FCS organize a joint learning visit to Zanzibar CSOs

A two-day joint learning visit organized by the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) was an eye opener for representatives from the government, development partners and FCS Board members.

The delegation comprised of three development partners (DFID, SDC and the Danish Embassy, FCS Board members and the Foundation technical team led by Executive Director, Advocate Francis Kiwanga. The team visited five civil society organizations (CSOs) in Unguja funded through grants provided by FCS.

During the visit which also included discussions with project beneficiaries, delegates were happy with the initial outputs of the projects considering that implementation started in early October 2016. They advised CSOs to focus more on the sustainability, documentation of lessons and success stories and long-term outcomes of the projects if they were to be relevant to intended stakeholders.

FCS Board Chair Prof. Prosper Ngowi, Zabdiel Kimambo from DFID Jacqueline Ngoma from SDC and Stephen Shayo the FCS Board member were among the visiting delegates who constantly reminded CSOs on the importance of thinking about the outcome of all training and sensitization activities in the lives of the very people they wanted to improve for better. DPs and Board members challenged FCS to look into the capacity development gaps facing CSOs and support them to contextualize the projects.

“On the activity side I think they are doing fine but we have to focus more on the contextual aspects and sustainability issues if the project interventions were to be of relevant impact to beneficiaries”, summed up Mr. Kimambo.

During the team’s visit to the Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA) Zanzibar sub-office, the delegates were informed that 40 women and men who underwent series of sensitization seminars on human rights and legal matters affecting women and the general population have started changing their previous mindset on land and legal issues that affect them. The project is implemented in Unguja South and Central districts.

TAMWA trained core team beneficiaries in gender issues, rights and legal matters related to land and Kadhi. The organization has already reviewed published and disseminated documents on Land Act, gender policy and Kadhi Act to the House of Representatives, Zanzibar Law Reform Commission and other government departments, CSOs and DPs.  

On land, the organization has by December 10th handled and forwarded to relevant authorities 98 land complaints out of which 37 have been resolved.

“Before the training by TAMWA most of us did not know where to go and actions to follow up if men and unscrupulous people grabbed our plot…now most of us know what and where to take these matters to”, explained Fatima Hassan at Kikungwi village in Kikungwi shehia.

Unlike in the part when men were the first people to victimize their spouse in relation to land ownership, now they were becoming serious partners as Tatu Shaaban of Kikungwi village testified. “Our men have started to change for better. They support us when we raise our voices against other men who still want to continue with their land-grabbing attitudes”.

Visiting the Association of Non Governmental Organizations in Zanzibar (ANGOZA), the visitors were informed how the project to build the capacity of citizens to analyze budget and public expenditure tracking system were hailed as key to increasing accountability and good governance.

ANGOZA Project Coordinator, Hassan Khamis Juma said “More people were now showing interest in asking and scrutinizing government budget and funds because they know it was their money and they have the responsibility to see funds were properly used and accounted for”. He said his organization has also been conducting policy engagement sensitization and training to CSOs at the end of which every CSO had developed its wok and action plan.

At the Zanzibar Female Lawyers Association (ZAFELA), two children were among those who gave account of how the project has gradually been empowering them to raise their voice and know their basic rights and increase self esteem which also helped them in schools.

A Standard Five pupil at Mwanakwerekwe F School, Abdulhamid Abdi said “Now I am able to stand in front of adults and my fellow children and say what I had intended to say without fear or loss of words something which was impossible before the orientation by ZAFELA”.

On her part, Neema Said, a Form Three student at the Haile Selasie Secondary School was even more vocal against early marriage and pregnancy at a tender age. She called upon the community including all parents in disregard of whether the child in danger of developing into bad behavior belonged to them or not to be vigilant in protecting children from sexual abuse including early and forced marriages.

Jamillah Juma, ZAFELA’s Executive Director said the old myth that religion was a contributing factor behind infringement of women’s rights was now outdated because the Holy book has indicated the age of 21 for girls to marry.

The team travelled to Mangapwani, some 20 km north of Unguja to meet and hear how the Safari Development Organization (SADECO) and Zanzibar Youth Forum was engaging other youths in the Isles on land, rights and East African Integration under the umbrella of ANGOZA.

SADECO has already trained more than 90 young people of whom 33 were elected members of the first Unguja Central Youth Baraza. Sensitization sessions undertaken by the project funded through grants from FCS have empowered youths aged 15-35 years for the first time to realize that there is a youth policy and youth fund in their district.

Mbaraka Nassoro Mbaraka was optimistic that now that youth know the existence of the policy and Fund for them, they will make effort to engage other youths through the barazas and see how best to get and utilize youth Fund. “We did not know about the 2003 Youth Act and how youths should be part of the process to review policies and Act which established the district-based youth Barazas which decimated our development pace”.

Chama cha Malezi Tanzania (UMATI) in Unguja has made progress in the implementation of the project funded through FCS grants to empower communities  on legal and laws on local government.  Already 40 people have been trained and more than 400 through public meetings and debates on local government.

Thuwaiba Jeni Pandu one of those trained on the law and Act on shehiawas very vocal and called upon FCS to scale up the project to reach all five districts in Unguja. The project was currently being implemented in three districts of West, South and Central.

“There were gaps in working relationship between Shehas and the communities. Communities did not know the role of shehas and the leaders did not mind the role of communities in shaping up order in shehia”, she said and went on “Now, things are beginning to change”.

At the Zanzibar Association ofInformation against Drug Abuse and Alcohol (ZAIADA) the delegates had the opportunity to know the extent to which sensitization meetings on the rights of young people to participate in local government had reached. A short drama was performed with a message that Shehas should ensure young people were represented in planning and decision making.

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