The Arusha Times

Issue 00535

September 13 - 19, 2008

issn 0856 - 9135 


In Focus
Improved NGOs’ interventions

By Ramadhani Kupaza

Increasingly and perhaps rightly so, government and donor organizations question NGOs’ effectiveness as tools for community development. But experience shows that interventions for development by some NGOs in Arusha achieve far better results cost-effectively than many government efforts. There are many examples of local NGOs in Arusha that perform effectively for development.

Consider an NGO based in Ngaramtoni known as OSOTWA Community Based Conservation Organization. In 2007 the NGO completed successfully a community based awareness raising project that led to establishment of a Community Based Forest Management (CBFM) Model. The Model was developed for Engorika hill in Olkokola village in Arusha. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) funded the project through the Forest and Beekeeping Division of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.

FAO and FBD have accepted the Model. FBD considers incorporating relevant aspects of the model into the national forest programme. The Engorika Forest Management Model is available for replication in other communities.

Currently, OSOTWA implements an innovative project for a village known as Kimnyak in order to minimize wastage of resources and to use biological or fossil waste as raw materials that can be used to alleviate poverty among members of the community. The Foundation For Civil Society Funds the Project.

To ensure effective implementation of the project, OSOTWA has sub-contracted a locally based women development group in Ngaramtoni known as MERIKEBU to train women in Kimnyak how to construct appropriate rainwater harvesting systems from house roofs. The aim is partly to train the women on various approaches to reduce waste of water in the form of run off when it rains. In the end, Kimnyak women will be empowered to replicate the technology in the village and in surrounding areas.

In addition, OSOTWA intends to engage another local NGO known as WODSTA to train Kimnyak women how to construct alternative and energy saving stoves. Emphasis is given to stoves that use waste in the form paper, saw dust, charcoal dust or grass as sources of energy. The waste is compacted by using simple rural technology to make briquettes as an alternative to charcoal thereby slowing the rate of destruction of forests.

Again, Kimnyak women will be empowered to apply the technology learned in order to produce stoves and briquettes for domestic as well as commercial purposes. Trained women in Kimnyak will replicate the technology in the village and in surrounding areas.

WODSTA itself is an effective NGO for community development. It has successfully enabled many women development groups to establish energy, food preservation and processing enterprises for domestic and commercial purposes. WODSTA has enabled a women development group at Daraja Mbili to establish an energy-based enterprise. Other WODSTA supported women groups process agricultural products into various food products such as honey, tomato sauce, chilies and pickles for sale. For instance, members of the Umangu and Dakika Women Development Groups now sell food products at local and international markets. Umangu group is based in Ngurdoto village and Dakika is in Kikatiti

A human rights NGO known as HAKIKAZI CATALYST has been instrumental in development and establishment of many of the existing community based economic initiatives in Arusha. HAKIKAZI is responsible for establishment of many of the successful Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) and Micro-Financing Institutions in Arusha.

HAKIKAKZI considers human rights beyond economic freedom. The organization translates and conducts regular workshops to enlighten members of grassroots communities on issues concerning national policies. Many policies are written in English while few people in rural Tanzania read the language fluently.

HAKIKAZI invites officials from relevant sectors in government to make presentations on relevant policy issues at gatherings such as workshops. Village and community leaders and journalists specializing on community issues are represented at the workshops.

A conservation and development NGO known as OIKOS East Africa has facilitated Lemong, Ilkurot and Olkokola Villages to enter into an agreement with a government project known as Meru-Usa Forest Plantation to manage jointly and benefit financially from the forest plantation. OIKOS has provided tap water suitable for drinking to settlements that are located in arid areas in Meru District Council. The NGO is in the process of demarcating village boundaries in Ngarenanyuki ward. Official boundary demarcations will form the basis for developing village land use plans.

In particular, OIKOS aims to set up a computerized land use “Decision-Making Support System” for the Meru District Council. The system is a pilot project which will be replicated in other Wards in the District after testing.

The list of effective local NGOs is long. Therefore, it is more rational for government and donor organizations to encourage non-performing NGOs to perform rather than to abandon the organizations.


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