7 Dec 2012

Presentation: The Media and Democracy in Tanzania

This is a copy of the presentation made yesterday by Ben Taylor of Daraja at a public seminar organised by the Britain-Tanzania Society (BTS) and the Centre for African Studies at SOAS:

19 Nov 2012

Public Seminar: The Media and Democracy in Tanzania

Daraja's founding Executive Director will be speaking next month at a public seminar in London, UK, on "The Media and Democracy in Tanzania". Also speaking will be Ananilea Nkya of the Tanzania Media Women's Association (TAMWA) and UK-based Tanzanian journalist, Freddy Macha

It is a public event, open to all, no need to book, just come along: 

Date: December 6th, 2012 
Time: 5-7pm 
Location: SOAS Russell Square Campus (Room 4421), London WC1H 0XG

The event is organised by the Britain-Tanzania Society (BTS) and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

17 Oct 2012

Haba na Haba on water supply, featuring Daraja and Tawasanet

BBC Media Action (formerly the World Service Trust) are producing a radio show at the moment - Haba na Haba - that aims to facilitate dialogue between ordinary people and their leaders. The latest show in the series looked at water supply, and featured interviews with, among others, Daraja's Sauli Gilliard and the chair of Tawasanet Deus Masige.

10 Oct 2012

More sources on killing of journalist Daud Mwangosi

October 9th 2012 - including reports from Nchimbi's committee and MCT+TEF

ITV news

October 10th


http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/index.php?l=46746 (Mwangosi death: The findings)
http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/index.php?l=46747 (Govt: Bad blood between police, journalists to blames)
http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/index.php?l=46748 (RPC Kamuhanda alisimamia mauaji ya Mwangosi- Ripoti)


http://www.freemedia.co.tz/daima/habari.php?id=41387 (Kamati ya Dk. Nchimbi imeacha maswali mengi):

"Kwetu Tanzania Daima, kama chombo huru, tuna kila sababu ya kuhoji kulikuwa na haja gani ya Kamati hiyo kupewa jina ‘Kamati ya kuchunguza mauaji ya Mwangosi’ kama nia ilikuwa ni kutoa mapendekezo na kusema nini kifanyike na si kuweka hadharani kiini kizima na hata kuorodhesha wanaopaswa kuwajibika. 
Kama kamati hiyo iliundwa kwa ajili ya kuweka hadharani ripoti ya mapendekezo na si kutafuta kiini cha mauaji basi ingepewa jina la ‘Kamati ya kumshauri Waziri/serikali kuhusu mauaji ya Mwangosi.’ 
Majibu na matokeo ya namna hii inaifanya jamii ipoteze imani na kamati na tume kadhaa zinazoundwa kuchunguza mauaji na masuala mengine yaliyoigusa jamii moja kwa moja kama hili la mauaji ya Mwangosi. 
Athari ya matokeo ya namna hiyo ni nyingi kwa jamii, ikiwamo kupoteza imani na vyombo vya vyombo vya serikali, hali inayoweza kuwafanya wananchi kujichukuliwa sheria mkononi. 
Tunamaliza maoni yetu kwa kuishauri serikali kwamb, kama kweli ina nia ya dhati katika kushughulikia matukio makubwa kama hayo, kamwe isifanye mchezo danganya toto."




http://chragg.go.tz/?p=313 (MUHTASARI WA TAARIFA YA TUME YA UCHUNGUZI WA TUKIO LILILOPELEKEA KIFO CHA DAUDI MWANGOSI) - Tume ya Haki za Binadamu na Utawala Bora

9 Oct 2012

Dr Nchimbi's committee report - a quick first read

Minister Nchimbi receiving the report, via mjengwablog.com
And now the report from Dr Nchimbi's committee is also out (and see also this downloadable version). This is the report commissioned by Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Nchimbi, into the killing of journalist Daud Mwangosi in Nyololo, Mufindi, on September 2nd. It follows the publication earlier today of a hard-hitting report into the same event by the Media Council of Tanzania and Tanzania Editors' Forum.

It has been prepared by a team of five: Retired Judge Steven Ihema (chair), Pili Mtambalike of MCT, Colonel Wema Wilson Wekwe (a munitions expert), Theophil Makunga (of Mwananchi Communications) and the Deputy Police Commissioner, Issaya Juma Mngulu.

