Minimizing Land Conflicts: The work of Morogoro Paralegal

Many people own land due to its necessity in most social and economic activities, but not all of them know the laws governing land ownership. This has caused many land conflicts that can be challenging to solve. In Morogoro, a CSO called Morogoro Paralegal Center, funded by Foundation for Civil Society, implemented a project to address this issue.

In Mngazi village, one of the villages where the project was implemented, land conflicts were the order of the day. According to Octavian Kobelo, the Village Executive Officer before the implementation of the project, in a day, an average of 6 to 7 cases would be brought to them and many cases would also be taken to the Ward Council. This wasted a lot of valuable time that would have otherwise been spent in more forward-leaning development activities. These challenges were also influenced by the fact that most people did not have title deeds for the lands they owned.

Morogoro Paralegal’s intervention included creating a team of 15 mobilizers and educating them together with village leaders on the importance and the process of obtaining a title deed. These mobilizers would then go house to house educating their fellow villagers on this issue, and even addressing the challenge of land ownership for women. At first, some people resisted but as more and more people bought into the idea, the whole village was caught up. Up until the end of the project in March this year, Morogoro Paralegal had facilitated the availability of 100 title deeds.

Mr Shaaban Kimwaga, the Village Chairperson says the education they received and the mobilization done by the team has greatly influenced their village. After the project, the village leadership receives one or two cases as a daily average, a drop from the 6 to 7 cases they used to get before the project.

The attitude toward land ownership by women has also changed. Previously, men wouldn’t let women register their names on title deeds making it even easier for men to kick women out of their homes when they differed in thoughts. Ms. Sinahamu Swala, one of the community mobilizers that was trained by Morogoro Paralegal says, “my motivation to join this was the injustice I had seen my fellow women go through in being denied land ownership and the unfair treatment that arouse from that.” After the project, however, as Mr Shaaban, the Village Chairperson attests to, the situation has changed. “These days both the man and woman come in together to begin processing a title deed. In a few cases when men come alone, we advise them to bring their wives along in the process,” says Mr Shaaban.

This wave of women owning land was greatly influenced by the case of Ms Asha Ali Kitogo, a mother of two, who separated with her husband and went to court to demand her share of the assets. Having won in Primary Court, the former husband took the issue to a district court and Ms Asha had to get support from Morogoro Paralegal and the trained mobilizers in Mngazi village as well as the village leadership. She won this case as well and the husband has had to give her 3 acres of farmland, 1 mill, 2 bicycles and get her a house.

The education on land ownership and the mobilization done by volunteers such as Ms Sinahamu has motivated the community to come together and contribute bricks and money to build a registry office to keep documents for the village as well as provide space for their Ward Land Council to meet.

This is the impact of education in solving what is on the onset a legal issue. This intervention by civil society has been able to not only affect the land conflict challenge but also spearhead development in land rights for women and the involvement of the community in development.

The power of community action in development: The work of KOCD

Kilombero Organization for Community Development, previously known as Kilombero Group for Community Development is a Civil Society Organization based in Kilombero, Morogoro but running projects all across Morogoro. Funded by Foundation for Civil Society, KOCD has been able to leverage the power of civil participation in development to improve education in the wards of Kidatu, Mofu, Mlimba and Mbingu. This project was implemented between October 2016 and March 2017, and its impact can be traced to this date in the areas that benefited from the project.

KOCD intervention began by a survey of the challenges in the Education sector, and sharing the findings with the district council. KOCD also tapped into the power of citizen participation and trained the members of school and village committees on tracking of public expenditure and created an awareness of the responsibility that lies upon the community to develop their schools. These committees then became agents of change, mobilizing their communities to take ownership and responsibility and contribute to the development of their schools.

