FCS conducts joint monitoring tour of projects in Kigoma, Kasulu

The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) has conducted a joint monitoring tour of its projects in Kigoma-Ujiji and Kasulu district from 27- 29 April.

This time around participants of the joint monitoring tour of projects comprised of some FCS Board Members, the Management and representatives from the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), the Swiss Development Corporation (SDC), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Ministry of Community Development, Gender & Children.

The joint monitoring visit is normally prepared to enable the Development Partners get a feel of projects that are being implemented by the FCS through the Development Partners’ basket funding.

Youth CSO propels Thabit from zero to nearly TZS10m capital gain

Thabit Athuman is one among 30 emerging young entrepreneurs that have been ‘incubated’ by the Nyakitonto Youth for Development Tanzania based in Kigoma Ujiji through the Youth to Youth Fund (Y2YF) supported by the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) with funds from the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Standing confidently on 27 April 2015 before participants of the FCS Joint Monitoring tour projects in Kigoma region - comprising of some FCS Board Members, the Management and representatives from the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), the Swiss Development Corporation (SDC), the ILO, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Ministry of Community Development, Gender & Children, the youthful Thabit confessed that he now has graduated from what he calls “worthless” to an emerging entrepreneur with nearly TZS 10 million capital gain.

Thabit’s compelling ‘capital gain’ testimony is a result of a more improved soap making business that has been aided by his improved and aggressive marketing skills crafted by the Y2YF project - under the FCS partnership with the ILO.    

Thus, before welcoming Thabit’s testimony, the Nyakitonto’s project coordinator, Mr. Joel Nkembanyi, said through training programs the organisation has enabled over 30 youths in 3 wards of Ujiji to gain entrepreneurship and technical skills in the production of palm oil and palm nut oil processing.

“We are proud to share the Thabit’s testimony, which is one among the youths who have started seeing changes in their lives through soap making under our ‘Palms for Youth’ project - managed by the FCS with funds from the ILO,” said Joel.

In his own testimony, Thabit said: “After the entrepreneurship training I managed to develop a good business network and more so, was the art of taking risks so as to ‘break evens’ in my soap products marketing. At the beginning I was working at somebody’s local soap making workshop but later on resorted to produce my own - bit by bit. I thus took an initiative to take loads of soap cartons to Mwanza markets, selling mine first and did a middleman’s job to others’ products.

“I then realised that the soap making business was really paying. I even befriended other people with huge capitals who then trusted my words just by looking at what I was doing and my desire for greater success in this soap making business. So I started from a zero capital. Later on got a soft loan from a business partner and eventually made a capital gain of over TZS 3 million after repaying all the debts. I was therefore marketing and selling my own tones of soap with lorries – plying their trade between Kigoma, Mwanza and Mara regions.”

He went on: “Now I can’t regret, I have been able to accumulate a capital gain of nearly TZS 10 million. This would not have happened without developing my entrepreneurship skills to graduate from a casual labourer in soap making industry - to someone who does soap making for himself and selling products profitably without any strings attached.”

Thus, for Nyakitonto and Thabit in particular, are the testimony in the success of a small-scale Y2YF project that aims at identifying, testing and promoting innovative entrepreneurship solutions to youth employment challenges.

Indeed, learning from these successes helped to ‘energize’ the FCS joint monitoring tour that is normally prepared to enable the Development Partners get a feel of projects are being implemented by the FCS through their basket funding.

Kigoma CSO attracts local authority to allocate funds for child protection

The Kigoma-Ujiji District Council is said to have heeded a call from the local child rights’ activists and now allocates about TZS 3,080,000 - quarterly in the year - to support child rights protection initiatives in the district.

Thanks to the awareness campaign against child rights violations - in line with the 2009 Child Development Act - conducted since year 2012 by the Ndela Kituo cha Maendeleo ya Vijana Kigoma, Ujiji through funds from the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS).

These achievements were thus made known in late April 2015 to participants of the FCS joint monitoring tour of projects in Kigoma region, who among others, wanted to know more on the child rights protection project that primarily aims at empowering the local community to take up sustainable measures in protection of child rights.

Explaining to participants of the joint monitoring tour - comprising of some FCS Board of Directors, the Management and representatives from the FCS Development Partners and the Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children - the project coordinator of Ndela Kituo cha Maendeleo ya Vijana Kigoma, Mr. Adrophinus Leopold, said the District Council’s response was necessitated by the fact that their campaign and word against child labour had received a nod - right from the regional, street and ward level – with over 64 child protection clubs being formed.

“So to what extend was the child labour problem here in Ujiji, and what else have you done to determine the changes registered against this problem,” asked Zabdiel Kimambo from the Department of International Development (DFID).