The story it tells and the conclusions it reaches are very different from the MCT-TEF report. Some excerpts:

"The decision of Chadema to insist on congregating illegitimately in the Nyololo area, taking into account the text message from Dr Slaa, Secretary of Chadema which said "IGP I'm waiting for your call. Inform your police that they should prepare enough bullets, enough bombs. You will have a feast of killings and finally celebrations, prepare yourselves to go to court in the Hague. It's better that we die than these abuses": This message that indicates the spilling of blood is evidence enough of breaking the peace. Chadema is the souce of the unrest and breach of the peace in the village of Nyololo on September 2nd, 2012." *

Independent report on killing of Mwangosi is out

Report cover
The first report into the killing of journalist Daud Mwangosi in Mufindi on September 2nd is now out.

This not the report commissioned by the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Nchimbi (which is also due to be published today). And it is not the report being prepared by the police. 

Instead, it comes from two leading media institutions - the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) and Tanzania Editors' Forum (TEF) - produced by their three-person team of John Mireny (MCT), Hawra Shamte (Mwananchi / TEF) and Simon Berege (Tumaini University, Iringa). Although produced by the media industry, the report can be reasonably considered to be more independent than either of the official reports.

A first read through the report (which is available in both English and Swahili) makes it clear that the report is hard-hitting. It appears to be thorough and well analysed. And it is highly critical of the police, particularly Regional Police Commander (RPC) Michael Kamuhanda.

18 Sep 2012

Kwanza Jamii - evidence of impact

By Daraja's Monitoring and Research Officer, Eric Kalunga

Daraja’s  Kwanza Jamii programe’s main goal is to have local print media play an effective role in promoting responsive and accountable local government in rural areas of Tanzania. The Kwanza Jamii newspapers in Njombe and Iringa demonstrate an effective, sustainable and scalable business model for local print media that can then be applied elsewhere by other parties hoping for similar outcomes - like more effective delivery of education, road and health services.

As a model, the newspaper demonstrates that local print media can create pressure, thus encouraging  responsive local government. Over the past two years there have been several cases that have demonstrated this: from a bad situation at Njombe Bus stand that we covered and relevant authorities moved swiftly to improve the situation; to an article about lack of education on HIV/AIDS in Ikondo village located in Njombe district which led to that education being provided there; to a story on access to the capitation grant for secondary schools after which district officials publicly appeared to be upset but secretly confirmed the inadequacy of the grant. These examples are testament to the idea that local media can provide the missing link between poor service provision and government action.

14 Sep 2012

Mwangosi killed, a policeman charged. What next?

"Our pens and cameras are more than their bullets and bombs." Picture from HabariLeo
So finally a policeman has been charged with the murder of Daud Mwangosi. Given the apparent strength of the evidence, and the pressure that the media has put on the government - both through its coverage and its protests - this latest development should not be a surprise. There was no way out.

But we're left with an unsatisfactory half-resolution. There are still lots of unanswered questions.

One policeman may have pulled the trigger on the tear-gas gun that killed Mwangosi, but what about the others who were apparently beating him badly even before the fatal shot was fired? Are they going to be held to account as well or will they be allowed to escape punishment for their disproportionate and unprofessional actions?

What about the Regional Police Commander, who was at the scene, could see what was happening, and did nothing to stop it?

11 Sep 2012

Damu ya Mwangosi kutegua unafiki wa waandishi?

Managing Editor of Daraja's Kwanza Jamii newspapers, Simon Mkina, in his weekly column in Kwanza Jamii Iringa:

Damu ya Mwangosi kutegua unafiki wa waandishi?
Na Simon Mkina

NIMELIA. Nikalia na kulia tena na tena, kila napoona picha ama kusikia wengine wakimlilia mwandishi mwenzetu.

Nalia zaidi nikiona waandishi waliokuwa karibu zaidi na Daudi Mwangosi, yule mwandishi wa Kituo cha Televisheni cha Channel 10, aliyekuwa akiripoti kutoka Iringa.

4 Sep 2012

Daud Mwangosi - A line has been crossed

Channel 10 journalist and chair of the Iringa Press Club, Daud Mwangosi, was killed on Sunday by the police. This horrific and tragic event took place in the village of Nyololo, Mufindi district, during clashes between the police and Chadema supporters.

For once, the brutal details of this brutal killing seem very clear and easily available, as there were 7 other journalists present at the time. Francis Godwin's eyewitness blogpost is highly recommended, as is this post from Frank Leonard (both in Swahili, as are most of the links here). Subi Nukta has collected some photos together, though be warned that some are pretty graphic. And Monday's ITV news included some very clear eyewitness reports (again via Subi Nukta):

Key sources on killing of Daud Mwangosi

A collection of key sources on the Daud Mwangosi killing:

Francis Godwin:

Maggid Mjengwa:

Msiba photos:

2 Jul 2012

Social Workers in every ward?

