FCS to hold 13th CSOs Annual forum in Dar es Salaam to discuss SDGs

The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) will be holding the 13th Civil Society Annual Forum from 1st – 2nd December 2015 in Dar es Salaam to discuss CSOs implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The forum will bring together over 300 representatives from Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), scholars, government representatives, development partners, and members of the private sector from around the country to share and exchange experiences and ideas on promoting the growth of the civil society sector and enhancing its contribution towards poverty reduction.

This year’s theme will be “The Role of CSOs in effective implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Among other things, this year’s forum will provide an opportunity for members of civil society, government representatives, academicians and development partners to define the role that is played by civil society in Tanzania development, with reference to the SDGs. Also, broadly participants apart from getting acquainted with the SDGs, will discuss and come up with key strategic issues that need to be considered in order to strengthen effective CSOs and citizens’ contribution towards implementation of the SDGs going forward.

Promoting the image of the civil society sector as well as strengthening CSOs capacity, both administratively and in their governance, is also expected to be key during the forum.



FCS oversees results under Wekeza project with more children attending school

The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) recent support visits to its Wekeza grantees in Tanga and Kigoma regions have revealed some promising developments that more children are attending schools as a result of advocacy on community awareness against child labour.

The FCS is in partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) implementing the Wekeza projects geared towards advocacy against child labour, accelerating youth employment and education improvement. The implementation of these projects has enabled communities to see the importance of education for their children as well as eliminating worst forms of child labour, and increase attendance in schools.

During the Wekeza support visit conducted by the FCS recently, Mr.Adolf Noya, the Executive Director of the Tanzania Livelihood Skills Development and Advocacy Foundation (TALISDA), said implementation of the Wekeza project in Tanga has increased community awareness against child labour and improved school attendance .

“There is an increase of children now been enrolled in schools due to awareness of their parents as well as teachers in school to make follow-up on their development and make sure that they attend school. This has also reduced significant the rate of absenteeism in schools,” added Noya.

He said from the baseline survey conducted before the project started in nine primary schools and three secondary schools located in Tanga showed that school attendance was only 67%. But after implementation of the project the situation has now improved up to 98%.

For her part the Executive Director of Women and Children Legal Aid Organisation, Ms. Evelyn Mwaimu says the project has helped many children to come out of child labour and get enrolled in schools.

Ali Juma, a pupil from Mnazi Mmoja Primary School in Tanga region who has benefited from the Wekeza project says, “before this awareness raised in my community I used to be a street child engaging in fishing activities. But now I have quitted the business and I go to school.”

FCS facilitates formation of CSOs zonal learning groups

The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) has facilitated the formation of homogeneous zonal learning groups comprising of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) based in similar locations within Tanzania.

FCS has designed these homogeneous learning groups as a platform through which zonal CSOs can share ideas and experiences within the Civil Society Sector in their localities. It is also a means where the zonal CSOs can discuss and find ways in tackling challenges affecting their operational activities.

These learning platforms have been initiated in all zones of Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar and each zonal homogeneous learning group is divided under ‘Policy Engagement and Good Governance’, ‘Conflict Resolution and Peace Maintenance’, ‘Inclusive Development’ as well as ‘Youth and Women Economic Empowerment’.

Speaking in one of the zonal learning group sessions, the elected Lake Zone coordinator, Mr. Majaliwa Chui said; “These learning groups will enhance networking and credibility among CSOs within the sector.”

“These zonal learning groups will improve linkages and learning among CSOs especially those that work under the same thematic areas,” added Chui.

For his part, Mr. Jimmy Mwita, a participant from Mara region in the Lake Zone was optimistic that the learning groups  will enhance broader learning within the sector.”



People with disability applaud efforts towards their engagement in 2015 elections

People with Disabilities (PWDs) have appreciated positive response by the National Electoral Committee (NEC) and other stakeholders to enhance their participation in the October 25th General elections.

Speaking at a press conference held in mid October in Dar es Salaam, the General Secretary of Shirikisho la Vyama Vyenye Ulemavu Tanzania (SHIVYAWATA) Mr. Felician Mkude, said they are now grateful that most of their concerns have been considered in a bid to enhance their participation in the 2015 elections.

This is an outcome following the PWDs position paper presented to NEC in February this year - calling for some immediate action on a number of issues.

It is thus on record that the earlier PWDs efforts to engage with NEC in February this year was made possible through the support from the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS), among other stakeholders.

“We recognize response from NEC in ensuring inclusive electoral processes for PWDs. The electoral body has dully prepared enabling environment as well as ensuring availability of voting materials that will facilitate our participation in the general elections. For instance, we have witnessed the introduction of tactile ballot folders for the visually impaired persons so as to ease the voting exercise, which will relieve the former from seeking assistance from relatives or friends, who might sometimes, misguide them to vote for candidates not of their choice,” Mr. Mkude told the media.

Ms. Stella Jailos, who is the Secretary General of the Disabled Women’s Organisation in Tanzania (SWAUTA) also acknowledges outcomes of the PWDs position paper presented to NEC earlier in the year, which has now resulted to most of their concerns been acted upon. She said in the previous general elections PWDs could not participate fully in the voting exercise since they had to travel long distances to seemingly fewer polling centers. She thus hailed authorities to have guaranteed an increased number of polling centres, which makes it easier for them.

Ms. Stella said they are also relieved that NEC has facilitated a better arrangement where PWDs and other special groups will not stand waiting in long queues during voting exercise. 

Mr. Kaganzi Rutachwamagyo from the Inclusive Development Promoters and Consultants (IDPC) added that NEC has ensured availability of sign language interpreters at polling centres to assist people with hearing impairments as in line with their demands slotted in the PWDs position paper. 

“Despite all the positive actions on our position paper, we have also made a recommendation to NEC to really ensure disability access at all polling centres, such as special paths for those using wheelchairs and the like,” added Kaganzi.

Fredrick Msigala, who is an advocacy officer at the CCBRT hospitals emphasized the need for NEC to provide training to their electoral supervisors on how to assist PWDs during voting, as well as provision of voter education to PWDs on the use of election materials.

FCS supports its grantees implementing 2015 election projects, peace dialogues

The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) has conducted the countrywide support visits to over 95 of its grantees implementing projects related to enhancing citizens’ engagement in the 2015 Tanzania General Elections, as well as conducting peace dialogues.

The support visits to the grantees began in early October and lasted for about two weeks.

This follows after the grantees had undergone the mandatory Manage Your Grant (MYG) training towards end of September - in order to fine-tune their project indicators, expected outcomes, as well as budgets.

The FCS grantees are expected to reach out to a million of Tanzanians in different parts of the country as well as inspire peaceful and democratic engagement in the electoral processes. Critical constituencies, including People with Disability (PWDs), women and youths are expected to be part of the key direct beneficiaries.

Earlier before disbursement of funds to the grantees, the FCS Executive Director, Mr. Francis Kiwanga appealed to the grantee organisations to ensure that they devote their energy to adequately achieve their set out targets of enhancing effective citizens’ engagement in the upcoming Tanzania General Elections, as well as peace dialogues - without any forms of diversion.



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