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. 

Tanzania civil society held self-reflection to review 30 years of its work

On 13 and 14 of October, 2017 more than 60 civil society representatives from Tanzania gathered in Arusha for a two-day civil society organisations (CSOs) Self Reflection Meeting. During this meeting, CSOs directors, veteran CSOs practitioners, representatives from government, academicians and other stakeholders had a joint self-reflection by setting aside time to quietly and honestly review the civil society sector after 30 years of operation. The workshop addressed urgent and emerging concerns voiced by civil society in Tanzania, in the midst of the national trend of increased restrictions on the rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression. Participants discussed relevant laws, policies and practices in Tanzania as well as regional and internal reflection of the sector. They also agreed on national and regional advocacy priorities.

Key issues discussed

Challenges: The CSOs sector is faced with various challenges ranging from coordination, regulations (compliance issues), funding, sustainability of the sector, harmonious working relationship, management, power and succession plan, skewed accountability, reporting, continuous changing of objectives, internal conflicts, lack of transparency and accountability, CSO’s promoting things that contradict the rules and regulations of the government, NGO’s being used as political vessels especially during the election process, insufficient knowledge of the CSOs sector, human resource capacity to mention but a few. As solution, participants were urged to pay attention to details, share experiences, challenges and opportunities in order to have a common way of operating the sector.

Sector evaluation survey: The survey’s findings include the lack of solidarity in conducting various interventions and priorities as to what the sector wants to achieve as well as unhealthy relationships among CSOs and other stakeholders. This results into lack trust towards CSOs leading to the work of CSOs becoming ineffective. There is a need for a whole new and complimenting way of working that encourages cooperation, partnerships and unity among the CSOs.

Freedom and right to operate: There is a need to boldly defend civil society space as serious ingredient of CSOs as partners of development for the government, hence the sector should be demand driven and go with current global dynamics. There should be a mentorship programmes with continued learning efforts from other countries about their best practices, techniques and approaches in order to strengthen the sector here.

Regional experience sharing: Regional wise, it was discussed that in order to firmly locate the role of CSOs/NGOs/CBOs/FBOs in our society, there is a need to adopting innovative approaches that are effective and have impact to communities. More engagement is needed with the governments and our focus should be more consultative and less combative in interventions on the ground. Also CSOs should be more engaged at regional level at EAC, SADC and African Union. Participants also agreed there is need to seek national resource mobilization strategies for enhanced effectiveness.

 

Regulatory framework and compliance: Participants discussed various issues on laws, regulatory framework and compliance and it was recommended that there is a need to compile a compendium of all laws, policies, regulations and rules that are affect the operations of the sector in Tanzania and make periodic updates and have it shared across the sector.  

Dr. Stigmata Tenga elected President of Foundation

Dr Stigmata Tenga and the Executive Director Francis Kiwanga

On 28th September 2017, Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) held its Annual General Meeting at its offices in Dar es Salaam, which was attended by its Members, Board of Directors and the Management team. The meeting adopted the Annual Report and Audited Accounts for year 2016 and also elected Dr. Stigmata Tenga as the President of Foundation while Ms Olive Luena was appointed as a new Member. 

 

Ms Magreth Chacha and Prof Honest Ngowi at the FCS annual general meeting

At the same event Ms Margareth Chacha was appointed as the new Board Chairperson of Foundation while new Board Members were also appointed. 

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