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has indicated that it wants social workers in every ward.

According to the article in the Daily News,
"Tanzania will for the first time have social workers posted to ward and village stations." 
"The Commissioner for Social Welfare at the Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children, Dunford Makala said the ministry has set a goal of training 6,000 individuals to bridge the gap in the social welfare sector thereby strengthening the country's severely overstretched social welfare workforce."
And yet, in the very same article, Mr Makala said
"some 22 councils do not even have social welfare officers. [...] Significant among their challenges was the shortage of funds."
When there aren't enough funds for social welfare officers in every council, where are the funds for ward and village level social workers going to come from? 

25 Jun 2012

Guest Post: Hotuba ya bajeti ya maji itoe majibu ya maswali haya

A guest post from Daraja's Richard Lucas, Programme Manager of the Maji Matone programme.

Hotuba ya bajeti ya maji itoe majibu ya maswali haya 
Katuni ya HabariLeo, tarehe 20 Juni, 2012

Mnamo tarehe 31, Mei 2012, kwenye gazeti la Mwananchi, mhariri alichapisha barua ya mwananchi wa kijiji cha Rungwa yenye kichwa cha habari ‘Waziri Mkuu tusaidie tupate maji’. Katika barua hii mwananchi huyu anamwomba Waziri Mkuu awasaidie kupata maji, maana kumekuwa na mkakati wa kuwaletea maji kwa miaka mingi ambao haujafanikiwa. Anaeleza kuwa mkakati huo ulikuwa ni wa kuwaletea mradi wa benki ya dunia ambapo walipaswa kuchanga asilimia tano ya gharama za mradi. Fedha hizo wameshazikamilisha miaka miwili iliyopita lakini hakuna kinachoendelea.

Kilio cha mwananchi huyu, ni kilio cha wananchi wengi katika kila wilaya. Serikali kupitia Programu ya Maendeleo ya Sekta ya Maji ilipanga kupatia vijiji kumi kila wilaya miradi ya maji. Washauri walichaguliwa, wakafanya tathmini, wakatengeneza michoro na kisha kuwahamasisha wananchi kujipanga na kuchangia asilimia kati ya 2.5 hadi 5 kutokana na aina ya mradi. Mchakato huu umekamilika takribani miaka mitatu iliyokwisha lakini miradi hii haitekelezwi.

Bajeti ya Maji

Mwaka wa fedha unaoisha (2011/12) serikali ilitenga bajeti ya sh 621.6 bilioni kwenye sekta ya maji ambapo katika hizo sh 86.7 bilioni zilielekezwa katika ujenzi wa miradi ya maji ya vijiji kumi kwenye serikali za mitaa. Sina uhakika kuwa fedha hizi zilitosha miradi kwenye vijiji vingapi, lakini Waziri mwenye dhamana anapaswa kutolea majibu swali hili kwenye hotuba ya bajeti ya maji. Pamoja na swali hili la msingi, tunataka Waziri atumie fursa hiyo kuwaeleza wananchi kinagaubaga hatima ya miradi ya vijiji kumi. Taarifa hizi ni muhimu kuwafikia wananchi kwa kuwa tayari wamekata tamaa, hawapo tayari kushirikiana na watendaji wa serikali kuhusu masuala ya maji.

Wakati bajeti ya nchi imeongezeka kufikia trilioni 15 kwa mwaka wa fedha 2012/13, serikali inakusudia kutenga sh 568.8 bilioni kwa ajili ya sekta ya maji, ambapo fedha hizo zimepungua kwa sh 52.8 toka bajeti inayokwisha. Bajeti hii inazidi kuwa pungufu zaidi endapo tutazingatia suala la mfumuko wa bei. Wazo hapa sio namna gani hii bajeti ni kidogo, bali ni namna gani bajeti hii imelenga kutatua kero za muda mrefu za maji. Ni vipaumbele gani ambavyo bajeti hii imelenga? Je malengo ya bajeti hii ndio matatizo ya makuu ya wananchi?

