29 Nov 2011

If NGOs were a Newspaper, by Rakesh Rajani

Rakesh Rajani founded HakiElimu in 2001 and is now the Head of Twaweza (a key partner of Daraja). This column was published in HakiElimu's regular "Hard Questions" slot in The Citizen newspaper on August 27, 2007, Rakesh's final column as HakiElimu's Executive Director.

Unlike his similar and more well-known column, If Government was a Restaurant, this column is not currently available online, which is why I am posting it here. And I do so also with the idea in mind of commenting in future on how Daraja's experience of operating an NGO-run newspaper compares to Rakesh's critique of NGO culture and practices.

If NGOs were a Newspaper
by Rakesh Rajani

Once upon a time world leaders at the UN declared a year of the press. In response, the NGOs resolved to all turn themselves into newspapers. This is what happened.

23 Nov 2011

Guest Post - How Do We Make Dar Es Salaam More Open?

Daraja was asked last week if we would be willing to host a guest post on this blog, from Jeff Jesse, a Tanzanian student leader who is also consulting with the World Bank, on the subject of the Mapping Tandale project. And since we've found ourselves in the middle of a series of posts on Open Government, it seems a very appropriate time to share this experience. 

But let me get out of the way and hand over to Jeff.

How Do We Make Dar Es Salaam More Open? 

Tandale, mapped. Via markiliffe.wordpress.com
In August, I helped out with a very cool process.  Using GPS devices and some free software, in just two weeks a group of about 25 Ardhi University urban planning students, community members and trainers from Nairobi managed to create and publish a map online of Tandale Ward, an unplanned area here in Dar Es Salaam which did not have any existing map.

21 Nov 2011

Naunga Mkono Uwazi Serikalini Tanzania - I Support Open Government in Tanzania

Daraja supports open government in Tanzania.

And for that reason, Daraja has led the creation of a facebook page (together with Twaweza and the Centre for Economic Prosperity) where others can show their support for open government in Tanzania. Or they can post their ideas for what particular aspects of Tanzanian governance should be opened up.

The page is now online at www.facebook.com/NaungaMkonoUwaziSerikalini and I encourage anyone who thinks the Tanzanian government should be more open to visit the page, click on the "Like" button at the top of the page, and  ideas.

17 Nov 2011

Consulting on open government - time to send your ideas

Submit your ideas on open government at wananchi.go.tz
As those of you who follow Daraja closely will know, I spent Tuesday this week at a meeting convened by the Tanzania Open Government Partnership (OGP) Task Force - see here and here for some background on the OGP from this blog, or here (pdf) for a presentation to the Cabinet on the subject. The meeting was to consult civil society and other stakeholders on the Action Plan that Tanzania will take next month to the OGP secretariat at a meeting in Brazil.

The political leadership behind this initiative is impressive, both within and beyond Tanzania. Presidents Obama and Roussef (of Brazil) are driving things internationally, with support from Tanzania's own Rakesh Rajani of Twaweza, representing civil society, and several countries are really pushing ambitious plans - the UK government, for example, says it wants to be "the most open and transparent government in the world".

15 Nov 2011

Proposed contents of Tanzania's Open Government Action Plan

As presented as a first draft to stakeholders consultation meeting by the Tanzania OGP Task Force, Nov 15, 2011. I will post a translation here later.


  • Kuweka utaratibu wa kufanya madawti ya malalamiko yaliyoanzishwa ktk Wizara na Mamlaka za Serikali za Mitaa yafanye kazi
  • Kubaini na kuimarisha matumizi ya masanduku ya maoni yaliyopo ktk vituo vya kutolea huduma na kuweka utaratibu madhubuti wa kutambua yanavyofanya kazi
  • Kupitia upya majukumu ya Bodi na Kamati za Vituo vya utoaji wa huduma ktk sekta za afya, elimu na maji ili kuzifanya zitekeleze majukumu yake ipasavyo
  • Kuweka utaratibu ili kuhakikisha kuwa taarifa za mapato na matumizi zinabandikwa ktk mbao za matangazo ngazi za Halmashauri, kata, vijiji, mitaa na vituo vya kutolea huduma ktk sekta za elimu, afya, maji

14 Nov 2011

The politics of water supply are coming to the boil

Mohammed Dewji helps out. Photo from wavuti.com
This blog has long argued that the major challenges in the water sector are more political than technical. We have also highlighted the fact that the political nature of the challenges has not been matched by political attention. Water supply was largely ignored in the 2010 election campaigns, for example, not featuring in the major campaign promises of any of the big three parties' presidential candidates nor gaining much attention in election media coverage (here and here).

Now, four separate developments in the past few weeks point to a change in the politics of water supply in Tanzania. So what are the new developments, and what is the change that they point to?

11 Nov 2011

Violence in Ludewa caused by dissatisfaction with the Water Sector Development Programme

The following email was distributed last week to the Wanabidii email group, with a very interesting perspective on some of the challenges facing the Water Sector Development Programme. I can't guarantee all the precise details of the story told, though I do have independent confirmation of the basic facts.

I felt that the email deserves to be seen by a wider audience, particularly those with an interest in Tanzania's water sector, as it sheds some additional urgency on the challenges highlighted on this blog recently.

3 Nov 2011

A new paper hits the streets - the launch of Kwanza Jamii Iringa, in pictures

Kwanza Jamii Iringa is out, available across Iringa region. The launch event took place on Tuesday in Iringa town, with the Regional Commissioner, Dr Christine Ishengoma, cutting the ribbon, and with Mrisho "Mjomba" Mpoto keeping the crowd entertained.