Role of CSOs in PRSP
Home Contents Introduction Opening Remarks Objectives Introduction to NPMS CSOs/Govt Partnership Poverty Assesment Day One Recap Research Methodologies Monitoring Technique Cross-cutting isssues S E Database Role of CSOs in PRSP Lobbying & Advocacy Monitoring Strategy Lesson Learned Closing Remarks

 

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12.0  Recap of day 2

A role play depicting a mock CSO monitoring process was done during the recap of day 2. Each zone prepared a role play, but only one zone was chosen to show it in the plenary session.

Following a raffle to choose which zone will show the role play, the Southern Highlands zone group was chosen to show the role play. Details of the role play is attached in the annexes.

13.0 Presentation on the Role Of CSOs in Monitoring Poverty and PRSP at Community, District and National Level

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PRSP Process in Tanzania

In order to participate in monitoring the PRSP, it is important for CSOs to reflect on the composition, and types of CSOs that are represented in our networks. The following are the major types of CSOs operating in Tanzania:

  1. Service delivery CSOs
        Education, income generation services delivery CSOs (These are normally found at the local-level)
  2. Support to Social Welfare CSOs
        These are CSOs which represent disadvantaged groups that are not able to articulate their needs/interests individually (e.g. the disabled, blind, etc.)
  3. Research CSOs
        These deal with research, information generation, documentation and dissemination
        They sometimes identify policy gaps
  4. Policy analysis and Advocacy CSOs
        These CSOs monitor policy development and implementation. They identify policy gaps and advocate for changes.

It should be noted that there are interlinkages in the work of all the above-mentioned categories of CSOs.

CSOs participation in the PRSP Process
It is important for the Government to realize that CSOs are supporting the Government to reach its goals. CSOs are trying to serve the same population as the Government CSOs are looking for various development/policy gaps so as to generate various recommendations so that the Government could deliver its promises, as well as realize it development goals.

CSOs also assist the Government to challenge the various macro-economic frameworks that are prescribed to Governments by the World Bank and IMF. We all know that our Governments are not empowered to decide on the type of macro-economic frameworks that it wants to have since it has a budget deficit, therefore depending on donors to bridge the gap and sustain its core activities. The Government is therefore not in a position to critically engage with the World Bank and IMF.

It is surprising to see that even though CSOs support the Government, the Government shuns away from inviting CSOs to participate on issues related to the macro-economy. Few of the so called "vocal" advocacy CSOs were invited in the Zonal and National Workshops on the PRSP.

A number of constraints were faced by CSOs in the PRSP consultative process. We found-out that not only CSOs, but also Government personnel and parliamentarians did not know enough about the PRSP. How can CSOs be expected to participate in the PRSP process if they do not have sufficient knowledge about the process itself? Luckily, CSOs got the opportunity to meet and strategies prior to their participation in the national PRSP workshop. This was a very useful empowerment strategy.

According to TGNPs experience, there are two levels where CSOs can monitor poverty. CSOs can network in monitoring poverty at the national and local levels. For CSOs, the entry point for monitoring poverty is the budget, and budgeting process. Identify budget gaps (versus submitted plans) and demonstrate how budget gaps affect the lives of ordinary people. Also, find-out why money is not coming for implementation?

We have been asking how can we know if debt relief money has been sent to the District level? There is no data that traces resources that are taken to the districts to implement the PRSP!! We recommend that the Government should set a vote in the District budget which records the amount of PRSP funds that has been disbursed to a particular District.

Regardless of these efforts, the final PRSP document approved by the Government has a lot of weaknesses, with many gaps even on important aspects such as gender disaggregation. The inputs provided by CSOs had not been incorporated and many feel to be cheated by both the Government, donors and particularly the World Bank and IMF.

