Project to curb corrupt practices in Geita takes off

A civil society organisation, Widows and Orphans Development Organisation (Wodeo), has launched a project that aims at combating corruption in Geita Region.At the cost of TZS 40 million, the 12-month project, funded by the Foundation for Civil Society, targets to reach over 2,000 residents and 75 government officials through seminars and other forms of training on good governance.

According to Mr Jackson Jonathan, who is the organisation’s project coordinator, the project was launched last month at Ihamilo and Kasamwa villages in Geita Municipality.

Elaborating further, an official from an organisation advocating for democracy and good governance (ADLG), Mr Jimmy Luhende, said residents in poor rural areas were the worst victims of corruption, which he said has been evidenced through soaring cases of land grabbing and property confiscation.“Corruption has been a normal thing for people seeking employment, political posts or legal services,” said Mr Luhende.

Women, youth urged to seek self employment

Women and youth in the country are encouraged to venture into self employment if they are to be financially independent by taking advantage of the country’s conducive Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) policy that has been improved to develop the private sector as the economy’s key driving force.

Veronica Shao, the Managing Director of the Kilimanjaro-based Cluster on STDs/HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health Interventions Organization (KINSHAI) maintains that reliance on corporate employment is hurting these to special groups.

Addressing wananchi in Msae-Kinyamvuo and Samanga villages in Marangu-Mwika and Marangu East, Moshi rural district late last week, she said the government has set up favourable self employment policies allowing the SME sector to grow and flourish.

“You cannot wait for employment alone…” she cautioned “…the small business environment is favourable it allows one to start a business and grow it through loans given to various groups at very good rates,” she explained but noted that there is need for the policy to be improved further because according to her, it is still biased towards big businesses.

“A good example is Marangu East and Mwika North,” she said “…the women there have increased their productivity and revenue from the entrepreneurship training we imparted on them,” she added in reference to a recent training in the area that was supported by the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS).

Shao encouraged the villagers to attend the various trainings offered in the area to boost their knowledge of the sector and to also form groups that will ease their access to capital loans.

She said her organisation aims to reach more than 4000 women and 700 youth in Moshi Rural district by June 2015.

Training facilitators Mike Ngowi and Sarah Shayo seconded their Managing Director saying Tanzania’s SMEs policy is now much more welcoming to start up businesses but according to them, the policy doesn’t talk about women entrepreneurs yet they need special attention considering the special constraints they face in a chauvinistic industry.”

“The policies formulated should put into consideration constraints which women entrepreneurs face and suggest how they can be supported to achieve sustainable development,” Shayo advised.

Widows determined to fight for land ownership rights

Widows of the Magole ward in Kilosa District have shed tears in front of leaders of Greenbelt School Trust Fund organisation (GSTF) soon after been educated that they have customary rights to own land up to 50 hectors.

They found themselves crying during a training organised by GSTF through funding from the Foundation for Civil Society. The training was on the 1999 Land Act and Village Land Act NO. 4 and 5, while issues of their involvements in the management and administration of land rights in villages councils and land conflict resolution also came into the limelight.

Speaking on her experience, a widow from  Magole ward Anna Chilangile whose half hector of land was taken by the village land council after the death of her husband, says at the beginning she thought it was a right decision but after the awareness she decided to take the issue to the court.

“Many times we are being deprived from our lands rights. I am a widow with four children and my husband died a while ago but village leaders have grabbed a portion of my land and reallocated it to a businessman claiming that my land was so big for ordinary use. I did not know what to do, but thanks God now I have the knowledge to claim it back. I will fight for what is mine, till I get it back," says Anna.

CSOs give voice to the voiceless

Any government that adheres to rule of law and good governance has to embrace the role that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) play in social-economic development of the country.

CSOs are actually an indispensable government partners in the promotion of universal values around human rights, social development and governance.

The Network of CSOs in Ruangwa District (Mmakiru) has proven to be one of umbrella non-governmental organisations that can play a role.

If well utilised, its perspective, expertise and partnership-building capabilities cannot only promote democratic values in the society, but also enhance people’s participation in development of the nation. But the government’s backing is inevitable if it to sustain CSOs activities without heavily relying on donor support.

Above all, most network activities complement the government’s own responsibility to the society.

The Mmakiru network has helped CSOs to join forces in devising strategies, securing funding and executing plans.
It focuses on, but not limited to, education, health, agriculture and social issues.

Mmakiru recently organised three different symposia on writing of a new constitution.

During the symposia, people got an opportunity to comment on the draft new constitution.

The symposia were held in Mbekenyera, Mandawa and Ruangwa wards for people from remote areas, in particular, to also get a say over what they want to appear in the supreme law.The Union structure, administration, judiciary and human rights mainly featured during the dialogue.

Govt asked to prioritize orphans and unprivileged children

The government has been advised to cooperate with civil society organisations in supporting orphans and vulnerable children in order to reduce the growing number of street children.

The plea was made by the project coordinator of Huruma Aids Concern and Care (Hacoca), a civil society organisation engaged in supporting HIV patients and vulnerable children, Mr Johnson William, who addressed stakeholders during training on how to empower vulnerable groups in society.

“I would like to call upon the government and other institutions to cooperate with CSOs in making sure these vulnerable children are getting support for their future,” he said.

Mr William said the workshop, which was funded by the Foundation for Civil Society Organisations, aimed at building capacity for civil society stakeholders to facilitate their efforts to reach the entire community.
He said it’s high time the government considered taking care of vulnerable children including orphans especially those living in rural areas.

For his part, workshop facilitator, Mr Hamis Kiloya said civil society organisations lacked sufficient cooperation from the government in executing their duties, urging the government to maximize their support to the organisations.

“ It is obvious that in many areas the government has been slow to support CSOs, we all understand that there are various challenges including shortage of funds, but we still believe that the government can assist CSOs in this matter,” said Mr Kiloya.




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