CSOs see prospects of thriving within networks

Some Civil Society Organisations in Tanzania have advanced their ‘business case’ to work more closely with their respective regional networks so as to have a greater impact  in addressing common issues of interest in the community.

This was said by different participants at the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) Information Session conducted in mid July that aimed at informing CSOs on the FCS Strategic direction and how well it can continue working closer with CSOs.

Pilika Fumbo from Mbozi NGO Network in Mbeya region confessed that some CSOs at one point might have gone astray by choosing to work in isolation, but what matters now is joining efforts in solving matters of common interest for the whole community and the nation at large.

Philimon Mwansansu from Mbeya City Non-Governmental Network and his fellow CSO stakeholders also see the need for these networks to reach out to more organisations so as to have a stronger base which can impact many lives of people in the community. 

He added that the CSOs networks speaks on behalf of individual organisations when addressing the roles of CSOs in different development issues, as well as contributing to formulation of different policies in the country. Thus, the Networks should have a systematic coordination with wider reach of organisations so as to better respond to the need of targeted communities. 

Stakeholders underline FCS continued quest to building CSOs capacity

Some Civil Society Organisation (CSO) stakeholders have hailed the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) decision in reaffirming its position to continue building CSOs capacity in Tanzania since it is still pertinent, and highly needed.

The remarks was raised by the chair of Jukwaa la Katiba Tanzania (JUKATA), Mr. Deus Kibamba  on 8 July at an information session conducted by the FCS to its grantees and other civil society organisations in Dar es Salaam.

The matter ensued in the wake of FCS Executive Director, Mr. Francis Kiwanga, unveiling the apparent FCS Board of Directors’ decision to terminate all the on-going projects that were deemed as long overdue – with an exception of all CSOs capacity strengthening interventions, and all other special projects conducted through funds from the ILO, IRC (Wekeza), and EQIPP. Projects on People with Disability (PwDs) engagement in the 2015 elections will also remain intact.

“The level of CSOs capacity in this country is still not good enough. I encourage the FCS to continue venturing into this area as pledged,” said Mr. Kibamba flanked by other participating stakeholders during the session. 


Speech by H.E Ambassador Gertude Mongella, at the official opening of the African Grant-makers Network (AGN) assembly in Arusha, Tanzania

Held at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC), 1st July 2015.

Dear distinguished leaders in philanthropy,
Leaders of the African Grant Makers Network (AGN),
The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS)   
The African’s Women Development Fund (AWDF) in Ghana,
Invited guests,
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen

•    First and foremost, may I take this opportunity to thank Organizers and all of you, distinguished participants, for everything that you do that will contribute to and sustain the growth of African economies through philanthropy.

•    Philanthropy is a concept and practice embedded in African cultures and traditions. It’s a great honour to appear before you all and officiate this third Assembly of the African Grant-makers’ Network (AGN). The programme of this assembly contains the action oriented sessions - that will provide significant roadmap for building the leadership to drive an agenda for philanthropy in Africa.

•    My special thanks go to the African Grant-makers Network (AGN) Secretariat; the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) and the African Women's Development Fund (AWDF) for convening such a thoughtful assembly. It will enable leaders in philanthropy, practitioners, academia, the media and other key actors to join the conversation and participate in action - oriented sessions. Discuss strategies which will contribute to sustainable, just and peaceful development in Africa through philanthropic engagement. This is a very good course!

•    The Concept of Philanthropy; Is it a new concept in Africa to be learnt and adopted?
-    Philanthropy is embedded in the culture and traditional practices in Africa.  The givers and the receivers  both have dignity and respect in society
-    Giving and sharing is very African. We give at every moment and stage of our lives, at birth, celebrations, weddings, funerals, rituals…
-    Generosity to neighbours, friends, relatives and (foreigners) is very visible and embedded in our daily lives.
-    Thus, the philosophy of UBUNTU is based on giving and believing; “You are because I am and I am because you are

•    Philanthropy worldwide is a Non Governmental engagement. At this juncture the work of this AGN secretariat cannot be underestimated since the Assembly will provide a platform to showcase the experiences, contributions, good practices at the same time and opportunity for knowledge building across the continent. Among others it will address
-    The African development needs
-    Peace and security
-    Political instability
-    Economic growth
-    Strengthen leadership
-    Empowerment of Special groups –Women, youth, children as agents of change
-    Re-examining and domesticating the regional and international agreements with the African Philanthropic touch by drawing upon regional normative frameworks and agendas (AU and UN).
-    Consideration of mobilization and utilization of resources
-    Dissemination of information on the challenges faced in Africa
-    Development of strategies to overcome the challenges

•    The Role of people, Community groups, private sector, wealth individuals and institutions in African Philanthropy to create an enabling environment to give to activities that empower the disadvantaged. A need for special focus to women, youth, children, the elders and people with disabilities.