Changamoto ya usambazaji maji vijijini

Kutodumu kwa miundombinu ya maji ni changamoto kubwa katika jitihada za kuongeza upatikanaji maji safi na salama hasa vijijini. Kasi ya kuharibika kwa miradi ya maji inaweza kuwa sambamba na kasi yetu katika kujenga miradi mipya ya maji. Bajeti inayokuja ilenge kupambana na tatizo la kutodumu kwa miradi na miundombinu ya maji. Takwimu zinaonesha kuwa kwa miradi mipya, asilimia 25 inakuwa haifanyi kazi baada ya miaka miwili. Zipo sababu mbalimbali zinazosababisha tatizo hili, ambazo zinahitaji kufanyiwa jitihada za dhati kupambana nazo.

Bajeti  ya maji izingatie nini

Mambo muhimu ya kuzingatia kwa sasa ni ufahamu na utekelezaji wa sera mpya ya maji (ya mwaka 2002) na sheria namba 12 ya mwaka 2009. Haya yafanyike kwa kuboresha mifumo pamoja na kuwajengea uwezo watumishi waweze kutekeleza majukumu yao kama yalivyoainishwa katika sera hizi. Zaidi juhudi za makusudi zifanyike kuwawezesha wananchi kufahamu taarifa za sera hizi, watambue majukumu yao ili waweze kuyatekeleza. Zaidi ya hapo inaonekana serikali inajenga miradi na kuitelekeza kwa wananchi.

Pia bajeti ilenge kuboresha uwezo halmashauri kufanya ufuatiliaji wa maendeleo ya miradi ya maji inayoendeshwa na wananchi. Ufuatiliaji utawezesha halmashauri kutambua matatizo ya wananchi katika kuendesha miradi ya maji, na vile vile kuwawezesha kutimiza wajibu wao wa kusaidia na kushauri waendeshaji wa miradi ya maji vijijini. Miradi mingi inakumbwa na migogoro ambayo inasababisha miradi hiyo kuzorota na kufa. Halmashauri nyingi zinalalamika kutokuwa na rasilimali fedha na nyingine za kuwawezesha kusimamia na kushauri jamii katika uendeshaji wa miradi ya maji.

Jambo jingine ni uundwaji na usaijili wa vyombo vya watumia maji (COWSOs). Bajeti hii itenge fedha za kuwajengea uwezo wasajili walioteuliwa na halmashauri. Wasajili hawa wameteuliwa lakini hawafahamu vizuri sheria za maji, na hasa majukumu yao katika kusajili vyombo hivi. Pia, wahamasishaji wajengewe uwezo kuhusu sera, mipango, mikakati, sheria na mambo mengine muhimu yanayohusu maji ili waweze kuandaa wananchi kuunda vyombo thabiti vitakavyodumu. Tusipozingatia hili, miaka michache tutakuwa tunaongelea tatizo la kutodumu kwa vyombo hivi vya watumia maji (COWSO).

Haya ni baadhi ya mambo machache ya kimfumo ambayo yakifanyiwa kazi tunaweza kupiga hatua kubwa katika kutatua changamoto ya kutodumu kwa mifumo/miundombinu/miradi ya maji.

Tukumbuke kuwa wananchi wanahitaji maji na sio mikakati.

Richard Lucas anapatikana kwa email kupitia richardlucas@daraja.org  

4 Apr 2012

"A good news man in Africa," says Simon Kelner

Daraja's Kwanza Jamii newspaper was the focus of Simon Kelner's column in The Independent newspaper (in the UK) today. This follows his visit to Njombe in February, in his role as Chief Executive of The Journalism Foundation.

Cut through a wattle forest, the dirt track to Lupembe does not afford the visitor from Europe an easy ride. From the nearest main road, it's a three-hour, bone-jarring journey – "an African massage," my companion said – to the heart of Tanzania's tea-growing country, through countryside that is more reminiscent of northern Europe than of Africa. It was the tail-end of the rainy season, and the verdant, rolling hills spoke of Derbyshire or the Dordogne.

2 Apr 2012

The truth has no price - visiting @Verdade in Maputo

Daraja's Simon Mkina, Managing Editor of our Kwanza Jamii local newspapers visited Mozambique recently. He was there to learn from the experiences of the @Verdade newspaper, a weekly newspaper that like Kwanza Jamii, puts the community first. Unlike Kwanza Jamii, however, @Verdade is distributed free of charge. In this post, Simon Mkina tells us what he found.

By Simon Mkina

THERE is no way, one could walk around Maputo City without seeing  busy shopelas (three wheeler tuk-tuk,  in Shangana vernacular)  stopping by the road sides embarking or disembarking passengers.

