CSO’s children club rescues orphan from child labour in Simiyu

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Kaswahili Mathias (12) living at Busami village in Badugu district, Simiyu region may still be having some good old memories of the splendid care that he received from his late parents. It is the kind of life that never lasted for so long.

Thus, following the death of his parents, things begun to change and experienced moments of difficulty – allegedly instigated by his own guardians. He was allegedly forced to work in farms as well as grazing cattle for most of his time and hence deprived him of his right to properly continue with his primary education.

“I don’t really want to recall this difficult sort of life that came into my life. Sometimes I wished I could run away and get out of this village and never come back. I had nothing at that time since everything was taken by my father’s relatives,” says the little Kaswahili.

Kaswahili says one of the things that made his life miserable is when he was sometimes denied food to eat. It eventually forced him skip classes and engage in some little manual work just to keep his day going – including buy some food.

“So I had to work on other people’s crop fields and get paid up to TZS 1,000 while others would just give me food to eat after finishing the work.  Since I had nobody to tell my problems the little manual works helped me survive,” he says.
“There was no one to lean on to the extent that my own sister had to be forced to get married at a tender age and the dowry simply vanished into the hands of the relatives to enjoy. This made me re-think on how life would be ahead of me,” he adds.

Now there is new hope in the life of Kaswahili after benefiting from an intervention by the Busega Children & Development Services Assistance (BCDSA). BCDSA is a local CSO that has been funded by the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS).

He says, he has been able to meet up with fellow children and become a bona fide member of Children Clubs coordinated by BCDSA and thus benefiting from various services relevant to the 1996 Child Development Policy and the 2009 Child Development Act.

Through the Children Club details of Kaswahili’s predicaments were given to the Ward Executive so as to start taking action on them. The Ward Executive was able to go to his home place and have frank discussions with his aunt (name withheld) on a number of child right issues. She then conceded the mistakes made and promised to change for the better.

Training awakens citizens to follow up public funds

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Following training program on Public Expenditure Tracking System (PETS) held recently in Mbeya Region by our grantee, 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, 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.

Serengeti residents trained to conserve the environment to boost tourism

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The Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) continues to make an impact in the area of Civil Society Capacity strengthening, this time as far as in Serengeti District.

Some residents in the district have just benefited from a capacity building training aimed at boosting cultural tourism and environmental conservation. Serengeti is one of the most famous Tanzanian wildlife-rich districts. The move seeks to unveil key economic opportunities of tourism that can be tapped by low-income earners’ groups in a bid to uplift their living standards.

“Our aim is to help the communities realize their potentials and make good use of available resources while conserving the environment,” says Mr. Joshua Nyansiry, the Executive Director of SCC during the sidelines of the training workshop held in the district. He says about 36 participants from various villages of Serengeti have benefited from the capacity building training and look forward share the acquired skills with their communities.

“FCS has become our first partners on this awareness drive and we expect to have some revived art of sustainable conservation,” says Mr. Nyansiry who is also a native and resident of Serengeti District.

Mr. Lameck Nyasagati, from the Tobora Water Users’ Association in Serengeti welcomed the capacity building training and described it as significant step towards development of tourism sector in the district. Largest portion of Serengeti is a game protected area including the world’s most famous Serengeti National Park (SENAPA).

“You can’t have sustainable tourism without good environment in place and this workshop has set a good example on what should be done in our district,” the 53 – year old man said shortly after attending the workshop. 

Nyasagati is one of Serengeti villagers who have lately been in the frontline to sensitize his fellow villagers to engage in conservation activities and stop human activities that cause environmental threats.


On her part, Ms. Easter Maswi (48) says she now stands a better chance to do something for the development of cultural tourism in the area after attending the training workshop.

“Already am an entrepreneur and with the training I have received I will help many other women to establish small scale economic projects that are friendly to environment,” says Ms. Maswi who is a mother of nine children from Nyamoko village a few kilometers from Mugumu town.