Ihenga Primary School is one of the schools that benefited from the collective power of parents and villagers in contribution. Ihenga Primary School has 1222 students, 400 being in kindergarten. However, all these students only have 4 classes to share among the 8 grades they have. According to the Assistant Head Teacher, Ms Siyawezi Selemani, about 50% of the class period would get lost because students of different classes have to share rooms and so teachers enter classes in turns. Teachers would also use the shade of a tree as their staff room and that posed an inconvenience in their work and diminished their morale.

However, after the school and village committees attended the seminar, they came back and mobilized the community to join hands in improving the learning conditions. At Ihenga Primary School the school committee organized meetings with parents and the village committee helped mobilize all village members to join in. They had to address challenges such as some villagers thinking that because their children do not go to the school then they do not have any role to play in its development, and in the end the whole village of about 2000 people came together and were able to build two new classes and a staff room, raising the total number of classes from 4 to 6. The government has promised that when the community has been able to build a class it will complete the finishing. This partnership between the government and its citizens seems to be speeding up development of educational infrastructure.

The community’s success in building the two classes and the staff room has significantly minimized the number of learning periods that are lost due to class sharing, has boosted the morale of teachers who now have their own staff room, and has inspired the villagers and school committee to do even more. The committee is constantly engaging parents and villagers and asking them to propose interventions. Recently, they have started working on building two more classes and 20 latrines for the school. All this a result of the intervention by KOCD in educating the school and village committee on taking responsibility and holding the government accountable in Education spending.

Jitegemee, Mlimba, and Kidatu Primary Schools were other beneficiaries on the work done by KOCD in their project. School and village committees were educated on their responsibility in improving the schools as well as how to hold the government accountable in its education spending. The results were as impressive in these schools. Jitegemee Primary School, with 1187 students and 7 teachers, was able to build two 2 classes and 4 latrines. They were also able to mobilize the community to contribute and engage 4 temporary teachers (graduate teachers waiting to be employed by the government) to teach lower classes in order to increase the number of teachers at the school. “The community around the school is made up of farmers,micro-business owners, and civil servants, and the awareness that the school belonged to them helped in mobilizing them to take responsibility” says Ms Yalinda, the Assistant Head Teacher of the school.

Mlimba Primary School, with 1342 students, only had 10 teachers. However, through the education that the school committee had received in the training done by KOCD they were able to mobilize the parents through parent meetings, and resolved to engage 5 new qualified teachers to minimize the problem. With only 13 latrines, the community was mobilized to contribute and 8 new latrines were made, making a total of 21 latrine at the school. They have also made efforts in building teachers houses and supplying power to all classroom buildings.

Kidatu Primary School was also able to mobilize citizens and build 10 new latrine holes to be used by students. They also managed to use their resources to raise money: for example, they sold one of the trees they had to make timber and the proceeds added to the budget for installing a water system in the new toilets.

These are just examples of the power of civil society in bringing about education. Kilombero Organization for Community Development was able to educate and mobilize these communities to use their collective power in solving challenges in education and holding the government accountable. The more the community gets involved in development efforts, the faster we can move ahead.

What Happens When Communities Take Responsibility: The Story of DIMATA

DIMATA (Dira ya Maendeleo Tanzania) is a CSO in Mvomero Morogoro that aims to engage the community in identifying its challenges, causes and effects, and to find solutions through resources that are available in the community. With this mission, last year DIMATA implemented a Social Accountability Monitoring project in Education that was funded by Foundation for Civil Society.

It was observed before the project that several projects started in schools within Mvomero District were not seen to fruition and therefore there wasn’t much progress seen in these schools. DIMATA set to intervene by training the surrounding villages on the importance of their participation, and established monitoring committees in 6 wards of Mvomero District: Mlali, Mgeta, Langali, Lubungo, Melela and Msongozi. Their intervention led to significant progress in schools belonging to the 12 villages of these wards that benefited from the project.

