26 Feb 2010

Preliminary Findings from Local Governance Attitude Survey

Thought I would quickly share a few early findings from the local governance attitude survey that we're involved with.

Of 1000 randomly selected citizens in Njombe Town, Njombe District, Ludewa and Makete:
  • 39% felt that the main role of a councillor was to bring development to their ward, compared to only 3% who felt their main role was to scrutinise the plans and performance of the district government.
  • 25% felt that their MP does not consider their interests at all, compared to only 12% who felt the same about their councillor.

17 Feb 2010

Stronger opposition improves management?


A question often asked in Tanzania is whether multi-party democratic government can be effective while opposition parties remain weak. There's no doubt that opposition parties are stronger now than a few years previously, but will this lead to improvements in government performance? And if so, where does this leave local councils, many of which don't have even one elected councillor representing opposition parties and where many seats are not even contested by more than one party?

11 Feb 2010

Does budget support encourage corruption?

I'm taking part in an online course on corruption, (run by the u4 anti-corruption resource centre, invited by DFID), which has thrown up some interesting questions about the links between corruption and donor aid. The traditional view is that all types of aid carry corruption risks, but that general budget support - where donors provide money to national government, which then decides how it is allocated - can lead to more corruption than project funding - where donors are more closely involved in planning and implementation of specific projects. There is certainly some justification for this view - look at how many big corruption scandals have there been in the last 6-7 years in Tanzania, since budget support was introduced, for example - but I don't think it is as simple as that.

8 Feb 2010

Three weeks with new staff

It's now three weeks week since our biggest group of new staff joined us, and it seems like a good time to reflect on progress and challenges up to this point. We're still a pretty small organisation, with just 8 professional staff, but that means we're more than double the size we were at the end of last year.

3 Feb 2010

Mobile phones as a survey tool

We're in the middle of a questionnaire survey at the moment, asking 1000 residents of Njombe, Ludewa and Makete about their attitudes towards local government. I'll write more about the survey theme once we get some preliminary findings, but for the moment, let me explain our use of mobile phones as a survey tool - which makes this survey unusual, innovative and possible even unique in Tanzania.