‘Community radios’ contents and relevance rests on CSOs’

While outlining basic criteria for the existence of community radios in Tanzania, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) regards the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) as better equipped to shape the content and relevance of the community radios.

Speaking on 12 February in Dar es Salaam at an event organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) ahead of the official commemoration of the World Radio Day on 13 February, the TCRA Principal Broadcasting Affairs officer, Eng. Andrew Kisaka, put the CSOs at a centre stage of complementing the contents and relevance of the community radios since they too work in communities.

Eng. Kisaka said despite the country having a list of 118 registered community radios across the country it is only a handful of them that really walk the talk to serve their own geographical and community interests – and hence indirectly called upon CSOs to step up and restore the equilibrium by injecting their communal based contents into the radios. 

Thus, by rule of the game CSOs are all but invited to influence contents used in the community radios for mutual interests, as well as ensure complementation of each other.

“One of the principle criteria for the registration of a community radio is to be operated, owned and influenced by the community that it purports to be serving,” said Eng. Kisaka depicting clearly that CSOs have a greater opportunity to promote their work in the form of radio contents, and therefore restore the needed community ownership in the community radios.

However, according to other criteria, community radios have to be non-profit, promote innovation and development in the community concerned, hence CSOs are more than well equipped to grab the opportunity and contribute their contents - full of their success stories - in a more cost effective manner. 

 

CSOs call for government’s helping hand on future voter education

Some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the Lake Zone have asked the government to devise strategies that can enable them access funds directly from the government when it comes to conducting voter education in future elections.

Speaking in Mwanza on 8 February, on behalf of the Lake Zone CSOs that participated in a meeting to review the voter education exercise conducted during the 2015 General elections, Mr. Edwin Soko said many CSOs could not afford to reach out to a substantial number of citizens living in rural areas, due to limited funding.

Reacting to the comment, the Director of Elections at the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Mr. Ramadhani Kailima, pointed a number of weaknesses that emerged during the 25 October elections that were largely in relation to the scale of voter education conducted.

He said during the voting day NEC observed some incidences which culminated in a number of votes being declared null and void – such that due to lack of the education or other reasons best known to them some people decided to make funny drawings in their ballot papers, inserting inappropriate signs, as well as insults.

However, without directly making a comment to the CSOs earlier request, Mr. Kailima again said the voter education failed to meets its targets due to the fact that some CSOs (based on reasons best known to them) decided to conduct the voter education in contravention with the NEC guidelines, and hence paid more attention to their donor’s prerequisites. 

 

Networks within CSOs poised to redefine paths

Within the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) cycles any Civil Society Organisations’ network that has been performing well learns both the art of accepting triumph with grace and even stomach criticisms with a smile, so as to redefine the paths.

Thus, quite recent in Dar es Salaam the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) conducted training to different regional and district CSOs Networks in Tanzania to remind them of what is largely expected of them. While leading them to the new desired paths, there were albeit a few lessons for the networks to stomach.

Making an own assessment of the CSOs networks, Mr. Vincent Kuligi from Sumbawanga Municipal Association of NGOs, said CSOs networks have to act upon situations that threaten their relevance and go back reality.

“Speaking as a leader in one of these networks, it is regrettable to see that we have not done enough to mobilize our members to become dependable in enhancing solutions towards citizens’ quality of life.

For his part, the General Secretary of the Association of Non-governmental Organisations of Zanzibar (ANGOZA) Mr. Hassan Khamis Juma sees networks not being effective enough in living up to the values for their stronger existence.

“With this training we have been reminded to make sure that we bring our CSOs members together so that we can have common goals - and finding ways to achieve them,” said Hassan.

He added that, the strength of CSO networks depends on building the internal capacity of its members to be sustainable and hence contribute to the development of the entire nation.

Mr. Cosmas Makongo, who facilitated the training said: “The CSOs networks seem to have somewhat lost focus. But with the training we have been able to come up with strategies that will guide them in performing their activities better - including adherence to governance policies.”

Thus, CSOs network have agreed upon strategies for fundraising, to be more accountable to their constituencies and to the development partners, as well as be measurable in bringing about change for the quality of lives into the communities that they serve.

FCS zonal resource persons vow to help enhance CSOs vibrancy

Ahead of assuming the crucial role of supporting the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) in building the capacity of CSOs in different parts of the country, a team of the newly recruited zonal resource persons have taken a vow to be part of the solution in enhancing vibrancy, accountability and good image in the sector.

The entire group comprising of nearly 40 resource persons selected to provide support in the area of Capacity Development, Monitoring & Evaluation, and Due Diligence have unanimously agreed to help the FCS meet its strategic goals by being part of the solution to enhance the sector’s vibrancy.

The resource persons made a solemn promise during their orientation and reflection workshop held in Dar es Salaam from 23 – 26 February. Speaking during the session one of the resource persons, Mr. Israel Ilunde urged his colleagues to liken themselves as football team coaches, who are by virtue of their positions ought to be accountable if their teams do not get good results.

“We as zonal resource have to sometimes consider ourselves as football team coaches/ managers while building the capacity of CSOs. If our clients (the CSOs) fail to excel, we are also deemed to succumb to the pressure,” analogized Mr. Ilunde, depicting that the resource persons are really up to the task ahead.

To cope with the growing demand for capacity development and monitoring of its grantees, FCS decided to enter in a selection process for qualified, experienced Tanzanians to join a pool of its resource persons. The resource persons will be responsible for providing technical backstopping to CSOs across the country, as well as undertaking special assignments on part time basis to selected CSOs, in a bid to build the CSOs capacity. The resource persons will also undertake performance monitoring pertaining to the FCS key thematic areas, as well as be engaged in conducting due diligence exercises to the FCS grantees. 

 

 

 

 

FCS to enter crucial stage on review of its draft Strategic Plan

As the year 2016 unfolds, the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) Strategic Plan review exercise is also expected to reach its crucial stage that will among others, involve the validation process of views collected from various stakeholders before arriving at the final approval of the document.

The draft 2014-18 Strategic plan review process has initially involved the participation of all FCS stakeholders - including the FCS staff, Board Members and Members, Development Partners, the government, grantees and members from the civil society sector. 

The FCS strategic plan review exercise had taken consideration of the FCS Organisational identity (mission, vision, values, philosophy); the context analysis with emerging issues, trends, developments and implications; opportunities and threats; analysis of strategic options/ scenarios; program and thematic focus  (based on context, suitable frameworks), as well as geographical Focus.

The exercise also focused on the FCS internal analysis - strengths, weaknesses, track record; theory of change; approaches, assumptions, principles; positioning, niche, critical/key success factors; strategic objectives/goals (expected results, changes); Organisational Structure, etc.

 

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