From the time of independence the delivery of a wide range of social services were viewed as government responsibility and policy markers sought to extend health, education, water and other social services to the largely rural population. According to the National Policy on Non-governmental Organization (2001), the government recognizes the collaborative and partnership of other development actors and social services providers and therefore the NGOs have a role to play in welfare provision and economic services delivery.
This paper shall discuss on how is the role of the NGO (s) sector in the welfare provision in the country changed in the last two decades.
The paper will be divided in three sections; the first section will provide definitions of key concepts and then narrating the main and specific objectives as the milestone to be covered in the paper. The second section will be the main discussion which will try to cover the scope of the paper in relation to the milestone set and the last section will be the conclusion.
Welfare In accordance to the definition offered by Oxford Dictionary of Sociology the term welfare refers to the well-being of individuals or groups and, by implication, those measures which can help to ensure levels of well-being through provision of education, health services, managed housing, and social security benefits. Since the welfare is an aspect related to society the term social welfare or public charity is normally used in most cases and provisions offered by the social welfare are collectively referred to social services. Non-governmental Organization (NGO) There has been much debate on the definition of the term NGO, for instance Michael (2004) define NGO as independent development actors existing apart from governments and corporations, operating on a non-profit or not-for-profit basis with an emphasis on voluntarism, and pursuing a mandate of providing development services, undertaking communal development work or advocating on development issues. In Tanzanian context the NGO Act of 2002 define an NGO as “a voluntary grouping of individuals or organization which s autonomous, non-partisan, non profit making which is organized locally at the grassroots, national or international levels with the purpose of enhancing or promoting economic, environmental, social or cultural development or protecting environment; lobbying or advocating on issues of public interest of a group of individuals or organization, and includes non governmental organizations established under the auspices of any religious organization or faith propagating organization, trade union, sports club, political party, or community-based organization; but does not include a trade union, a social club or a sports club, a political party, a religious organization or a community-based organization”.
From the above definition, it seems to exclude some other organizations like community based organizations, social clubs, and trade unions just to mention a few which are seen to play a role in welfare provision in the country. As the Tanzanian government’s definition shows, NGOs are often differentiated from people’s organizations or grassroots organizations. In the Tanzanian context, these are called community based organizations (CBOs), which are local and informal membership-based groupings. The definition also excludes trade unions, political parties and religious organizations, which are normally seen as part of civil society. Therefore, this paper will be discussed under the following objectives:The main objective To explore information available on how the role of NGO(s) sector in welfare provision changed in the last two decades in Tanzania.Specific objectives •To provide the historical perspective on welfare provision in the country To discuss the role of NGO(s) sector in the welfare provision. To explain the change on welfare provision by the NGO(s) sector in the last two decades. Historical perspective on welfare provision In 1961, upon gaining independence Tanzania inherited the British colonial economic and public sector structures. The delivery of a wide range of social services was being viewed as the responsibility of the government and policy markers sought to extend health, education, water and other social services to the largely rural population.
In the light of low income levels in the most of Tanzanians, the government historically provided services at no direct charge. The situations on various social services after independence were at minimal. For instance, the education system was stratified to race and the quality and accessibility of African school were poor; the health system consisted of a few hospitals and private doctors in the urban areas and the water sector was poorly coordinated as most household obtained water at no charge from natural sources or purchased at kiosks. Recognizing the fundamental inadequacies of the colonial system, the needs of population and economy; the government sought to increase access to health, education, water and other social services.
However, in the period between 1980s to early 1990s the impressive investments and accomplishments of what government sought were not sustained as the government encountered difficulties in financing and managing the social services that had been put in place. This was however contributed by the increased population and economic shock (World Bank, 1999). Therefore, by the end of the decade into the 1990s, the system that had promised rapid improvement in human welfare had not met its ambitious targets and the progress towards improved outcome was lagging. Emergence of the NGO sector in Tanzania According to REPOA (2007) it is postulated that in responding to a series of economic shocks, Tanzania signed agreements with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to adopt structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Conditions of these agreements included control of money supply, devaluation of currency, and reduction of government expenditures for social services among other sweeping changes. The delivery of SAP created conditions for revitalization of civil society and the re-emergence of the NGO sector, the country was ready to welcome back NGOs and declare them partners in development and social services provisions. As a result, the role for civil society in development and service delivery expanded dramatically and the number of registered NGOs in Tanzania shot up from only seventeen in 1978 to 813 organisations by 1994. They further continue to argue that the subsequent transformations in donor unding strategies during the late 1990s encouraged more growth of the sector, as donors increasingly began to channel aid funds through international and locally based NGOs, which were considered to be more efficient, less corrupt and to operate closer to the poor than government bureaucracies. NGOs became more active in filling gaps as the government retreated from its front-line service role due to severe budgetary restrictions. Moreover, privatization and retrenchment programmes added to this process by increasing the number of unemployed people as people attempted to find new employment in voluntary organizations; and also, realized willingness of donors to give direct support to NGOs and community-based organizations (CBOs) become among the factors contributed to the number of organisations to explode.