Government environmental experts are also optimistic that the training would boost environmental conservation campaign in the district.

“This is a wakeup call to stakeholders in making them participate in conservation and tourism activities,” says Mr John Landoyan, a senior official at the Serengeti District Council Natural Resources and Tourism Department.

Mr. Landoyan who took part to facilitate the training says the organisation (SCC) will also use the opportunity to set up a strategic plan aimed at boosting environmental conservation and tourism in the area.

SCC plans to extend the programme in the more parts of Serengeti district depending on the availability of resources, according to Mr Nyansiry. “This is just the beginning and our target is to reach the entire district of Serengeti,” says  Mr. Nyansiry.

SCC is a Civil Society Organisation registered in 2011 and since then it has been striving to boost environmental conservation and cultural tourism in Serengeti. The district has unbeatable large plains blessed with a variety of beautiful fauna and flora including the great migration of wildebeests’ migration.

 

Citizens of Mkuranga urged to participate in village meetings

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Citizens in rural areas have been challenged to take full advantage of participating in village meetings as a means through which they can be able to influence development processes at village and ward level.

Apart from this, it has been noted that limited knowledge among citizens in rural areas, is a key factor behind poor attendance in village meetings.

This unfolded in mid March during a capacity building training to the citizens of Mkuranga, village leaders, smallholder farmers as well as ward officers - conducted by a network of farmers in Mkuranga (MVIWATA) through the funding from the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS).

While opening the training, Sada Mwaruka, who is the Executive Director of Mkuranga District, Coast Region urged participants of the training to make maximum use of village meetings as a means to increase their knowledge and even disseminate the best practices to others.

“If village leaders do not hold regular meetings, then they should know that they are denying citizens the opportunity of discussing issues of their development, and/or even identify priorities that can resolve their grievances.

“Village leaders have a mandate of calling meetings, and more importantly, make sure that citizens get an opportunity to see periodic accounts of revenue and expenditures in their localities and discuss on them – in accordance with the Local Government Authority (LGA) laws and procedures,” said Mwaruka.

Required: guidelines to implement 2008 HIV Act

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There is now a definite quest. The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has been asked to speed up the passing of standard guidelines for implementation of the 2008 HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Act so as to help reduce stigmatization and new HIV infections in the country.

Along with this call, People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) want more sensitization to be given to the community with regards to the pandemic so as to enable the country reach its targets of having zero new infections, as well as having reduced stigma and deaths related to HIV/AIDS come 2015.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam in mid March at a two-day seminar to the PLWHA, together with other stakeholders in the 2008 HIV/AIDS Act, facilitator of the training, Japhes Baitan, said the law can hardly be implemented because as up to now there are no standard guidelines that have been passed.

“For this law to be implementable, it has to be returned to the PLWHAs and the entire community, then a Minister responsible has to look at it and preside over the implementation guidelines formulation. The goal is to attain zero new HIV infections, related deaths and stigma,” said Baitani.



He said the law has some very good provisions that prohibit unfaithful people to declare that they can cure the virus, disclosure among married couples of their HIV status and so on, but it has ironically not targeted a person who is yet to be infected – especially on how best to protect oneself. This is what the training participants observed as one of grey areas in the law, he said.

On his part, Juma Garaba who is the Secretary to a CSO on the fight against HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis (Maukita) said the PLWHAs need to understand the law so as to know clearly theirs rights and obligations, and hence take ownership in the fight against stigma. Maukita are the ones who organized the training workshop through the funds from the Foundation for Civil Society,


In different occasions, training workshop participants and people who declared to be living with HIV, Maimuna Hamis (49) and Athumani Mwirangi (40) said stigmatization to PLWHAs is still a big problem in the country and have called for more education to be given to communities and even sensitize more people to go for voluntary counseling and testing.



Since 2008 when President Jakaya Kikwete signed the law, the Ministry of Health has been giving updates that it is in process to formulate the guidelines.

 

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