•    Finally, I wish you fruitful discussions and a successfully assembly.

•    With these few remarks, may I declare that this third AGN assembly is now officially opened!

•    Thank you for listening and I wish you all the best.

FCS proves successful in co-hosting 3rd African Grant-makers Network assembly in Arusha

The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) has proven successful in co-hosting the third biennially assembly of the African Grant-makers’ Network (AGN) in Arusha, Tanzania from 1 - 3 July 2015.

Ahead of this achievement the FCS collaborated with the African Grantmakers Network (AGN) secretariat based in South Africa and the African Womens' Development Fund in Ghana. The trio altogether managed to host over three thousand participants from different parts of the world.

During the opening of the assembly, the guest of honour, H.E Ambassador Gertude Mongella from Tanzania reminded philanthropists not to always think of offering their surplus as a giving - but go beyond it by giving what their neighbours really need.

"The spirit of giving is primarily African, so lets embrace it so as to be able to serve the vulnerable groups in communities," she reminded.

The assembly also witnessed some of unrivaled pieces of conversations with thought leaders in philanthropy - opening new chapter of oriented sessions on strategies to contribute to sustainable, just and peaceful development in Africa through philanthropic engagement.

This year's theme “Philanthropy in Africa 2015 – People, Policy and Practice” sought to unearth good practice through knowledge building, research, experience sharing and skills building in each of these critical areas. The program will foreground contributions to philanthropy in Africa by critical constituencies such as women, youths and other marginalised groups. This exciting action focused program has gone in history bringing together thought leaders, practitioners, academics, the media and other key actors to the table in Arusha, Tanzania for the first time.

The assembly conference also culminated in the Second AGN African Philanthropy Award Gala, which recognized and celebrated outstanding contributions to philanthropy on the Continent.

At the awards, Kagiso trust based in South Africa emerged the winner in the category of the Philanthropy Organisation of the year while, Mr. Akwasi Aidoo of West Africa became the Individual Philanthropy category winner.

* African Grantmakers Network (AGN) - Voice and Action for African Philanthropy is a continent-wide network of African grantmaking organizations that facilitates networking and experience-sharing among established and emerging African philanthropic institutions. AGN aims at consolidating the voice for African philanthropy to address social injustice and development issues on the continent.

2015/16 budget ‘responds’ to advocacy on care for the elderly

The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) supported interventions on advocating for the care of senior citizens - in line with the 2003 National Ageing Policy - seems to have paid off as the national budget for 2015/16 fiscal year presented on June 11 appears to have addressed that pertinent policy issue.

Presenting the TZS 22.5 trillion budget, Finance Minister Ms. Saada Mkuya Salum, among others, highlighted the priority sector allocations including: education, infrastructure, health, agriculture, energy and minerals as well as water. But with a special mention, she later said as for senior citizens, the government will increase the minimum monthly pension for retirees from TZS 50,000 per month to TZS 100,000. 

This is a commendable change despite the fact that not all senior citizens present in the country have once been employed, and thus eligible for the pension benefit.

In the previous year alone, for example, the FCS supported a total of 64 organisations in different parts of the country to help articulate the welfare of older people in line with the 2003 National Ageing Policy. As a result there, has been establishment of older people’s councils, increased access to their free medical services as well as stimulating community participation to care for the older people. The supported CSOs also managed to establish a total of 106 older people’s councils in 11 regions to advocate for senior citizens' rights such as poverty, disease and inadequate care.

No wonder, the said increment on the minimum monthly pension for retirees from TZS 50,000 per month to TZS 100,000 can easily be inferred to the specific supported advocacy attributable to the FCS. But special thanks also go to other interested stakeholders, including the government itself, for having shown the candid willingness to support this good course. 




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