In response, Mr. Leopold said: “Here at Ndela and in Ujiji in particular, we have been experiencing reports of alarming child labour cases – with over 70 Most Vulnerable Children (MVCs) being engaged in scrap metal collection and selling business. We got these cases reported to us in collaboration with the Police and the Social Welfare officers. But with all these reported cases, there were no child protection clubs in place as compared to the rural areas. So that’s how our organisation came in to respond to the need.”

“After our intervention in collaboration with legal officers, heads of police posts, social welfare officers, ward officers, religious leaders’ representatives and representatives from NGOs we have seen huge changes in bringing down cases of child labour,” he said.

Mr. Leopold however concluded: “Right now we have no children lying in the streets that are engaging in the scrap metals’ business since the child protection clubs are at the top of agenda, being tipped of any escalation and control the vice.”

CSOs leaders resolve to work in more coordination, one agenda

As the country enters in key 2015 democratic processes, various CSO leaders have met in Dar es Salaam to rekindle their desire to work together in the sector - with a common agenda and address national issues with a more needed impact, in one coherent language.

In a meeting organised by the Foundation for Civil society (FCS) on 22 April 2015, over 40 CSOs leaders working in different areas, agreed to have a more coordinated agenda in all matters of national interest, instead of working in isolation and unnecessary duplication.

Responding to the core presentation made by a facilitator of the discussion Advocate Clarence Kipobota on the “Role and the future of CSOs in Tanzania” and as to whether the sector is in good or pathetic condition, the Executive Director of the Legal & Human Rights Centre (LHRC) Dr. Hellen Kijo-Bisimba led other CSOs leaders present in the meeting to come to terms with the need to unite their efforts especially ahead of the 2015 democratic processes.

“If we happen to lose our relevance it will be very detrimental, and if we do not communicate our results it is even bad. But if we make a mistake of not working together in more systematic coordination, and one agenda, then we can easily be destroyed and thrown away like a piece of paper,” warned Dr. Hellen.

For his part, the Executive Director of The Agricultural Non-State Actors Forum (ANSAF) Audax Rukonge seconded the idea of having common national agenda and said: “despite working in different subsectors, having a common agenda as CSOs is so crucial.” He also demanded the sector to put emphasis on conducting researches so as to ‘have teeth’ and be more credible in eyes of advocacy work.

Offering a critical point of departure however, Mr. Hebron Mwakagenda from the Leadership Forum, said: “Individually, we might happen not to like each other but when it comes to working in the sector – we have to work together and have unity in diversity.”
However, in the run up to the General Elections and during the Voter Registration process, the leader of Ububifu Associates, Mr. Jeff Makongo urged other members in the sector to take part in the crucial democratic processes even if they fall short of the needed financial resources.

Before the meeting was postponed at a latter stage, the Executive Director of the Women’s Legal Aid Centre (WLAC) Theudosia Muhulo said CSOs standing in one agenda is like having a pillar that has an effective impact when deliberating with the government or discussing matters with development partners - instead of doing things in isolation.

The CSOs leaders’ meeting had thus received a nod from a majority of the session participants – being regarded as one that redefines the need to conduct own SWOT analysis of the sector.

FCS to support PWDs engagement in 2015 electoral processes

The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) has set aside funds in the region of TZS 300 million to support interventions related to advocacy for the rights of Persons with Disability (PWDs) so that the latter can effectively participate in the upcoming General Elections slated for October later this year.

The financial support will go to various Persons with Disabilities Organisations (DPOs) both in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.

The FCS Executive Director, Mr. Francis Kiwanga, has said often times PWDs have been lagging behind in their participation in democratic processes due to various reasons - thus the FCS will support a number of registered DPOs so as to enhance the special groups’ participation in the upcoming electoral processes.

“FCS has been working closer with the DPOs, and we believe these funds will help them provide civic education and enable various special groups participate in the General Elections slated for October this year,” he said.

He said there has been little access to key information on electoral processes as well as the referendum, among the DWPs, and that has been evident due to the community’s alleged negative attitude towards the PWDs.

He further went on mentioning some of the challenges that PWDs face during electoral processes such as not having the sign language translators (especially during election campaigns, and at polling stations.)

Kiwanga also said it is in the FCS interest that PWDs have the right to vote and be voted for. Thus, the funds will be provided to enable various DPOs in different parts of the country to educate and sensitize PWDs to turn out in large numbers in all upcoming electoral processes. All that upholds the PWDs  constitutional rights as enshrined in the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which requires effective participation of PWDs in political and public matters. The 2010 Tanzania Disability Act also provides for all that.

The FCS support therefore seeks to ensure that PWDs have the right to fully participate in all electoral processes starting from the Voters Registration Process, elections campaigns and voting process.

Mr. Kiwanga also urged all other stakeholders to provide conducive environment for the PWDs so that the latter can fully participate in the 2015 General Elections.



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