Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) and the Legal Services Facility (LSF) held their second learning session in Dar es Salaam on 25th April, following a successful first meeting last year that brought together teams from both sides. The learning sessions are meant to link up the two organisations through experience and knowledge sharing and discussions aimed at identifying entry points for strategic collaboration.
While FCS is among the biggest funding mechanisms and provider of capacity building services in Tanzania, LSF is an independent basket fund focusing on increasing access to justice for all, in particular for women, through a legal empowerment approach. LSF provides funding on equal opportunity basis in order to build legal aid and paralegal services for community empowerment.
While opening the learning session, Executive Directors from both organisations pledged more strategic cooperation and partnerships in their development work, with a view of reaching more communities and people with effective resources sharing approaches.
In his remarks, the Executive Director of FCS, Francis Kiwanga, noted that the two institutions are partners with the same agenda of helping citizens who face similar daily life challenges in their communities. He adds “As development organisations, we go through the same lessons and challenges in our line of work. This series of learning sessions started last year for our two organisations. There is a need for participation of more stakeholders and peer organisations, including the media. And interestingly, there are similar initiatives in the works by other institutions”.
One of the key issues discussed was how can civil societies avoid overlapping in their work, especially for grant-making organisations such as FCS and LSF. The teams reviewed mechanisms to avoid duplications and competition on the same geographical areas while serving the same communities.
“We seek to build strong institutions that deliver better services to citizens” says Mr Kiwanga.
On his part, LSF Director Kees Groenendijk agreed that following last year’s learning session, there have been more operational contact at departmental level which is beneficial for both LSF and FCS. He called on both organisations to strengthen and nurture the collaborative effort initiated by widening the scope to include other stakeholders.
“Technically, we face similar challenges. We have same degree of comparability in our work. Let’s share information and learn from each other. We share the same agenda and pride in our work and approach. We need to look together into collaborations structurally to benefit both our institutions” adds Mr Groenendijk.
The full day learning session looked into many aspects of operations at Foundation for Civil Society as well as at the Legal Services Facility. These include:
– Sustainability and resources management
– Information dissemination and communications
– Development Partner relations
– Operation and grants management
– Capacity development and
- State of civil society in Tanzania