University of Minnesota

Fellow: Coventry R. Cowens 

Fellowship site: Tanzania Gender Networking Program

                            Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, Africa

Purpose of Report: Explain TGNP, its programs, strategies, and activities to improve the quality of life for all citizens in Tanzania and Africa, with a primary focus on equity for women and girls.

Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP) has operated since 1993 as a registered non-governmental organization. During this period the NGO has built itself into an effective advocate group, which promotes positive gender activism. TGNP is committed to facilitating social transformation leading to the creation of a vibrant Tanzanian society.  Through its programs, TGNP seeks to promote gender equality and social equity through the empowerment of women and other marginalized groups of the community, which includes women, girls, youth, men, and the elderly. The organization strives to enhance the incorporation of gender at all levels of society from grassroots communities to the highest levels of national policy making and legislation. 

To accomplish this TGNP runs four programs:

1) Training, Capacity Building and Outreach (TCBO)       

The Training Capacity Building and Outreach program is designed to enhance the gender and social development capacities of key development contacts at various levels, from policy makers to the grassroots, in order to facilitate social transformation in Tanzania.  It has also been instrumental in building effective linkages with local level leaders through its Intermediary Gender Networks program.  Further staff (2) development of TCBO will create a cutting edge Gender Training Institution in the next 3 years. 

2) Information Generation and Dissemination (IGD)

IGD's specific objective is to generate, manage and disseminate gender sensitive information that will contribute to an informed society on gender issues and development. The TGNP’s IGD operates an extensive reading library and resource center of gender related information. Besides offering popular gender and program development materials, IGD maintains a database of organizations and individuals involved in gender activities in the region. IGD staff (3) also attends media workshops, publishes TGNP documents and provides public relations activities for TGNP. 

3) Activism, Lobbying and Advocacy (ALA)

As an organization committed to the social transformation of society, TGNP's Activism Lobbying and Advocacy (ALA) programs are aimed, through coalition building with like-minded organizations, to influence retrogressive laws and policies in the country and beyond to adapt gender sensitivity and more progressive approaches. The main strategies used include influencing parliamentarians, government policy makers and planners to transform the ongoing national policy making and planning processes to adapt more gender interpretations. It also includes developing strategies for soliciting the involvement and support of the civic society and the public in general on issues related to gender and development. The ALA staff (3) handles all public policy programs and leads the organization’s workshops planned for all activists on the continent of Africa. 

4) Programme Support and Management (PSM)

Programme Support and Management (PSM) provides support, guidance, monitoring and evaluation to the whole program, ensuring that TGNP's vision, mission and goals are achieved and that the program attains financial and human sustainability.  The PSM works towards fulfilling TGNP's objectives of developing an efficient and sustainable Gender Resource Center. The resource center continually receives shipments of books from friends of TGNP, which expands the center’s capacity. The staff also handles daily administrative functions, including accounting and secretarial activities. 

The governing body of TGNP is its Annual General Meeting (Board) where members make decisions to guide the organization.  On a quarterly basis, TGNP's Board meets to monitor and advise on the organization's progress in meeting its objectives. The TGNP Secretariat is composed of a Program Coordinator who guides the Program Officers in their implementation of TGNP's activities.  Program Officers are assisted by Program Committees, which are composed of members, representatives from partner organizations and other strategic leaders. 

TGNP has pioneered a Gender Budget Initiative (GBI) since mid-1997 in close collaboration with other NGOs who compose the Feminist Activism Coalition (FemAct) of Tanzania.  The GBI was developed in the context of cost sharing and policies implemented as part of structural adjustment programs in the 1980s.  These programs precipitated social services, particularly health care and education, being dramatically cut at the same time as liberalization and privatization caused massive layoffs of government workers.  It was also coming at a time when the majority of civil society was feeling marginalized from policymaking and budgetary processes in the country.

Created out of this environment, the aim of GBI is to advocate for a more people-oriented development strategy and participatory and equitable allocation of resources. The strategy is to influence and transform planning and budgetary processes to utilize participatory techniques and to take into account the practical and strategic needs of marginalized communities, particularly women, poor men, and youth.  The concept is not to develop a separate budget for various groups but rather to integrate issues of equitable distribution of resources into all steps and stages of the budgetary process.

The objectives of this pioneering program include: advocating for examination of budgeting processes and allocation in relation to objectives of gender equality; promoting the design and adoption of tools for analysis, and monitoring of gender mainstreaming in the national budget; organizing and carry out a lobbying campaign to influence policy/ decision-makers; strengthen lobbying skills of civil society to organize an effective campaign to promote women and men’s participation in public resource allocation; and

provide current information to educate and solicit support for the campaign.  

TGNP has been developing strategic contacts within the government, Parliament and civil society.  This process has included the following activities: Planning - Instituting the program within TGNP and FemAct structures; identifying and building working relations with key government officials; building links with other related initiatives, such as South Africa, Australia and Commonwealth. Research Activities - Research was conducted at the national level (Ministries) and district level (related sectors at the district level); research was completed in the Planning Commission and Treasury, as a key partner in the budgeting process; Health and Education, as vital service providers; Agriculture as essential to the livelihood of most Tanzanians; and Industry and Commerce, given the significance of market/ trade liberalization policies in the globalization process.  

Feed-back and publication of research findings - Reports were distributed to different sectors of the society beginning with activist organizations, government departments and external agencies.  Findings were shared through working sessions and public forums, donors, policy makers and various groups including the Parliamentary Budget Committee. Lobbying strategies - One such strategy was the publication and distribution of a popular book called Budgeting with a Gender Focus, which outlines the gender gaps in the Tanzanian budget in an easy-to-read and understandable format. Partnerships were made in Parliament through lobbying, and making contacts with key individual women and men and Parliamentary Committees, such as Finance and Economics. Capacity building efforts were also made with key official in government Ministries, specifically in planning and budgeting. This process has now become more systematic, as the government has committed to the gender mainstreaming of the budget. TGNP has been effective in distributing information in both English and Kiswahili, usage of the media and website, and public forums.  