Hence, following an extensive process of stakeholders’ consultations beginning in 1996, the NGO Policy of 2001 was formulated to establish a legislative framework to allow NGOs to operate effectively. The policy steering committee (made up of representatives of academia; government; local, national and international NGOs; community-based organisations and religious institutions) sought to address confusion in NGO registration and the conflicting definitions of an NGO. The policy estimated that 3,000 local and international NGOs were operational in Tanzania, but other studies have found that many organisations practice on a part-time basis, exist in name and proposal only, or work in a very limited capacity as stipulated by Ndumbaro and Kiondo (2007).
NGO(s) sector has a crucial role to play in the country due to their creativity, innovation and development coherently linked strongly to community and hence playing a catalytic role in improving the delivery of various types of social services. Mhina (2007) identifies about three fields in which NGOs operates namely; the traditional human services, the improvement of economic conditions and pursuit of economic opportunity as well as the protection of political and civil rights. Generally, the social services provided by NGOs embark in a huge dimension of human welfare such as education, health services, water supply and many others. In this context, we shall try to cite some few examples on health services, micro-enterprise development and human rights advocacy as subfield from the three fields outlined above. Provision of Health services
In the health sector the non governmental institutions have traditionally been referred to as Voluntary Agencies (VAs). Since the early years of colonialism at the end of 19th century, Voluntary Agencies, mostly religious institutions have provided health services to varied populations in the country. For many years long, Tanzanians especially those in the rural areas depended on VA medical services for their health requirements. Most of church health services are now coordinated by the Christian Social Services Commission (CSSC) which is an ecumenical body made up of Catholic and Protestant churches to achieve sustained development of health and education services. Christian health services still dominate the non-profit services in the sector.
Other organizations have emerged as health providers, including Muslim associations and other religious organizations mainly linked to Tanzanians of Asian origin, such as the Aga Khan Foundation and Hindu Mandal Trust. Micro-enterprise development The history tells us that from the mid 1970s through the 1980s Tanzania experienced an economic crisis as mentioned earlier. This was attributed to many factors, among them, bad domestic policies, institutional failures and poor economic management. These factors arose from a system based on state control and public ownership. The economy was dominated by an over grown, parasitic, inefficient and corrupt public enterprise system. Since such a system could not be maintained the 1990s saw macro-economic reforms, which brought in liberalization and the divestiture of public enterprises.
The intention was to bring efficiency into the economy. The thrust of economic reforms aimed at achieving and sustaining macro-economic stability, freeing the trade regime for both external and domestic transactions and with it decontrolling the exchange regime, using market incentives for more effective resource mobilization and their efficient allocation and finally the reforms aimed at the redefinition of the operative environment of the financial system, opening it to the private sector (Shitundu, 1997). Here, we saw a number of NGOs emerging to provide financial support in form of loans to help individuals to start micro-enterprises and hence contributing o citizenry well being; such NGOs include, Promotion of Rural Initiative and Development Enterprises (PRIDE), Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), Network of Small Farmers Groups in Tanzania (MVIWATA) and Traditional Irrigation Improvement Program (TIP). Others are Small Enterprises Development Agency (SEDA), Credit Scheme for Productive Activities (CREW), Tanzania Promotion of self-employment (TAPSE), Tanzania Micro-entrepreneurs Association (TAMEA) and Poverty Africa. For instance, PRIDE Tanzania which was established in 1993 and started giving credit in 1994 with a pilot phase covering Arusha, Tanga and Dar es Salaam regions. It was then extended nationally after the successful completion of the first phase. It started with a fund of US$1. million from NORAD, the Norwegian Development Agency. A further US$3. 4 million was added for the 1995-2000 period. Management and technical assistance is provided by Pride Africa, a US registered Private Voluntary Organization based at Nairobi, Kenya. Currently, Pride Tanzania has 22 branches located in 16 major urban centers. Only Mtwara, Lindi, Rukwa and Kagera regions do not have a branch. Dar es Salaam has 4 branches, while Arusha, Mwanza and Mbeya each have two. It is postulated that the non-profit history of Pride Tanzania is going to end as it is transforming itself to become a for profit financial organization after the end of donor funding (Mhina, 2007).