Take for example Kinyenze Primary School in Mlali Ward where the community had contributed to build two classes with the hope that the government will roof the classes and complete the finishing. Unfortunately the government had not come through on their part and so the buildings stayed there for long without being used by students. DIMATA’s intervention was to convince the villagers to take ownership of the school and give meaning to the work they had already done in building the two classes. The villagers came together to roof and finish the two classrooms which are now being used

That momentum was carried on and they built one extra class and are on their way to completing a teacher’s house. Ms Grace Lukazi, the Assistant Head Teacher, admits that they previously had issues mobilizing the community that was hung up on the “Free Education” policy and were therefore not willing to contribute. However, DIMATA’s intervention helped them overcome that. Every citizen was able to contribute 50 bricks and TZS 2000 in building these classes. Some citizens also used their manpower in building the classes, making the classes a pure result of community effort.

Another school that benefited from the intervention was Lugono Primary School, also in Mlali Ward. Lugono’s challenge was a result of a misuse of community funds by the Head Teacher. Villagers had been contributing to build classes, however, before the goal was achieved, the Head Teacher at the time, used the funds for personal issues. This discouraged the villagers and made it hard for the school committee and village leadership to mobilize them for any other contribution.

DIMATA’s intervention was to train the villagers on the importance of not quitting the process because that would only affect their children. They coordinated with the District Education Officer for disciplinary action on the Head Teacher, and had him pay the sum of TZS 830,000 in installments. After the community saw that the Head Teacher was paying the money and there was transparency in the process, they began contributing once again and were able to build two new classes. They plan to complete two other classes and an office by September 2018. Alongside that they also contributed bricks and sacks of cement so they could build a teachers house. Over 4500 bricks and 25 sacks of cement were already collected from the community by the end of the project.

The Lugono community also got creative and tapped on the various farmers that have agriculture projects around their area, Telecom companies installing network towers and other institutions with branches in Lugono, asking them to contribute to the community in which they have invested assets. Through their effort in involving these stakeholders, they have secured 2 classrooms from St Agnes School that they can use for lower classes: standard 1 and 2.

DIMATA’s intervention in establishing Social Accountability and mobilizing the community around these projects led to similar fruitions in 10 other villages where their project was implemented, and funded by Foundation for Civil Society. This, again, demonstrates the power of Civil Society and citizens in bringing about development when they come together and take responsibility.

Giving Tuesday Tanzania 2017: A campaign to save lives of children

On November 28 this year, Foundation for Civil Society celebrated the global campaign of Giving Tuesday which aims at promoting philanthropy and the generosity of giving to the less fortunate through a campaign to support children with Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida at the Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute (MOI).

MOI is an autonomous institute at the Muhimbili National Hospital established in 1996 to provide primary, secondary and tertiary care of preventive and curative health services in the fields of Orthopaedics, Traumatology and Neurosurgery. According to recent statistics from the Ministry of Health, more than 4,800 children are born with Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida in Tanzania each year. Since 2005, MOI started a program for treating children with this condition and has recently been getting 400-600 new patients every year.

Due to a high magnitude of the problem, the institute is faced with multiple challenges in its operations in order to save the lives of these children. As part of its second annual celebration of GivingTuesdayTz, Foundation coordinated a blood donation camp on November 25 at MOI’s new wing at Muhimbili Hospital, which involved its staff and the public. The event was coordinated in collaboration with MOI and various partners from the private sector as well as the civil society.

During the GivingTuesdayTz celebration on November 28, Foundation handed to MOI financial contributions and various items donated for the children. These include wheelchairs, foodstuffs, toiletries, toys, crockery and others for children admitted at MOI and their parents.

This campaign enabled Foundation to raise funds for four surgical camps which operated on 100 children with Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida at MOI. Also, the children will be provided with medical insurance cover for a whole year while they are recuperating following the surgery.

 

Foundation is thankful to over 200 individuals, organisations and businesses, particularly Izzaz Medical Project and the Akhter Khakoo family, for their support for these surgical camps. 

FCS at 15: Spinning the wheels of civil society in Tanzania

On November 24th this year, the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) celebrated its 15th anniversary. This is one and a half decades of dedicated work to provide funding and capacity building services to one of the most vibrant and very crucial social sectors in modern Tanzania - the civil society sector.

