How will we Reduce Poverty?
After talking with ordinary people and with various experts the
Government has decided that three things must be done if we are serious
about reducing poverty.
|Rather than make vague speeches full of good intentions, the
Government has decided on a particular set of targets for what needs
to be done, for example, Increase the percentage of children under
2 years immunised against measles and DPT from 71% to 85% by 2003.|
|This first set of targets might not be the right ones. Everybody is
therefore asked to keep a careful watch on what is happening and to
help change the targets or the ways of meeting them as necessary. Many
of the activities will not take place until after the Local Government
Reform Programme is well under way.|
|Help the country to get richer by making the markets more efficient
for small and large businesses and households involved in agriculture,
industry and the service industries.
Work with foreign Governments and aid agencies to
|reduce the amount of foreign debt that has to be paid|
|make sure that they work together to help us to do what we have
decided to do.||
If you do not
know where you are going any road will get you there.
Many different people were involved in making the Poverty Reduction
Strategy Paper. In future the Government will involve more and more people
in deciding what needs to be done, in doing it, and in watching to see
that things are going according to plan.
Everything in the Plan is shaped by three guiding ideas which are to:
|reduce income poverty|
|improve quality of life and social well-being|
|reduce vulnerability amongst the poorest groups.|
But how can we keep a careful watch to make sure that we are going in
the best direction?
We need to know that our money is being well spent. This means that we
have to be clear about what we are trying to do, and then we have to watch
whether or not we are successful in doing it.
Earlier we saw that targets have been set for various poverty reduction
activities. For each of these activities we need ‘indicators’ that we
can measure to tell if we are on target or not. The Government has set up
a consultative process to decide what the poverty monitoring indicators
It is not easy to decide in advance what the most useful and easy to
use indicators will be. A lot of flexibility has been built into the
system. There are three types of indicators:
|Impact and outcome indicators are basic and can easily
measure the effect of activities on a regular basis (for example,
the number of children under 2 years being immunised against measles
|Intermediate indicators are measured over fairly long periods
of time (for example, the number of households with access to safe
|Proxy indicators measure surface things that stand in place
of deeper things that are more difficult to measure (for example,
the use of modern materials for building houses as a measure of income).|
The idea is to think of easy to use and useful indicators for each of
the targets that are set out in the plan. The list of indicators that have
been identified so far is given in the next chapter. Note that wherever
possible and relevant, the information gathered using the indicators
should tell us about the difference between males and females and between
rural and urban areas.
A lot of time, effort and money could be wasted if the system of
collecting information becomes too complicated and formalised. The task is
for all the people involved to think of good indicators that can be
measured easily and often.
|Information can be gathered about individuals, households, districts,
regions or the whole country. And the collection process can be routine or
through special surveys and it may take place regularly or only every few
years. There are three main ways of gathering information:
statistics countries cannot plan and monitor their development
effectively. Badly informed decisions waste scarce resources,
particularly those that affect poor people who are least able
Information about education, health and water can be collected through
the existing administrative system where local government
authorities send information to higher levels of government.
Some information will be collected through censuses and surveys
such as through the household budget survey or the labour force survey.
They may cover many topics.
Local level information can be gathered for use at the ward and village
level. This will usually be collected through village registers and
community interviews. Although much of the local information will be
for local use it will also provide a very important way of cross checking
the official statistics. It will also let the decision makers know how
people, and especially the poor, view their own situations.
the eyes of the policy maker.
|The reason for gathering information is to use it to get a better
understanding of how successful the poverty reduction measures are turning
out to be. It will then be necessary for all those concerned to change the
indicators, activities, targets or even the policies that guide the
Many different organisations will be involved in collecting and
analysing the information and then drawing out what it means in terms of
policies for the future. The overall responsibility for monitoring poverty
at the national level lies with the Vice President’s Office. It will
work closely with the National Bureau of Statistics to feed information
into the computerised Tanzania Socio-Economic Database and to make sure
that everybody who wants to be involved can use and analyse the
information in a coordinated way.
So we must be prepared to take up the challenge. There are still many
weaknesses in Tanzania’s poverty monitoring activities and the PRSP
provides a golden opportunity to build a useful and efficient system. As
it says in the PRSP, “The Government intends to continue to seek
fuller representation of the poor and other stakeholders in the
implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the poverty reduction
strategy, and in subsequent revisions of the PRSP.”