Human rights and advocacy Human rights are those rights that one has simply as a human being irrespective of one’s membership or place in the society. These include rights to life, equality, movement, expression, association, participation in decision making and work as well as other freedom. In view of these, there are number of human rights organizations that are in operation in Tanzania. In the last two decades we have seen a lot of organizations which were existing in the past becoming active and others being established in Tanzania to advocate and bring social change function concern; pushing for changes in government policy or societal conditions.
For example, the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) was formally established in 1995 before that time it was a Human Rights Project of Tanzania Legal education Trust (TANLET) based in Dar es Salaam. At that time its activities were with pastoralists, hunters and gatherer of Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions, whose communal rights were being marginalized by sedentary groups as well as big corporations owning plantations. LHRC now provides services to those who can not afford Legal fees including counseling, arbitration, drafting of legal documents and court representation. Just to mention few, in 1993 Tanzania Gender Networking Program (TGNP) was established and has been very active and very effective in advocacy issues. It promotes gender activism from grassroots level to the national level, involving both government and legislative.
Also, has the objective to facilitate the process of gender equality/equity, women’s empowerment and social transformation with gender perspective at all levels (TGNP, 2010) To date more than 200 NGOs/CBOs have contacts with TGNP through its activities. Therefore, the role of NGOs in advocacy, human and legal rights’ defense for marginalized is very crucial in light of human rights abuses and hence NGOs dealing with human rights advocacy are providing important services in legal representation, training and human rights’ campaigns. 2. 4 The role of NGO(s) sector on welfare provision in the last two decades It is conveniently inevitable that NGO(s) sector in Tanzania is one of the major players in bringing about social and economic change.
This is because many NGOs do employ thousands of people and has a direct link with the community and to small grassroots organizations as argued by (Clayton et al. , 2000) when explaining the overview of the role of NGOs in developing countries. NGOs engage in an equally wide range of activities as supported by Anheier and Salamon (1998). In fact, it has been a tradition for the NGOs to provide social services in the country. However, the major change that has taken place in recent years is that NGOs are no longer just providing services to people that the state has failed to reach, but they are now far more in the mainstreaming of development activities. Both the scale and the profile of NGO activities have increased greatly in the past decade.
Both governments and international donors have given them much more recognition at the national level than may have been the case in the past. For instance, we have NGOs like Heifer International Tanzania (HIT) and Vetaid Tanzania which among other activities empower livestock keepers and grassroots organizations on the knowledge and skills in good animal husbandry practices and ethnoveterinary knowledge in poultry and other livestock as well as giving them initial flock for those who do not have in order for them to start keeping animals in a modern way to improve livestock productivity and hence raising their income and eventually improving their livelihoods.
The other example is the emergence of NGOs which provide micro-credits to small enterprises, NGOs like PRIDE and others which have been mentioned above, have been key players in promoting micro-enterprises development and hence improving the social economic development to rural and urban poor people. In this case they have been actively participating towards achieving MKUKUTA goals. Clayton et al. (2000) states that NGOs are widely perceived to be more effective than the public sector at reaching the poorest in developing countries. Indeed, much of the justification for channeling funding through the NGO sector has been on the ground that they have a better track record. However, recent NGO impact studies and evaluation provide little evidence to suggest that NGOs actually are more effective than governments in reaching the poorest in development assistance.
For instance, Kukkamaa (2008) in her study about NGOs in Tanzania argued that some people are establishing NGOs to raise funds and use them for their own benefits at the expense of the poor. In fact, this has some truth in it as President Jakaya Kikwete in February 2006 said that the government had realized that “some HIV/AIDS orphans’ NGOs spend donor funds on personal comforts, instead of channeling to would-be beneficiaries” (The Guardian, 2006). Examples like this are continuously cited in the Tanzanian press. Titles like “Arusha MPs fault NGOs” (Ubwani, 2006) and “Project meant to help the poor said to misuse funds” (Mgamba, 2006) are seen on an almost daily basis. The older or more traditional service delivery approach of NGOs is much criticized nowadays.
