20 December 2012

Tanzania: NGO Hails State for Embracing Findings

AN advocacy group, Twaweza, has hinted that there are signs the state has started working on recommendations from findings of its numerous surveys and studies conducted in the country.

The Head and Founder of Twaweza, Mr Rakesh Rajani told the 'Daily News' after the launching of a policy brief titled "What does Dar make of governance" that much as the journey was still long, that start was encouraging.

"Yes many surveys have been conducted and next year after increasing our sample size we plan to release findings every month. Though the progress of positive impact is slow, at least we have been able to raise discussions," he said.

Mr Rajani cited the move by Tanzania Food and Drug Authority (TFDA) to look into the selling of prescription drugs, checking medicine prices and increased inspections on unlicensed pharmacies as among the impact of their research.

He said that there were clear signs that TFDA was taking steps in checking on fake drugs as well as other aspects regarding regulation improvements. "Another survey we carried out involved the issuing of bribes to traffic police by truck drivers on check points. We are encouraged that the Inspector General of Police has teamed with an agency and are helping curb this trend," he said.

Mr Rajani highlighted some of the efforts as being the reduction of check points along major highways leading upcountry, the installation of cameras at some checks points and reception of regular feedbacks from the drivers. Another positive impact that the surveys have presented is in the education sector where findings showed that there were many schools but numbers didn't tally with the quality.

"We are encouraged that the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training has changed its plan to one that aims more on numeracy and mathematical literacy," he said.

He said that it was heartening to see that the public was showing less and less signs of complaining but current trends showed that more people were asking themselves what role they have to play.

He cited that Members of Parliament (MPs) were also showing signs of wanting to be more accountable to the public and were also asking themselves what actions they were taking. The policy brief that was launched had findings that included, among others, that many people are dissatisfied with public service delivery, though few take action for change in their communities.

Other findings were that almost half of the respondents do not know their MPs and a large majority of respondents are uninformed about major policy issues. Twaweza conducted a citizen survey in Dar es Salaam in August and September of 2010.

The survey included 550 households in the three municipalities of Ilala, Kinondoni, and Temeke. Respondents were asked questions about their views on service delivery and how they responded to service delivery challenges in their localities.

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