Shopela, yellow tuk-tuk do that in all busy streets in Maputo, the capital city of Mozambique, from Monday to Thursday, but not on Fridays or Saturdays. Those two days are reserved for something else.

So what are they doing in the mornings on those two days? Simple, they are busy distributing heaps of newspapers to various areas in Maputo and in the locations.

30 Mar 2012

"We can't change things" - research on citizens' attitudes to local governance

"We can't change things". This was what focus group participants told us when we conducted a study into citizens' attitudes towards local governance in Njombe, Ludewa and Makete. They were talking particularly about corruption, and expressing the idea that though they don't like corruption, they don't feel there's anything they can do about it. The corrupt go unpunished, the poor feel even more powerless, creating more space for corruption to continue - a vicious circle.

I presented a draft report of this study to the REPOA Annual Research Workshop in Dar es Salaam this week, on behalf of Frank Kaduma and Kapongola Nganyanyuka, the study's main authors. The presentation is enclosed below, and the full draft report can be found here.

28 Mar 2012

A window back in time, Twende Pamoja local newspaper, 1956-1957

Good sources of information on local history in Tanzania are as rare as they are interesting. Which is why I was delighted that after much searching, we have finally found copies of Njombe's Twende Pamoja local newspaper dating from 1956 and 1957.

The paper was published by the Njombe District African Council prior to independence and the Njombe District Council after independence. According to Martin Sturmer's fascinating Media History of Tanzania (pdf), it was published between 1953 and 1964, though the issue numbers of the papers we have found suggest that it started a little later, in 1955. Each issue consists of 8 A4 pages and the paper was published monthly in Swahili.

It's a fascinating glimpse on a past world. I can highly recommend having a look, particularly if you have any interest in Tanzanian history, the lives and concerns of "ordinary" people, outside the world of high politics.There are arguments about high bride prices and discussions on witchcraft as well as how to improve agricultural productivity. There's a surprising amount of news about new initiatives to establish community groups - from the "Domestic and Hotel Workers Union" to the "Mdandu African Traders Association". And there's a huge amount of what would now be called "citizen journalism" - letters to the editor, articles and opinion pieces written by readers.

26 Mar 2012

Change in Samaria Village

Samaria village centre
By Eric Kalunga, Daraja's Monitoring and Research Officer, and a participant on the recent Twaweza immersion exercise in Njombe

Samaria is a village in the new region Njombe and like many such villages in this area and most likely elsewhere in Tanzania it has its problems. Such problems include capitation grant not reaching the school, no electricity, poor roads and some unique ones like thugs who control the potato and wheat trade.

Samaria seems ripe for an NGO intervention. Get in there and start people talking, empower women to ask questions, get local artistes to sing about accountability and pin advocacy posters on every single door… and every single tree and the back of the local daladala too.

22 Mar 2012

Maji Week, World Water Day, what more can we say?

Photo from Tanzania Journalists' Alliance
Over the past two years, this blog has repeatedly looked at Tanzania's water sector. We've looked at survey data on the state of water supply services, at citizens' attitudes to water and sanitation issues, at how the media and politicians engage in the sector, and at how the sector as a whole operates.

Today is World Water Day, the culmination of Maji Week, with the national "celebrations" taking place this year in Iringa. But rather than look for another aspect of the sector to analyse, let's look back at what this blog has said about Tanzania's water sector over the past two years, with 10 interesting facts about rural water supply:

19 Mar 2012

Tunaadhimisha wiki ya maji bila maji!

Na Richard Lucas

Tupo kwenye kuadhimisha wiki ya maji kitaifa ambapo kitaifa maadhimisho haya yanafanyika mkoani Iringa. Kauli mbiu ya mwaka huu ni Maji Safi ya Kunywa kwa Uhakika wa Chakula. Kwa miaka mingi serikali imekuwa ikifanya jitihada mbalimbali kuhakikisha wananchi tunapata maji safi na salama. Maadhimisho ya wiki ya maji ni mojawapo ya jitihada, ambapo kwangu mimi naona inalenga kutoa elimu na fursa kwa wadau mbalimbali weweze kujadili namna ya kuboresha huduma hii hasa kwa maeneo ya vijijini ambapo imendeelea kuwa ndoto. Swali ni kuwa, kwetu sisi wananchi maadhimisho ya maji yanapaswa kutusaidia nini?

