During the training, the training aimed to highlight the importance and load that the members have especially with the timeline being the last 10 years of Action, ambition and commitment as termed by the United Nations, the DECADE OF ACTION. This was also an opportunity to invite new volunteers to the group and keep them in the loop of the objectives of the PSGD.
In ensuring commitment and a “division of labor”, the members committed to different goals, individually following their interests and linking to other committees that they are members in the society, this is because the SDGs touch every committee therefore a better pool to discuss and inform other MPs on the SDGs. However, the training included fetching experience from the Finnish Parliament, presented by Jenni Kaupila from UNA Finland.
UNA Tanzania believes in the importance of and power of the Members of Parliament, to make impact in the monitoring, review and the implementation of the SDGs especially at a time where the last phase of the Long term Perspective Plan, FYDP III 2021/22 – 2025/26 is underway, therefore an opportunity to integrate the SDGs in the plan.
On the journey to the last 10 years of the SDGS, UNA Tanzania supported our youth wing, YUNA Tanzania and actively participated in School Outreaches in Pwani Region, Mwinyi Secondary School in Mkuranga District and one in Temeke District in Dar es Salaam, Charambe Secondary School.
The outreaches met more than 500 young people from Form One to Form Six, both boys and girls. The main objective was to provide awareness on the global goals, emphasize active participation on young people being part of the journey through joining UN Clubs that our Youth Wing oversee in Secondary schools and Universities but also share opportunities that young people of their age can participate in.
The outreach was also an opportunity to put emphasis on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights especially to the young girls who are most prone to undergo temptations and destruction through their way to achieve their goals.
For effective governance of 10% administered at local government for impactful empowerment of groups of women, youth and people with disabilities UNA Tanzania and President Office development of National Guideline is on going.
Morogoro: UNA Tanzania and President Office Regional Administration and Local Government Authorities are developing the national guideline for effective governance of free interest loan 10% loan set by Local Government Authorities. The 10% Loans are set to uplift economically disadvantaged groups of women, youth and people with disabilities household income. The presence of loans trace back in 1993 when the parliament of Tanzania made a resolution due to the limited access to fixed collateral required by the banks for loan granting decisions.
In 2018, the Government of Tanzania amended Section 37 of Local Government Finance Act by adding that all Local Government Authorities to mandatory set aside 10% interest free loans from their own revenue for empowerment of women, youth and people with disabilities, by providing groups to carry out income generating activities to lift their households out of poverty. These 10% free interest loans are distributed by 4-4-2 principal (4% women, 4% youth, 2% people with disabilities (PWDs).
To make sure the amendments of the Local Government Finance Act, 2018 are adequately implemented and well known to the citizens, the Government introduced the Regulation for Loan Provision and Management among Women groups, Youth and People with Disabilities in 2019. Despite 93.3 billion being issued across the country, still, there are several challenges including lack of proper Machinery for Governance of 10% Loan, Economic empowerment skills to monitor groups development, No special desk confined to work on 10% loan, Ghost Groups, Defaulting, Insufficient amounts issued to groups, Lack of lenient mechanisms for PWDs to access smoothly, Short Period until start of Loan repayment
With the presence of these challenges and several reports and studies done by PORALG, UNA Tanzania and other key stakeholders, it was observed that there is a need to develop a national Guideline for effective governance of the 10% loans for empowering women, youth and people with disabilities in 2020.
In this role, UNA Tanzania with consistency, being in the frontline in advocating for the 10% loans as dear to seeing more beneficiaries out of it, has been assigned by PORALG, to take lead in coming up with guidelines that will be used throughout the nation, defining the regulations into simpler terms and to inform the public on the availability of the loans all in purpose to make the 10% loans more effective and to be known by many who can benefit from it and moreover to empower a larger group of women, youth and people with disabilities. In this case, the need to have the national guidelines cannot be overemphasized.
UNA Tanzania conducted a strategic meeting with PORALG discussing the existing gaps and ways to improve the Regulation for Loan Provision and Management among Women groups, Youth and People with Disabilities. During this meeting, it was realised that the lack of proper machinery governing the 10% free interest loans was among constraints to the effectiveness of implementing Local Government Finance Act, 2018.
In April 2020, as a follow up action to develop a proper machinery of governing the 10% free interest loans, PORALG consulted UNA Tanzania in developing a roadmap for the 10% free interest loans national guideline from the youth, online and offline, drawing success stories from the 8 regions, 3351 young people that it works with in this area, fetching challenges and recommendations to enrich the national guidelines.
UNA Tanzania Secretary General, Reynald Maeda, clarifying on the 10% interest free loans.
As a champion to the implementation of the 10% interest free loans issued from the Local Government Authorities, UNA Tanzania hosted and highlighted the topic during the monthly debates organized by Policy Forum, advocating, raising awareness and information on the topic.
10% loans were first introduced in 1993 for the purpose of empowering marginalized groups of women and youth with no resources to set as collateral in financial institutions. In 2018, the amendment of Local Government Financial Act Cap 290 sec. 37A set 10% as a mandatory free interest loans set by LGAs from their own revenue for empowerment of women, youth and people with disabilities, by providing groups to carry out income generating activities to lift their households out of poverty.
10% loans are revolving loan schemes distributed by 4-4-2 principle, for Youth, Women and People with Disabilities respectively.
