Implemented by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the five-year £42 million (about 126bn/-) initiative will fund civil society organisations to enable them influence delivery of improved public goods and services.
A DFID statement on the program said yesterday that the KPMG Tanzania-managed programme is one of the largest governance and accountability programmes in Africa, and the largest mechanism for supporting civil society in Tanzania. Principally, the UK Aid-funded initiative aims to increase the responsiveness and accountability of the government via a strengthened civil society.
“The Accountability in Tanzania (AcT2) programme funds civil society organizations and networks in Tanzania to ensure the voices of ordinary and marginalized citizens are heard. It also seeks to address issues related to anti-corruption, climate change, gender equality and social inclusion that benefits all citizens,” it reads.
Information on the AcT2 website says that the innovative, national level governance and accountability programme commenced implementation in February 2018 and will run until December 2022. It has a one year extension option and evolved from the AcT1 programme, which was implemented from 2009 to 2016.
During the first phase, the programme reached 7.5 million citizens directly and benefitted another 22.5 million indirectly. Its impact was estimated to be 392bn/- in monetary benefits derived from various improvements, it was noted.
These included increased public budget allocations for services, increased government revenue through taxes, public services, oversight and law enforcement. The list also includes reallocation or restoration of land, reduced barriers to market access and increased earnings for small holder farmers.
Speaking yesterday at the media launch of AcT2, the British High Commissioner, Sarah Cooke said the UK government believes that transparency, accountability and a strong citizen voice are pivotal in spurring development, driving economic growth and fighting poverty in the country.
For that reason, she explained, the United Kingdom supports government programmes and works closely with civil society and the local media to support achievement of these endeavours. The UK Government has a long-standing partnership with Tanzania that has not only delivered economic value but also helped to create thousands of jobs, the envoy underlined.
“Whilst working to support Government programmes is important, we are also working to support civil society and the media in Tanzania. We want to help people in Tanzania influence decisions that affect their lives and hold decision makers to account,” the top British diplomat in the country asserted.
“At the core of this is civil society. Civil society is at the heart of bringing together people and the institutions that serve them to create a better way,” High Commissioner Cooke intoned.
She said the AcT2 programme will focus on key development issues, which affect the everyday lives of Tanzanians. In that regard, the funding will help give citizens a voice in the decisions which affect them, support the inclusion of women, girls and people with disabilities, tackle corruption and deal with effects of climate change.
“As you know, the UK Government has a long-standing partnership with Tanzania. We are the second largest bilateral donor spending of 462bn/- a year,” Cooke said.
“With this money, we work with the Government of Tanzania on a range of sectors. This includes 120bn/- to improve the quality of education and 24bn/- to support the president’s anti-corruption campaign,” she specified.
“Additionally, British companies make positive contributions to Tanzania’s prosperity; we estimate they pay five per cent of all tax revenues in Tanzania and have created nearly 300,000 jobs in sectors such as agriculture, tourism, energy and manufacturing.”
The Accountability in Tanzania (AcT) programme started 10 years ago with a purpose of increasing “the responsiveness and accountability of Government in Tanzania, through a strengthened civil society.”
AcT awarded its first grants in March 2010 and since then it has evolved from being a five-year £20 million programme to incorporating a dedicated Climate Change and Environment (CCE) grant window of £4.2 million in 2012, funded by DFID.
Rehema Tukai, the acting director of the programme, said the overall value of AcT1 was £36 million of which direct funding of civil society organisations amounted to £27.7 million. She said AcT2 will help to strengthen the ability of civil society to analyse and adapt to future challenges.
“It will also seek to improve engagement between decision-makers, citizens and service providers in order to improve access to public goods and services,” she stated, elaborating that the programme’s work complements the government’s efforts to curb corruption and promote accountability.
Top beneficiaries of AcT2 will include the Foundation for Civil Society whose executive director, Francis Kiwanga said the organization expects to support over 400 NGOs annually during the five-year period of the programme.
The head of DFID Tanzania, Beth Arthy, said the programme will tremendously jack up the government’s anti-graft drive.