reports on expenditure are displayed on school boards. This was to enable the public to monitor the proper use of funds and quality assurance. Further, the committee also thought the committee monitoring could and must be extended to materials procurement and construction.
PETs committee member Mr Wahabi Dongwala had this to say; ‘’There was a foot-dragging to construct a new class and in building other latrines for Mahenge B school. Kijogoo came and sensitize and mobilize people to contribute to labor to make the project come into realization. People became willing again after the teacher who was overseeing school projects was put aside following the pressure from the community and PETs committee. The new headteacher was brought in and managed to oversee the project completed’’.
To build the school latrine the communities’ members offered labor and also, they made blocks. The money for construction of new latrines was contributed from constituency fund. The new latrines built have 10 holes replacing the older ones which had 4 holes for more than 500 pupils.
Commenting on this Ms Happy Julia Ngulungu a teacher who worked with PETs before she was relieved of the tasks to oversee the construction projects in school said
‘‘The PETs committee has been effective in following up for these projects and providing us with a challenge to do better. Also, the committee has been following up pupils learning and development as the results pupils’ attendance has improved in our school. There is some success as Kijogoo has mobilized the communities to volunteer in school projects, its significances are evident in that learning environment in our school has improved’’.
Commenting on experience of using the new classroom a grade 7 pupil, Abdul Said (13) said; ‘‘the improved environment provided by this classroom ignite my self-drive to study hard and pass well on the coming national exams. We moved into this class in July this year (2019) when schools for this term opened, I feel good to use this classroom.’’
Collaboration improves education in Mahenge
In implementing this project Kijogoo has been closely working with the department of education for Ulanga district. On this collaboration, Mr. Discipulus Domino Gabriel (Assistant Academic Officer) said they have been working with stakeholders such as Kijogoo to improve learning in Ulanga. He added; “parents have been sensitized to contribute to feeding in schools, school stationaries, for example, there is someone who has contributed a printer and the parents have accepted to contribute for papers to printing exams’’