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
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
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
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
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.