21 Dec 2011

Lala salama Mzee Njoo Uone

    Below is an obituary of Mzee Augustine "Njoo Uone" Hongole, inspirational journalist and activist, and Chair of Kwanza Jamii Njombe's Editorial Board. He will be much missed. This obituary, by our Managing Editor, Simon Mkina, will be published in Kwanza Jamii newspapers next week.

    Lala salama Mzee Njoo Uone
    • Nyota yake imezima ghafla, akiwa anahitajika kujenga maadili, kutetea chai
    Na Simon Mkina

    Mzee Augustino "Njoo Uone" Hongole
    DESEMBA 13, mwaka huu wa 2011 ilikuwa siku ya mwisho kabisa kuuona mwili wa Mzee Augustino Hongole maarufu kama Mzee ‘Njoo Uone’. Ni siku ambayo mwili wake ulibeba zaidi ya tani moja ya mchanga kuutenganisha na uso wa dunia hii.

    19 Dec 2011

    So what's in Tanzania's Draft Open Government Action Plan?

    Tanzania's draft action plan for the Open Government Partnership has evolved and grown significantly since we last posted a draft on this blog. I've posted the full "commitments" section of the latest draft below, with the less interesting preamble, etc, removed - though the full text is also available online. This is the draft that came back from the recent OGP meeting in Brazil, and will be finalised for formal submission to the OGP in April 2012. 

    14 Dec 2011

    Maji Matone hasn't delivered. Time to embrace failure, learn, and move on

    It is no secret that Daraja's Maji Matone programme has not lived up to expectations. In particular, despite considerable resources spent on promotional work - printing and distributing posters and leaflets, as well as extensive broadcasts on local radio - we haven't had the response from the community that we had hoped for.  A six month pilot in three districts resulted in only 53 SMS messages received and forwarded to district water departments (compared to an initial target of 3,000). So we've made a decision - to embrace failure, learn and share lessons from the experience, and to fundamentally redesign the programme.

    Admitting failure in this way is easy to support in theory, but much harder to do in practice. It may be accepted practice in the for-profit world, but it's uncomfortable for a donor-dependent NGO. Would it be easier to continue half-heartedly with a programme that isn't working or close it down quietly and hope that nobody notices? Of course it would. But those approaches would not benefit anyone, wasting money and missing out on valuable opportunities to learn. So we're taking a different tack, embracing and publicising our failures, and trying to make sure we (and others) learn as much as possible from the experience.

    6 Dec 2011

    Rural water supply in Tanzania since independence, and for the next 50 years

    Photo from www.juliusnyerere.info
    It is, quite rightly, the season for raising our eyes and looking up at the horizon. December 9th, 2011 will mark 50 years since the British flag came down on Tanganyika and the country's life as an independent nation began. So what better time to think a little further than the hot political issue of the day (which is usually forgotten within a week or two) or even most NGOs' furthest horizon - the 5 year strategic plan?

    There are plenty of others who are better placed to assess Tanzania's past achievements and future prospects in political or economic terms, so I won't trespass on their terrain. But I can say something about rural water supply. In particular, I have identified two themes of change in the sector - covering the past 50 years and the next - that I think may be of interest.