Again, service delivery activities of NGOs are seen to maintain the status quo and relieve the state from its responsibility to provide social services for the people. For example, it has been stated that “voluntary provision of social services is full of holes: incomplete coverage, amateurism, high turnover, duplication, un-sustainability, differing approaches, core area concentration and problems with equitable distribution” (Robinson & White, 1997). Taking an example in the aspect of geographical distribution of NGOs in Tanzania in accord to study done by an NGO Hakikazi catalyst, poorer regions in Tanzania have fewer NGOs. The research show that Dar es Salaam, while having 7 percent of the population, osting a whopping of 45 percent of NGOs. The regions where the percent of NGOs is higher than the percent of the population are Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro, the same trend seem to apply within urban areas. Similar points have been found in numerous evaluation reports. On other hand, Kikkamaa (2008) in her study cited that due to opportunist role of NGOs to look for donor funds (Clinton Foundation, Global Fund and TACAIDS), the regional Commissioner of Mbeya region had a complaint that almost all NGOs in his region were working on HIV/AIDS and orphans; the result of poverty but do not concentrate on poverty eradication/development programmes.
Thus, from the view above we concede that there a dramatic change in the role of NGOs welfare provision in term of mission, objectives and location as most try to concur with the issue of opportunity cost due to donor driven projects rather than what people needs. Also, the evaluations commissioned by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs on the development activities of Finnish NGOs in Kenya and Tanzania as pointed by Kunguru et al. (2002) revealed that there was un-sustainability of the service provision projects of Finnish NGOs and their local partner organizations due to inadequate planning and participation, as well as low levels in administrative and managerial skills. This is supported by the some extensive review of the literature done by Gilson et al. 1994) which identified a number of weaknesses in the operational efficiency of NGOs. For example, the cited one detail study done in Tanzania that found a number of inefficiency in NGO health care facilities, notably: few outreach facilities; cold storage failures, poor performance of health care workers; low technical efficiency and employment of untrained or inadequately trained staff. In terms of advocacy we have seen several NGOs come in place to advocate on issues concerning the welfare of different category of people in Tanzanian societies and in fact has brought a radical impact in life many Tanzanians. For instance, TGNP on gender based violence, gender mainstreaming in economic, political and social aspects.
Another area is on the aspect of education where HakiElimu which was established in 2001 has played part in enabling communities, including parents, teachers and students to transform schools and influence decision – making by facilitating in schools and community governance. 3. 0Conclusion The last two decades have seen the emergence NGOs as co-partner in welfare provision in the country. This has been brought about by both policy change and economic realities as a response to the new policy agenda of official donors that focused on good governance and drawn on New Public Management approaches to public sector reform; and structural adjustment policies combined with economic stagnation in many countries that have seen the decline in state capacity to deliver social services. However, there is the question of performance.
Can the access, coverage, quality and efficiency of NGO service delivery be improved by greater partnership with the state? The most obvious advantage of greater NGO – state partnership is coverage. If coordination between NGO and state provision is improved, including the state coordinating NGO service delivery inputs if NGOs fail to do so themselves, then duplication and concentration in certain areas could be reduced. There is also potential for improved effectiveness of NGO services if they work within national frameworks rather than each following their own ad hoc approaches as stipulated by Green and Mathias (1997). Therefore, the possibility of improving NGO-government partnership could lead to improved sustainability of NGO service provision programmes.
On other hand, on of the key challenges for NGOs involved in service delivery should be moving from a needs–based approach to a rights-based approach rather than simply providing services to meet peoples’ basic needs, a rights-based approach seeks to strengthen their demands to receive such services from the state. A rights-based approach builds on growing recognition of the importance of economic, social and cultural rights in addition to civil and political rights. Whether or not the state is the actual provider is less important than the fact that the state responds by ensuring that adequate levels of services are provided. This requires NGOs to work with people in identifying their economic and social rights and advocating on behalf of them in relation to governments and international donors. A rights-based approach to service delivery is linked to an emerging trend of building an advocacy dimension into project-level work.
This is a recent initiative that is seeking to building on advocacy work at the macro and national levels. When political conditions make it difficult for NGOs to undertake national level advocacy work with threats (as the case of HakiElimu with respect to former Ministry of Education and Culture by then Hon. Joseph Mungai) of expulsion or deregistration by governments engagement in local-level advocacy on behalf of poor and marginalized groups through involvement in service delivery may not be regarded with the same hostility.
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