The government has been urged to empower village and ward leaders with planning and evaluation skills in a bid to alleviate poverty in their communities.
This was said at the weekend in Dar es Salaam by retired UN employee Bertram Mahai shortly after the launch of a new book on planning, implementation and evaluation of development projects.
The book, authored by Mahai himself, is designed to guide all actors in sustainable development projects charged with providing technical and administrative support in the process of conceptualising, designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating sustainable development projects drawn from various sectors of the economy.
“It is a compendium for members of Parliament, councillors, entrepreneurs, farmers, non-governmental organisations, primary school teachers, ward adult education coordinators and all those actors dealing with sustainable development projects at the village and ward levels,” he said.
Mahai said the officers at village and ward levels are responsible and concerned with influencing the rest of the population in an effort to bring about sustainable development in their communities.
“Most of these officers at the village and ward levels often lack such planning and evaluation skills for designing development projects and thereby contribute to retarding the economy,” he said.
Giving more details about the book, he said it would be of great help to all actors due to easy reference and guidance it provides.
The book is written in Kiswahili language and makes various proposals to involve all participants residing in villages and wards, said Mahai.
According to him, the presentation approach used in compiling the book utilises energies and efforts of all people in a participatory manner targeting to benefit the vast majority in a sustainable way.
Mahai said the approach replaces the traditional process of planning from above without involving the beneficiaries of development projects.
“This step by step methodology in designing, implementing and evaluating sustainable development has been pre-tested through training offered to actors in some selected wards and villages in Mbinga district, Ruvuma region,” he added.
Commenting on the book, a seasoned lecturer Dr James Kikoti said with time and efforts the book might need to be edited and re-edited to fit different circumstances.
In other words, he said, still there was a room for refinement and improvement because after all it that was the first edition.
“This kind of knowledge and skills provided by the author, if followed closely in planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating sustainable development projects, will no doubt bring about significant changes in improving the welfare of the people and thereby alleviate poverty,” he said.