The visual-impaired benefit from training on their rights

50 People with visual impairment in Bukoba district have benefited from training on the 2010 People with disabilities Act, and on the Second Draft of the New Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania as well as the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disability.

The secretary of the Tanzania League for the Blind (TLB) in Bukoba district, Novah Mwijage, has in mid May that the training falls under the one-year capacity building project through funds from the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) and is due to end in February 2015.

Mwijage said in the first round they were trained on the Second Draft of the New Constitution and in the next round they will receive training on section 6 of the 2010 Disability as well as the UN Convention for People with Disability.
He also says the number of people with visual impairment that needs to reached is bigger comparing to the budget at hand – forcing them to provide the training to a fewer people who are then expected to share the knowledge to others in their communities.

Issues raised after the training on the Second Draft of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania includes section 42 of that draft document which the participants demanded to be reviewed - since it does not explicitly say anything with regard to the health and the necessary infrastructure for people with disability.

Mwijage emphasised that the Second Draft of the New Constitution does not give a mention on the issue of education for people with disability and hence urged the government to provide free education to people with disability so that they can cease to be dependent of others in communities.

He however said if the elderly are provided with a special desk to access free medical services in public services, so should the same arrangement be done for people with disability.

According to Mwijage, there are more than 115 people with visual impairment in Bukoba district.

Over 30 CSOs benefit from capacity building training in Mara

The performance of 32 civil society organisations operating in various parts of Mara Region is expected to improve significantly after having benefited from an intensive capacity building training on financial management and proposal writing.
Thanks to a series of training workshops organised by Mara NGOs Network through funds from the The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS).

Mara NGOs Network is a local was registered to enhance the performance of groups, community based organisations (CBOs) and civil society organizations that have been established   according to the Tanzanian law with the aim of bringing positive changes in the community.

“It was the first time that we have organised a capacity building workshop to all of the 32 organisations that are members to the network”, says Joseph Gembe, who is the Coordinator at  Mara NGO Network .

He says participants were equipped with skills on financial management and proposal writing during the workshop. They were also helped to design strategic plans covering 2014-2019, according to Gembe. He says successful implementation of the strategic plan is expected to see significant increase of Mara NGOs Network members from 32 to about 100 by year 2019.

“We also want to ensure that every organisation has at least two persons capable of writing a good project proposal”, says Gembe. 

Mara NGOs Network has also created a website becoming one of a few non-profit organisations with own websites in Mara Region.

 A group of ten young women living in Bunda District are seeing Mara Network as their gateway from harsh life to better life. The young girls have attended entrepreneurship training that has enabled them to engage in different economic activities and be independent with the support of Mara Network.

“Most of us have difficult lives. Some already babies even before entering in wedlocks. So we think things will change for the better if we engage in entrepreneurial activities,” says Nyangi Charles, who is a mother of two kids – hailing from Balili area in the outskirts of Bunda town. Nyangi belongs to the group of ten young women that is a beneficiary member of Mara NGOs Network.

The visual impaired trained on their rights

50 People with visual impairment in Bukoba district have benefited from training on the 2010 People with disability’s Act, and on the Second Draft of the New Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania as well as the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disability.

The secretary of the Tanzania League for the Blind (TLB) in Bukoba district, Novah Mwijage has said the training falls under the one-year capacity building project through funds from the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) and is due end in February 2015.

Mwijage said in the first round they were trained on the Second Draft of the New Constitution and in the next round they will receive training on section 6 of the 2010 Disability as well as the UN Convention for People with Disability.

He also says the number of people with visual impairment that needs to reached is bigger comparing to the budget at hand – forcing them to provide the training to a fewer people who are then expected to share the knowledge to others in their communities.

Issues raised after the training on the Second Draft of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania includes section 42 of that draft document which the participants demanded to be reviewed - since it does not explicitly say anything with regard to the health and the necessary infrastructure for people with disability.

Mwaijange emphasised that the Second Draft of the New Constitution does not give a mention on the issue of education for people with disability and hence urged the government to provide free education to people with disability so that they can cease to be dependent of others in communities.