Constraints of CSOs

In general, all CSOs are involved directly or indirectly in poverty reduction initiatives. They are more concerned about the life, status and welfare of the poor particularly children, youth, women and the disabled who are generally regarded as marginalized groups. They have a comparative advantage of knowing and understanding the poor because they work with them at the grassroot level in different parts of the country. But there are many constraints that CSOs face in the course of participating in monitoring the PRSP processes

bulletThey have limited knowledge about the PRSP.
bulletAs a result, there has been limited participation by them in PRSP processes.
bulletThe government had already started the PRSP process without involving CSOs adequately at any one stage of the entire process.
bulletMany CSOs are not aware of what have been done and what is the next stage/step in PRSP process.
bulletThe Government chooses which CSOs to invite for participation and which not to invite.

Poverty and PRSP Monitoring Process

Regardless the above constraints, CSOs have the duty and role to play in directly participating in monitoring the poverty reduction/ PRSP process. They are a number of approaches to do this:

bulletCapacity building of CSOs
bulletAwareness raising through education and information dissemination
bulletUndertaking lobbying and advocacy initiatives.
bulletActing as active watch-dogs on the PRSP implementation process.

A number of strategies could be used to realize civil society goals of monitoring the PRSP by doing the following

bulletSearching for information on both the process and implementation of the PRSP at all levels - national and district.
bulletAsking to ourselves - what is being done; what should be done? And what shall be done?
bulletTo enhance our challenge of the gaps existing within existing policies and practices.
bulletEstablishing monitoring structures and indicators on specific sectoral issues.

Monitoring Process

CSOs need skills and knowledge to actively participate in monitoring Poverty and the PRSP.

For effective participation in monitoring to take place, there must be functioning monitoring structures in-place. The opportunities for CSO participation in the poverty/PRSP monitoring process are great. It can be done through the following ways:

bulletParticipation through teams or working groups
bulletParticipation through an individual's own initiative or efforts
bulletIdentification of resource and lead organizations at various levels i.e. regional, national and district.

13.1 Plenary Discussions

bulletCSOs must be pro-active in search of the necessary information and data on PRSP.
bulletFor effective participation in monitoring the PRSP, CSOs must be well prepared and must be given the necessary skills and knowledge
bulletCSOs must be aggressive in searching for facts, data and information
bulletCSO participation in the process must be of joint effort through networking at all levels.
bulletStrategies must be formulated to enable CSOs to participate effectively in monitoring processes.
bulletThe government always prefers not to volunteer information unless it is provoked.
bulletWe fail to attain our goals because CSOs are weak technically and professionally.
bulletExperiences show that there have been a lot of confusion in respect to the multiplicity of poverty reduction statements and strategies from the Government (V2025, NPES, TAS, PRSP, RDS, LGRP).
bulletCSOs must ensure that they lobby the local governments in order to attend district council meetings as observers; as provided under the Local Government Act.
bulletCSOs need to formulate a lobbying and advocacy strategy and mechanisms.
bulletCSOs should put up joint efforts to pressurize the Government and lobby donors for the full funding of the PRSP.
bulletThe issue of HIV/AIDS must be well articulated because it is one of the factors contributing towards poverty and constraining development.
bulletDistrict officials tend to avoid CSO officials, because of our critical engagement role.
bulletThe Government is playing the "politics of exclusion" tactic. It chooses which CSOs will participate. It avoids CSOs which are doing a good job through advocating the interests of the poor.
bulletThe Current Poverty Monitoring System (PMS) is too much upstream, it is hanging in the air without direct links to the grassroot. Ideally, the PMS should be replicated and have District Poverty Monitoring Committees.

13.2 Recommendations

bulletCSOs need to have effective training on PRSP implementation process in order to have the necessary capacity/skills on the monitoring process.
bulletCSOs should be equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge on lobbying and advocacy
bulletCapacity building activities on CSOs poverty/PRSP monitoring system needs to be planned and implemented.
bulletThe Government should not choose which CSOs representatives should attend consultative meetings in the future. It should send us the TOR for a certain process and we will choose our own representatives.
 

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