Strengthening of civil society organisations

Project description

Title: Tanzanian-German Programme to Support Health – thematic area: Strengthening of civil society organisations
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Health and Social Welfare
Country: Tanzania
Overall term: 2003 to 2016

Context

The involvement of civil society organisations is an important strategy for ensuring health services are designed in a targeted and transparent manner. In Tanzania, however, a shortage of functional coordination structures hampers such participation at the national level, while at the local level, weak capacities for financial management, reporting and advocacy exclude smaller organisations in particular from planning processes and funding opportunities. This jeopardises the sustainability of many organisations’ work.

Objective

Civil society organisations represent the concerns of their constituencies in policy making processes. Examples include people living with HIV and young people whose access to age-appropriate health services is limited.

Approach

The project supports the coordination of civil society actors at the national level as well as capacity development of grassroots organisations in the Mtwara region.

In Mtwara, it runs a multifaceted training programme for community-based organisations. With technical support, training and continuous mentoring, it strengthens the capacity of civil society organisations to write funding applications, improve their financial management and engage in political advocacy. At the same time, the project assists the organisations in representing their respective interest groups in the public sphere and supports their interactions with the local authorities. These activities focus particularly on young people and youth friendly health services. The project cooperates closely with the non-governmental organisations Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW) and Femina Hip, which both have a long track record in working with youth, and can draw on their expertise and networks.

At the national level, the project works with civil society organisations involved in the steering committee of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, supporting them in fulfilling their governance functions. Above all, this includes national networks. Alongside coordination support at the national level, the project assists these organisations with their outreach to their members in the regions. The project keeps track of new Global Fund policies and requirements and communicates them to the organisations.

Results achieved so far

Civil society organizations have established processes for monitoring the Global Fund in Tanzania and are represented in the relevant committees. Through the improved exchange of information and coordinated actions, the organisations have successfully introduced issues, such as the needs of specific HIV risk groups, into key decision making processes.

Representatives of the eleven community-based organisations with which the project works in Mtwara region have completed training in key management areas. Since then, four organisations have already been able to submit applications for financial support from international donors. All the participating organisations have expanded their knowledge of sexual and reproductive health and can represent the special needs of young people more effectively.