He however said if the elderly are provided with a special desk to access free medical services in public services, so should the same arrangement be done for people with disability.

According to Mwaijange, there are more than 115 people with visual impairment in Bukoba district.

Activists step up measures against witch killings

Witchcraft beliefs are yet again regarded as the main cause for an increase in crimes and poverty in the community.

The remarks were made recently by a senior Police Officer at Western Songea division, Alfred Mwanisungule, while opening a public dialogue on the welfare of the older people that brought together different groups of people in Ruvuma region.

The Public dialogue was coordinated by Mfuko wa Maendeleo ya Wazee Mfaranyaki (MMWM) through funds from the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS).

He said witchcraft accusations against older people in the district have become rampant, and more common on the outskirts of Songea – leading a worsening state of poverty.

 

He gave an example of a witchdoctor in Subira village who caused several panics among relatives because of his witchcraft rituals.

On his part an older person who attended the public dialogues and a survivor of witch killings, Dafrosa Nyingo, says it hurts so much to be drawn into social conflicts related to witchcraft accusations. She urges the government to take necessary and lawful action against fake witch doctors that instigate the kind of violence and point accusing fingers against older people.

On their part, youths who participated in the public dialogue, led by Frank Fusi, believe that youths’ indulgence in drug abuse contributes to growing witchcraft beliefs. He says failure to earn a living because of drug abuse forces the latter to think that they have been bewitched. 

People of Mbeya awakened to follow up public funds

Following training program on Public Expenditure Tracking System (PETS) held recently in Mbeya Region by a CSO, Jitambue Lembuka Tanzania, more citizens have been awakened to make follow-ups on the utilization of public funds.
This went hand in and with actualization of the fact that failure to question on the expenditure of public funds in development projects does create a room for some unfaithful local government officials to misuse the funds - leading to poor implementation of development projects.
Jitambue Lembuka Tanzania Executive Director, Saimon Mkanya, associates mismanagement of the public funds allocated for development projects in various communities with corrupt practices among political leaders and government officials.
Mkanya believes that it has become easier for both political and local government officials to engaged in corruption since the alleged culprits know for sure that there is no one to make follow up on them. “It is therefore our responsibility to question our leaders,” he remarked during the training.
After having realized the unsound engagement between the public, political leaders and government on PETS issues, Jitambue Lembuka Tanzania (JTL), through funds from the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS), had organised a training program to strengthen effective citizens’ engagement in planning and tracking of public expenditures in agricultural sector, in Kyela district.
Mkanya says the first activity during the training was to educated participants on their rights to participate and monitor the expenditure of public funds. The training had directly benefited 60 participants from ten wards of Kyela – namely: Matema, Ipinda, Mwaya, Ipande, Ikimba, Itope, Ngana, Katumba Songwe and Kajunjumele.
After the PETS training, beneficiaries of the program were a good witness that fruits of the program does not just end at the level of the organisation, but also spill over into the entire community.

One of the beneficiaries of the training, Gwandumi Mwaipyana, who is a resident of Kajunjumele ward says now he has the knowledge and ready to monitor public expenditures that come into play in their locality, but has some reservations.  
“Here in our villages we know each other very well since we live quite close to one another. So there is always some kind of fear developing - that those being monitored can turn out to be enemies, but we will move on,” he says.
Isakwisa Mbwate hailing from Ipinda ward says the training has helped him to understand that he has the right to monitor all public funds in their localities and that it’s the responsibility of an elected leader and government officials to provide progress reports to the public.
A resident of Makwale ward, Joshua Mbwilo says despite the fact that they now have the knowledge on PETS, the main challenge remains at the side of district council officials who do not want the public to know how they spend the public funds. But given the knowlegde on PETS he is optimistic that their awareness will help to shape their leaders and make them fulfill their responsibilities.
But for Mbwilo and his colleagues see the the knowledge on PETS as a continual process such that they urged our grantee Jitambue Lembuka Tanzania to extend the knowledge as far as to the village leaders. “If we know our civic rights and they also know their responsibilities then we will definitely cooperate and work out plans for the development of our communities,” concludes Mbwilo.

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