TGNP members have also attended strategic forums to share information at the national, regional, and international levels. Networking at all levels has been used to create alliances, contacts and solidarity with other groups and people, promoting collective action for equality in Tanzania. The organization continues to influence processes like the Public Expenditure Review (PER), Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) and Tanzania Assistance Strategy (TAS).

The success of TGNP’s programs and publications has generated attention to the organization from many African countries, especially women’s groups.

Due to their efforts and others stressing the importance of mainstreaming gender in budgetary processes and decision-making, the organization has gained a great deal of access into government structures and strategic decision-making bodies.  The organization has been invited by government and donors to be a part of the Public Expenditure Review (PER) process and the Tanzania Assistance Strategy (TAS) processes.  As a participant in these processes, TGNP in cooperation with the FemAct Coalition has been able to push a collective agenda and advocate for transformation in macro-economic processes, transparency and accountability by government.  

As a result of lobbying, one paragraph on gender was included in the 1999-2000 budget guidelines.  In the 2000-01, two paragraphs were included, which mandated that all Ministry, department and agency budget submissions be prepared with a gender focus.  In order to achieve this goal, TGNP was commissioned by the Ministry of Finance to facilitate a project to gender mainstream six sectors of the budget.  The six earmarked sectors were: Health; Education; Agriculture; Water; Ministry for Community Development, Women Affairs and Children; and Regional Administration and Local Government.   

Meeting expectations of serving as a role model can be difficult.  While TGNP is eager to serve as a role model for similar processes in other countries and places a strong emphasis on coalition building and networking, the needs has spread the capacity of the organization thin.  Interns, as offered by the University of Minnesota Human Rights Center, supported the continuation of the organization’s programs. Having additional supporters collaborating in TGNP’s processes will assist in addressing the many challenges.

TGNP is working on issues that include challenging international macro-economic frameworks, voting in election by both men and women, and encouraging women to run for government offices. The Voters Manifesto for Gender Equality, published in Kiswahili (English), outlined specific demands for political parties and the government on ways to promote human rights, equality and people-centered development. (The initiative to develop voters' manifesto was based on the experiences and work of TGNP colleagues in Namibia, Botswana, and Uganda.) The demands focused on six main areas:

· Democracy and Human Rights

· Women's Political Participation

· Violence Against Women

· Women's Economic Status

· Women's Access to Education

· Health Care

Each section provided an overview of key concerns facing women and other disadvantaged groups and a series of demands to resolve these issues. The document urged voters to understand that their vote has value and that they should use that value to obtain their fundamental rights and lobbied government and political parties to prioritize and protect the rights of women. This was one of the many initiative established by TGNP.  

TGNP publications collected during internship/fellowship include:

Annual Gender Studies Conference (AGSC 1999), Theme: Gender and Political Empowerment in the New Millennium

Budget, Debt Relief and Globalisation by Marjorie Mbilinyi

Budgeting with a Gender Focus

Beyond Inequalities: Women in Zimbabwe

Beyond Inequalities: Women in Tanzania (Women in Development)

Tanzania with Poverty – a plain language guide to Tanzania’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper

The Leadership Forum – Prioritizing Tanzania Solutions for Tanzania Political, Cultural and Social – economic problems

Femina (jarida la kitanzania) Magazine

Habari Za Tanzania – youth publication

TGNP brochure (attachment)

Ulingo Wa Jinsia/gender platform – TGNP newsletter

TGNP internship/fellowship provided the opportunity to have conversations with World Vision Tanzania, Book for Africa (American NGO), and attend a TGNP IGD Committee meeting (7/6/02) at the Gender Resource Center Mabibo, Dar Es Salaam. I also attended a national NGO conference in Dar Es Salaam and the TGNP Wednesday Gender Seminar (Kiswahili only) held for the public. My Fellowship provided the organization with an additional person to support their information and marketing (IGD) program. 

During the Fellowship, I traveled to Arusha and spent time with a single parent (female) working in the tourist business doing ground arrangements for hunting companies. She, like many Tanzanians, supported an adult maid and supported a female relative’s education (fees and uniform). Also, I visited Lutheran teachers’ resource center and hospital where women damaged during the birthing process received life altering surgery at no cost. I traveled to the capital city of Dodoma and visited with a Tanzanian couple building a school (Bahati Academy) to provide needed quality education that was on par with private institutions and passed out notebooks and pencils at a poor public school. 

From my observation and through questions asked, there are few problems between ethnic groups in Tanzania especially the two major religious groups – Christians and Muslims. Some of this is due to their last twenty years with a Socialist government and a philosophy of eating from one pot. There are some problems between the different groups, but none that can’t be managed with collaborative partnerships within communities. The greater dysfunction will come from globalization and rapid privatization, and very little consideration for a slow developing middle class and current 80% poverty rate that depends on an agriculture market to survive.  

My internship supervisors were Sam Kasulwa (IGD) and TGNP executive director Mary Rusimbi. I commend the TGNP on their Herculean activities to make sure that the rights of all Tanzanian are incorporated into future of the country. Also, they are influencing other rights groups in Africa (with interest being expressed from South America), especially in the area of universal health and HIV/AIDS awareness.  

This was an educational experience that has broaden my understanding of how people in developing countries empower themselves by using all the resources made available. I met some very intelligent women and men working to make the future of Tanzania and beyond better. I am currently in the process of writing a children’s book based on some of the people I met. I hope to share this with the Human Rights Center later in the year. 


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