13 Mar 2012

On citizens' agency and accountability: Some quick thoughts from Twaweza immersion

Daraja had the pleasure last week of hosting a large group of Twaweza staff and partners for their annual "immersion exercise". On Monday morning they set off from our office, in pairs, to join host households in rural villages around Njombe district, returning on Thursday.

It's not a formal research exercise, but rather an opportunity to get a glimpse of life as lived by people in a different setting - people who Twaweza is trying to reach.

Friday was back in our office, sharing and discussing the exercise to extract some broader learning. A lot of interesting points we raised, but one theme came up several times - is it better to work around a struggling system, or to try to make that system work better?

What if supporting "citizens' agency" involves citizens taking actions that solve problems but which undermine government accountability?

8 Mar 2012

The world is doing well on water supply, but leaving Tanzania behind

Globally, the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for water supply has been met. A new report from UN Water, UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, launched this week, reported that 89% of the world's population now has access to water from an improved source. This has quite rightly been a cause for celebration and media coverage (see here and here from the (UK) Guardian, and from the BBC), a rare good news story.

But here in Tanzania, we can't share in the celebrations. The official UN estimates of access to clean and safe water in Tanzania, taken from the same new report that produced the MDG headlines, show that in Tanzania access has hardly changed since 1990, or even declined - see table and chart. 

28 Feb 2012

Parliament as "a place of abject poverty": Social media reactions to Speaker's remarks

Speaker of Parliament and Njombe South MP, Anne Makinda
The Speaker of Parliament, Anne Makinda recently announced that come 2015 she won't be standing again as MP for Njombe South. She blamed the recent failed attempt to increase MPs' allowances for low morale among MPs generally, and indicated that this was her reason for stepping down.

In her remarks, made in Njombe town on Saturday Feb 25th, Makinda, who has been the local MP for 17 years, made the following comments (the original Swahili is posted below):
"And I say this with full emphasis: the perception of all people, including you who are here, when I walk is that they see me as money, when they hear I am speaker it's worse. There's nobody with more money than me. Nobody. Yes, I come to tell you that in 2015 I will not stand. And I request your permission to borrow money and build a house. Otherwise you will come to insult me: 'that woman never built a house'. This is the real truth, you can't believe me but I tell you, God knows we speak the truth, and this is the real situation of MPs. Right now this is a very frustrated group."
 "Now, these allowances we were talking about, we have our procedures, all over the world there are allowance procedures. Increasing MPs allowances, during parliamentary sittings, and that's nine days, we have four sittings, three of which are only nine days. So MPs get these allowances just for nine days, that's all. When he/she comes back, like me here now, there's no allowance. I tell you, ten years from now, anybody with an occupation or who was working as a professor somewhere, will not run for parliament. Because this is a place of abject poverty. It's a place of complete and abject poverty. Ah, you like to like what you like but I tell you facts, and I am a Christian person, I don't lie."

27 Feb 2012

So what have we learnt? Summarising lessons from Maji Matone Phase 1

I realise that this blog has already devoted a lot of space to the recent failure of our Maji Matone programme. Or to be more precise, to the failure of the programme's first phase. Another post risks boring readers by going over the same ground. But previous posts have left some lose ends that need tying up, and we shouldn't forget that the programme has had some successes as well as failures. So it's time for one final post in this series*, trying to bring together all the main lessons from the programme in one place and looking forward to Maji Matone Phase 2. 

So what did we learn?

23 Feb 2012

Independent monitoring of Dar's water supply

Would you believe someone who said they had just had one drink? Or would you prefer to ask someone else who had seen them in the bar? I know who I would believe.

So who would you trust more to tell you about the state of public services: the government department responsible for delivering those services, or someone independent? 

In both cases, independent monitoring, (or at least independent verification), is likely to produce much more trustworthy results. 

Which is why some new data on water supplies in Dar es Salaam from a World Bank-financed survey is very interesting - part of the Mobile Phone Public Services Monitoring Survey, previously under Twaweza. It contradicts official data from the Ministry of Water and DAWASCO in several ways. Analysts in the sector had always assumed that this official data was unreliable, but had always used it anyway because there was no alternative, better, independent data to work with. 

20 Feb 2012

Why did Maji Matone fail? 3. Citizens' engagement, risk and apathy?

"If you're scared as well, let's just leave it."
This is the third post in a series exploring possible reasons why Maji Matone hasn't worked. The first post looked at the challenge of making the technology fit the context, specifically rural Tanzania. And the second looked at some specific challenges related to rural water supply. A final post will try to summarise what we've learnt from the experience. 

