The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) conducted Manage your Grants (MYG) training for 15 civil society organisations implementing a 36-month project dubbed “Uraia Wetu” funded by the European Union (EU) and which aims to promote meaningful participation of civil society in multi-stakeholder policy processes and strengthen CSOs’ capacity to promote public accountability.
FCS launched the “Uraia Wetu” project in early May 2023. As part of the project’s implementation, FCS issued sub-grants to CSOs in both Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar to undertake activities that will contribute to an improved and enabling policy framework and environment for effective civic engagement to promote democratic governance in Tanzania.
To ensure adherence in compliance matters and common understanding between FCS and its partners, the foundation conducted MYG training for CSOs implementing the “Uraia Wetu” project.
Speaking during the training, the FCS Executive Director, Mr Francis Kiwanga, said the project exemplifies FCS’ dedication to promoting and safeguarding human rights through dialogue, advocacy and technical interventions.
“These efforts target media freedom, access to quality information, peace and conflict prevention, civic participation (especially for women and youth), access to justice for vulnerable populations and anti-corruption initiatives,” he said.
Mr Kiwanga added that the “Uraia Wetu” project seeks to advocate an enabling environment for civil society for it to play its role as a key actor in democratic governance in Tanzania.
“The project has come at a very good time. The government has shown readiness and political will in reforming the Constitution. The ‘Uraia Wetu’ project will collectively help stakeholders in moving towards reforms,” he said.
The project’s pillars include promotion of basic rights, enhanced voice of the civil society sector, stronger citizens’ voice, participation of citizens in development and legal processes, coordination of the civil society sector and strengthening of regional CSO networks.
“We cannot bring about real development if citizens’ participation in development is absent. It is the responsibility of citizens to participate. The Constitution clearly states this responsibility. As citizens, let’s participate in village meetings and let’s use our voice to discuss our challenges and participate in national affairs. Let’s work together to address and resolve challenges in our communities. It’s the duty of citizens to assess whether a project is well suited for them. There are major national issues that are happening. Where are citizens’ voices?” Mr Kiwanga queried.
He emphasised the importance of peer-to-peer learning among CSOs. On FCS’ support in enhancing citizens’ voice in development, Mr Kiwanga said the foundation is, for example, working to enhance the voice of people with disabilities during elections.
“We are proud of the work we do in enhancing and increasing participation and the voice of people with disabilities in previous and future elections. Through FCS’ support to CSOs in various regions, participation of people with disabilities in elections has been facilitated and enhanced. Through our interventions, for example, braille has been used to promote access to elections and made it possible for people with disabilities to fill leadership positions. Ramps have been constructed and awareness of disability inclusion increased in the areas where we funded projects.’’
The FCS Finance and Operations Manager, CPA Ayubu Masaki, and Senior Risk and Compliance Officer, CPA Tusekile Anangisye, trained participants in general guidelines, information and requirements in implementation of the EU-funded project, financial planning cycle and Financial Management controls.
“We are accountable for the funds we receive from our donors. We are accountable to the communities in which we use the funds for community development. With proper planning and monitoring, you will reduce fraud since there will be internal controls due to a distribution of tasks. With a great policy, you can reduce fraud,’’ CPA Anangisye said.
“Financial Management is managing risks, more precisely internal and external risks arising from within and beyond an organisation’s control. Managing risk in organisations is good practice in Financial Management. There are a number of key building blocks in a strong Financial Management system – internal controls, accounting records, financial planning, financial monitoring, risk mitigation and putting in place solid risk mitigation strategies,” she added.