The debate engaged different stakeholders and beneficiaries from the 10% loans, that contributed to the challenges they face, both from LGAs and the beneficiaries, while giving recommendations on the amendment of the regulation as currently UNA Tanzania was chosen by PORALG to take lead to develop the National guidelines to ensure effective governance of the 10% loans at the local councils that will be used at all LGAs in Tanzania.
Sustainable Development Goals is a set of international development goals from 2015 to 2030, which was adopted by the UN Sustainable Development Summit held in September 2015 building on the success of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They (SDGs) are universal goals applicable, not only to developing countries but also developed countries, and pledge to “Leave no one behind” through the implementation process.
They define global sustainable development priorities and aspirations for 2030 and seek to mobilize global efforts around a common set of goals and targets. The SDGs call for worldwide action among stakeholders such as the Governments, UN Agencies, Private sector, Business and Civil Society to end poverty and create a life of dignity and opportunity for all, within the boundaries of the planet.
The Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development’s fundamental principle of “leave no one behind”calls for inclusiveness in the implementation follow up and review of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Governments are obliged to respect this principle by ensuring that community members particularly the vulnerable and marginalized groups in the society including women, youth and people with disabilities are actively engaged into national development planning and implementation frameworks for the benefit of the country.
In an effort to make participatory planning a reality, the Tanzanian Government through the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG) introduced the Improved Opportunities and Obstacles to development (O & OD) approach in October 2019. This was a result of gaps observed in the convectional (former) Opportunities and Obstacle to Development (O &OD) approach including failure to materialize the government aspirations to realise bottom-up planning and budgeting with maximum community participation due to several shortfalls such as people’s participation fatigue, lack of people’s ownership and people’s dependency on Government support. The convectional approach was rolled out in 105 out of 132 LGAs by 2010.
The improved O and OD approach is a methodology that supports collaborative interactions between Local Government Authorities (LGAs) and the community for better service delivery and local development by empowering communities and promoting community initiatives.
The most important difference between Conventional and Improved O&OD approach is that the conventional focused on just participatory planning and budgeting methodology while the Improved O&OD is a more inclusive methodology with an objective of establishing a collaborative interactions between the Government and the communities. Further, the improved O and OD approach strengthens LGA’s capacity in identifying and encouraging community initiatives as well as empowering communities to implement and complete community initiatives.
In ensuring the knowledge of the improved O and OD approach reaching stakeholders involved in its implementation, the Local Government Training Institute (LGTI) is mandated to facilitate training on the improved O and OD approach.
However, with Covid19 effects, the LGTI has until March 2020; successfully trained the O and OD approach to ten (10) regions and one hundred and sixteen (116) Local Government Authorities across the country, remaining with 16 and 69 respectively. Given the nature and design of the O and OD approach, it is true that the approach is essential in enhancing community engagement in the implementation, monitoring and review of SDGs in Tanzania.
The improved O and OD approach promotes citizens engagement including the vulnerable and marginalized groups such as youth, elders, women and people with disabilities. This is very important to ensure that SDG implementation is inclusive and leaves no one behind. For example, through village assembly which is conducted at a village level, community members regardless their socio-economic status, have an opportunity to contribute their inputs in the planning processes in a collaborative manner with their local leaders.
It also leverages citizens’ voices through reliable data to strengthen national, regional and global review processes of the SDGs and to facilitate policy change. Since the O and OD approach derives information directly from the community members themselves during village assembly where they discuss their key development agenda.
Most importantly, it contributes to evidence based policies. The improved O and OD approach provides an opportunity for community members to share their inputs during the village assembly before being taken to further stages. This process can later contribute to evidence based policies as it would reflect community’s concerns taken during the village assembly.
On the same spirit of ensuring citizens are at the forefront in contributing to their planning processes and sustainable development UNA Tanzania is working to influence policy change by emphasizing citizen generated data for ensuring effective and meaningful SDGs implementation, follow up and review particularly to the developing countries such as Tanzania where most provided data are aggregated at national and regional levels thus may not reflect the true picture at the local levels.
Through Citizen Report Programme (CRP) which is designed to monitor the implementation of the SDGs in Africa through citizen generated data, UNA Tanzania has directly reached a total number of 254 (128 females and 126 males) including women, youth and people with disabilities by involving them in data collection process and community hearing workshops, and then documented their opinions towards the progress of Sustainable Development Goals 1 (End Poverty), 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality and Women Empowerment), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 10 (Reduce Inequalities) and 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) for policy engagements.
During the implementation of CRP, one of the approaches used was the “Citizen Hearing Approach”, as an integrated approach that entails a citizen’s sharing their lived experiences in their own words, with the aim of ensuring that ordinary people’s voices, realities and experiences are expressed and documented.
The Citizen Hearing approach cements the improved O and OD approach which also uses local platforms such as village assembly as a tool to share citizens’ concerns with Local Government Authorities in a collaborative manner.
It is undisputed fact that many Governments are facing challenges in ensuring that majority of their citizens are adequately included in the national planning processes, yet the improved O and OD approach can be an essential tool for accelerating an inclusive and participatory planning processes in the society. However, it is a responsibility and an opportunity to all stakeholders particularly Civil Society Organizations to take initiatives to educate the society about this approach considering its huge importance for sustainable development which reflects society’s reality especially in developing countries such as Tanzania where most provided data are aggregated at national and regional levels thus may not reflect the true picture at the local levels.