Why did Maji Matone fail? 3. Citizens' engagement, risk and apathy?

When Madeleine Bunting of the (UK) Guardian interviewed the head of Twaweza, Rakesh Rajani, she reported his concerns that in Tanzania
"there is still a deferential culture towards the government, and people don't have that sense of agency that something could – and should – be changed. That sense of entitlement that government services can and should work, is what Rajani is trying to provoke. It is basic to the way western democracies work, so it's hard to appreciate how its absence shapes a political culture. But Rajani hopes this is finally changing, and that a new generation will use the contemporary technologies of communication to transform how countries are governed and public services delivered."
Our Maji Matone programme, delivered with Twaweza as our main partners, represents both the hope and the fear expressed in that passage. The hope - that new communications technologies can transform the relationship between citizens and their government - is exactly what Maji Matone was trying to deliver. The fear - that widespread apathy and a low sense of entitlement undermine political accountability - is one possible reason why the programme failed. Perhaps we didn't get many messages because people felt that there was no point, that nothing would change as a result?

15 Feb 2012

Looking for a Tanzanian website designer with Wordpress skills

Daraja is looking for a Tanzanian website designer to finalise the website for our Kwanza Jamii newspapers. You must have experience designing websites using wordpress.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please complete the form below.

UPDATE (22/2/2012): The deadline for completing this form has now passed, shortlisted applicants will be contacted shortly.

13 Feb 2012

Why did Maji Matone fail? 2. The world of water supply?

This is the second post in a series exploring possible reasons why Maji Matone hasn't worked. The previous post looked at the challenge of making the technology fit the context, specifically rural Tanzania. And the final post, (now available), will look at citizens' engagement, risk and apathy.

Why did Maji Matone fail? 2. The world of water supply?

People outside the water sector often take the view that delivering water to people should be easy. Drill a borehole, install a pump and some pipes, and you're done. Those who work in the water sector know that it's not so simple. Just as the difficult bit in Maji Matone was not finding the right technology, the difficult bit in rural water supply is about people - how the borehole, pump and pipes should be managed so that they last.

10 Feb 2012

Guest Post: Wabunge kufadhili miradi kunadumaza maendeleo

Richard Lucas
Guest post from Richard Lucas, Programme Manager of Daraja's Maji Matone programme

Wabunge kufadhili miradi kunadumaza maendeleo 

Imekuwa jambo la kawaida kwa wananchi kuwaomba viongozi wao, hasa wabunge wawasaidie kugharamia miradi ya maendeleo. Mazoea haya yametufanya tusahau majukumu halisi ya wawakilishi wetu na pengine jukumu letu la kuwawajibisha pale wanapokwenda kinyume na wajibu wao.

Wabunge wamesahau majukumu yao ya msingi, badala yake wanajitwika majukumu ya serikali. Hali hii pia inasababisha wananchi tusahau vigezo muhimu vya kuchagua viongozi na kutumbukia kwenye mkumbo wa kuchagua viongozi matajiri-ambao nao wanaitumia fursa hiyo vilivyo kuimarisha utajiri wao pamoja na kuulinda.

8 Feb 2012

Why did Maji Matone fail? 1. Low tech obstacles to high tech solutions?

Back in December, I blogged about the failure of Maji Matone - that we simply didn't get the level of citizens' engagement that we had hoped and expected, and that we were therefore going to redesign the programme to work in a different way. And I promised that a series of blogposts in early 2012 would examine this failure in more detail, so that as many people as possible can benefit from our experience. This is therefore the first in a short series of posts on what went wrong, from our perspective. In this post I will write about matching technology to context. In the second post I will write on issues specific to rural water supply, and the final post in the series will look at citizens engagement, risk and apathy.

Why did Maji Matone fail? 1. Low-tech obstacles to high-tech solutions?
Low-tech obstacles to high-tech solutions

When we started working on Maji Matone, one of our earliest tasks was to find the right software to handle the flow of SMSs. There were plenty of possible technological options, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Using an existing software package such as FrontlineSMS, Rapid SMS or FreedomFone was one option. Finding a software engineer to design and build something specifically for us (or to customise an existing package such as Ushahidi or Human Sensor Webs) was another. Or we could contract a commercial aggregation firm (such as Push Mobile or Starfish Mobile) to handle the technology for us (which is what we did).

