FCS grantees’ voter education yield results

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Now that Tanzania has peacefully conducted its 5th General Elections slated for 25 October 2015, more attribution to this safe transition rests on the courtesy of Civil Society Organisations (CSO) in the provision of civic and voter education to citizens in different parts of the country.

Despite a collective involvement of various stakeholders, for its part the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) was in the support of over 100 CSOs that in turn provided civic and voter education to the citizens on what to do, and how to behave in the entire electoral process.

One of them was the Paralegal Aid Scheme for Women and Children (PASWCI) based in Tanga region who, through funds from the FCS, were tasked to provide voter education in Pangani District - like several others in different parts of the country.

As such, immediately after the general elections, PASWCI carried out an evaluation exercise to all the areas in Pangani district where education was disseminated. 

“After the election, we interviewed a section of citizens who were involved in the voting exercise to find out whether our mission had, or didn’t have an impact on the entire process i.e from voter registration to the actual polling,” said Deborah.

She explained that prior to the education availed by the CSO most of the electorates confessed to have limited knowledge on procedures and regulations regarding the electoral process.

For her part a resident of Pangani East, Ms. Mwantumu Juma, spoke highly of the education and said; “Before the education, most of us knew very little on what to do, or not to do throughout the entire electoral process.” Also, an official at Mwera district said following the education given by PASWCI the election attracted a larger voter turn out and all was so peaceful at their polling stations.

“What happened at the polling stations was that people casted their votes peacefully and left the centers,” asserted another resident from Mwera district village, Amri Shule.

Those who attended the seminar provided by PASWCI said that the education given to them helped them disseminate it to others on what is expected during the entire election period.

“After the training we were able to share the knowledge given and conducted house to house meetings on what is needed during and after the elections,” said Omari Tuwa, a resident of Gombero, in Maramba division.

PASWICI executive director, Ms. Deborah Daffa said the voter education was provided in four wards of Pangani district where civic education was considered lacking. The wards are Pangani East, Pangani West, Mwera and Tungamaa. 

CSO voter education demystifies women’s perceptions on elections

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Despite efforts done by other players in a bid to increase voter turn out in the just concluded 2015 Tanzania General elections, the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) grantee in Mkinga district has also contributed something towards enhancing women’s engagement in the just concluded 25th October elections.

The grantee, namely the Paralegal Aid Scheme for Women and Children (PASWCI) based in Tanga region is one among 104 CSOs that received grants from the FCS to provide civic and voter education so as to enhance citizens’ engagement in the entire electoral process.

Giving the attribution to PASWCI, one of the women living in Pangani East, Ms. Mwantumu Juma, said the education provided by PASWCI has helped to demystify most of their stereotypes against polling.

She says, “in the past, most of us thought that as long as our husbands went for voting, it was all enough and our representation was already taken care of.  So we became changed.”

Other Mkinga district women say they were grateful for the voter education provided to them, an exercise, which they describe as an eye-opener on what to do and what not to do during and after elections.

“We were aware that polling would be done but did not know we were also obliged to vote as our husbands were,” said Ms. Mwanakombo Ayubu, a resident from Monga village in Kwale ward.

“In our ward, many people and mostly women, turned up for voting, unlike the previous elections when voters were mainly men,” said the local government leader who opted for anonymity.

PASWICI executive director, Ms. Deborah Daffa said the voter education was provided to four wards of Pangani district where civic education was considered lacking. The wards are Pangani East, Pangani West, Mwera and Tungamaa. The last two areas are villages situated across the Pangani ferry- settlements previously occupied by sisal estates community.

FCS support contributes to elders’s access to free medical in Kagera

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Testimonies from Kagera region have it that the elderly are now enjoying free access to medical services following a facilitation by the former Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) grantee, Saidia Wazee Karagwe (SAWAKA) to attain special identity cards (IDs) that guarantee them free services in local government hospitals.