Foundation hosted a commemorative summit with theme “Spinning the wheels of civil society” at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (JNICC). This event brought together Foundation’s Development Partners (DPs), civil society organizations, local as well as international development stakeholders, the media and representatives from the Government led by a staunch stakeholder of the civil society and long-time friend of Foundation, Hon. Jenister Mhagama, Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office responsible for Policy, Parliament, Labour, Employment, Youth and People with Disability.

Hon. Jenister Mhagama represented the Guest of Honour, the Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Hon. Mama Samia Suluhu.

The summit convened for a full day of themed keynote talks, policy reflections and plenary discussions looking at the role and contribution of Foundation and CSOs in the past 15 years of socio-economic development of Tanzania.

In her speech which was read by Minister Mhagama, the Guest of Honour commended the 15 years of cooperation between Foundation, the government, the civil society, development partners and other stakeholders on effecting positive changes to the lives of Tanzanians. “We are thankful and impressed by the Tzs 150 billion worth of grants issued to over 5,000 civil society organisations (CSOs) all over the nation. These have impacted the lives of thousands of Tanzanians. If it were an infrastructure project, it definitely would have been large scale”

She added that her government highly appreciate development partners’ assistance, particularly for their continued support to Foundation and the civil society sector in the country, and challenged CSOs to explore ways of working with the private sector through public-private-partnership (PPP) to sustain their operations and continue impacting the lives of more people.

The overall objective of this commemorative one day summit was to reflect on the role the civil society, and in particular Foundation, have played in supporting government’s efforts in achieving its goals and targets of bringing development to its people, especially the poor during the last 15 years, and on how to build upon these achievements for the coming years.

In his opening remarks, Foundation’s Executive Director Mr Francis Kiwanga revealed that the commemoration theme was aimed at reflecting the importance of the civil society sector in Tanzania’s national development. He reiterated appreciation towards development partner’s support in enabling Foundation to fund diverse projects in areas such as gender equality, children rights, land rights, awareness on HIV and AIDs, democracy deepening, citizens’ engagement and peace management.

The main events of the summit were in the form of participatory panel discussions and workshops in which respected analysts on social and development issues presented special topics of concern for Tanzania’s journey of development and the special role the CSOs have in this endeavour.

The panels and workshops involved discussion on a number of issues related to a broad range of relevant topics such as poverty alleviation, gender rights and relations, human rights, good governance, social justice, democracy and marginalization. These issues are not only of concern for Tanzania itself but also are on international agenda of development such as those in the UN2030 agenda for global development (SDGs) of which the civil society sector has a major role in their local realization.

In her speech on behalf of other development partners, the Swiss Ambassador to Tanzania, Her Excellence Madam Florence Tinguely Mattli lauded Foundation for recording notable achievements towards transforming the social and economic lives of poor Tanzanians through its support to the civil society. She says “Through your support to CSOs here, Tanzania has been recognized as having a vibrant and diverse civil society sector in Africa and around the world. We are confident that Foundation’s work is ensuring expanded democracy, improved accountability and realization of human rights of marginalized groups such as those of poor women, youth and the elderly”.

She added that “As Development Partners, we have therefore taken a step back and FCS – including its Board – is today a fully Tanzanian organization. However, we keep supporting Foundation’s mission and mandate as the organization continues to be the local grant making and CSOs strengthening pillar that Tanzania so much needs”

Throughout the discussions, the special relationship between the civil society sector with both the government and the corporate/private sector was tabled for discussion as an alternative source of sustainability for CSOs’ operations and the sector in general, which currently relies heavily on sole support from development partners. The summit agreed that these three parties need to work together in realising true socio-economic development and alleviating poverty for the masses.

 

The problems and challenges that Foundation and the civil society sector have experienced in the last 15 years are a stepping stone to more maturity for both the sector and Foundation. 

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