6 Feb 2012

Simon Kelner visits Daraja

Simon Kelner with Kwanza Jamii Managing Editor, Simon Mkina,
and Igombola Village Executive Officer, Brighton Mdoya

Daraja was honoured last week to play host to an illustrious visitor from the UK - Simon Kelner. Until a few months ago, Simon was the editor of The Independent newspaper, famed for his enthusiasm for innovation, whether in poster-style front pages or as the driving force behind the Independent's new sister paper, the i. He continues to write a regular column for the paper. But his main role now is as Chief Executive of The Journalism Foundationa new independent charitable foundation which promotes, develops and sustains free and independent journalism throughout the world, set up and provided with core funding by the proprietor of the Independent, Evgeny Lebedev. It was in this capacity that Simon was visiting Daraja, to learn more about our Kwanza Jamii newspapers, and to discuss ideas for how his foundation can support our work.

31 Jan 2012

Who will drive change in Tanzania? Young people?

By Daraja's Monitoring and Research Officer, Eric Kalunga

Last week Twaweza hosted a panel discussion. The theme was ‘who will drive change in Tanzania?’ while the country is at a crossroads and faces unprecedented crises. It was proposed the choices that are made in the next few years may be pivotal to moving Tanzania forward.  But to do this who do people turn to? The government? CCM?  Chadema? Religion?  NGOs?  The media or an enlightened private sector? The three panelists represented three sectors among our potential saviours; Maria Sarungi, John Ulanga and Zitto Kabwe.

“Frustrations are so huge we are in a situation of hopelessness,” said Zitto Kabwe (MP Chadema) when he was invited to speak by the moderator Ayoub Warioba. He spoke of a leadership crisis, lack of accountability and citizens who do not trust each other anymore. The way out according to the MP was a strong accountability system, an independent media (not the ‘mercenary media’ we have now) and evidence based civil society organizations. But above all this he said we needed to place all our hopes in the young and upcoming politicians. Create a code of ethics for young politicians and have periodic reviews to ensure no one steps out of line. According to Mr Kabwe, this is the way to avoid the crisis looming over Tanzania.

25 Jan 2012

Deputy Minister for Local Government, Agrrey Mwanri, visits Njombe

Deputy Ministry for PMORALG, Aggrey Mwanri (left)
I got an invitation last week to a meeting with the Deputy Minister for Local Government (PMORALG/TAMISEMI), Agrrey Mwanri, who was visiting Njombe. The invitation said he had requested to meet with local government leaders, religious leaders and "wazee wa mji" (town elders). Since I'm neither a leader of local government nor any religious group, I supposed I must have qualified for "elder" status, and thought I should go along. Plus, Mwanri has been making quite a stir locally with his unusually hands-on approach to his role (see photo, and the links below), and I wanted to see what the fuss what about.

I was not disappointed. The Minister spoke at length (around 3 hours) without notes on issues of local governance, and was clearly in confident command of his brief.

18 Jan 2012

Running a hybrid - NGO and media cultures combine

A little while ago, I posted an old op-ed column by Rakesh Rajani, in which he asked "What if NGOs were newspapers?" And I promised to follow it up with some thoughts on our situation here at Daraja, where we are an NGO that runs newspapers, to see how accurate Rakesh's ideas were. Well, here goes.

Rakesh's main point was that NGOs are not subject to the strict deadlines that rule newspapers' work, or to the same kind of pressure that newspapers face to give readers what they want. A reporter who misses a deadline finds that their story isn't published. A newspaper that comes out late risks missing out on sales and undermining their readers' trust. And if a newspaper writes about things that don't interest their readers then that paper won't get bought again. The nearest equivalent pressures on NGOs have often very little to do with the community - their "beneficiaries" - and more to do with keeping their donors happy.

In other words, NGOs aren't as strongly accountable to the community as newspapers for doing their work on time or for doing it well.

6 Jan 2012

A good start to 2012

2011 ended with a disappointment - the loss of Mzee "Njoo Uone" Augstino Hongole, the chair of Kwanza Jamii Njombe's Editorial Board and inspiration to Daraja, was hard to take.

But he would have been delighted with how 2012 has begun, with our Kwanza Jamii newspapers getting wider exposure in the UK. The Journalism Foundation, a recently-established body headed by Simon Kelner, respected former editor of The Independent newspaper, has published an article by Daraja's Executive Director, Ben Taylor, "Local newspaper project putting the community first in rural Tanzania". This is one of a series of first-person accounts from people "on the journalistic front line," introduced here by Simon Kelner.