The result is largely attributed to efforts made by the elderly support organisation (SAWAKA) through funds from the FCS policy engagement program, to ensure medical IDs are made available to the senior citizens. The intervention goal was to ensure the government policy guidelines for free healthcare provision to older people are observed as per the 2003 National Ageing Policy.

The Executive Director of SAWAKA, Mr. Livingstone Byakwasu, says the realization of IDs for free medical services has helped elders from Karagwe and Kyerwa districts to access medical services from different local government hospitals.

He says the outcome follows a number of the training sessions offered by the CSO on the rights of older people’s entitlement, healthcare support and economic empowerment programs.

According to Karagwe District Medical Officer, Mr. Moses Eligawesa, a total of 3,183 older people have been provided with the IDs since the year 2011 when the intervention was first launched.

A resident of Kayungu village in Karagwe district, Daudi Simeo who is one of the beneficiaries of the program says, “I have been able to receive free medical services at Nyakabanga Dispensary unlike before. This is a commendable move.”

Dodoma CSOs network happy to have contributed to peace during and after elections

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The NGO Network for Dodoma (NGONEDO) is proud to have successfully implemented a peace maintenance dialogue that has seen people from various walks of life in Dodoma region maintaining peace during and after the 2015 general elections.

The peace maintenance dialogue implemented by NGONEDO aimed at advocating for peace maintenance before, during and after the elections, and was funded by the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) where different stakeholders participated. The dialogues brought together representatives from the Police force, religious institutions, returning officers as well as the general citizens.

Speaking on the success of the FCS funded project, the Executive Director of NGONEDO, Mr. Edward Mbogo, said they feel so much honored to be part of enhancing peaceful, democratic and fair elections, as well as raising citizens’ awareness on the importance of maintaining peace throughout this democratic process.

“We have successfully been able to make people aware of the importance of maintaining peace as well as the consequences that may occur after peace has been violated. All this has helped citizens to take home the message back to their communities for peaceful coexistence,” added Mbogo.

“One among the most controversial issue during the general elections was the legal dispute demanding citizens to stay 200 metres away from the polling stations after voting. But following the peace maintenance dialogue conducted by NGONEDO in collaboration with the Police Force and other stakeholders, the voters acted maturely and observed the ruling,” said a senior police official in Dodoma known as Mr. Sizzya.

A member of NGONEDO, Mr. Hassan Hussein from Chama cha Watu wenye Ulemavu (CHAWATA) Dodoma said, “the elections went so peacefully and as for us people with disability were able to participated well. Our special needs were considered and there were no hiccups observed in our group. Thanks to the peace maintenance dialogues, among other efforts.”

FCS to enhance citizens’ engagement in 2015 general elections

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The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) has apparently invited grant applications from Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Tanzania that seek to collaborate in the area of enhancing effective citizens’ engagement in the upcoming general elections, as well as ensuring peace maintenance during and after the process. 

The new project’s funding window targets critical constituencies such as the youths, women and other special groups including People with Disabilities (PwDs).

Announcing the call for applications at the beginning opening of the countrywide information sessions to FCS grantees and other civil society organisation on 8 July in Dar es Salaam, the FCS Executive Director, Mr. Francis Kiwanga, said once rolled out this special funding window will seek to ensure that citizens, particularly those in the critical constituencies, are inspired and use their democratic rights to effectively engage in the upcoming general elections.

He also said the aim of this countrywide special elections intervention is to ensure that the current peace atmosphere prevails in the country during the entire election process, as well as ensuring amicable solutions to any electoral frictions that might have occurred.

Specific activities to be funded include advocacy campaigns that seek to motivate the critical constituencies to take part in the election process, media education campaigns by civil society networks seeking to increase citizens’ engagement in the upcoming general elections, as well as conducting of peace maintenance platforms that seek to involve citizens in conflict resolutions during and after elections.

He also said the grants will seek to address the earmarked interventions for not more that 12 months, whereby the financial limit per a district intervention is TZS 15 million and for the national intervention is TZS 45 million.  

Deadline for this call for proposal was on 31st July 2015.

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