Politics of Poverty

A Needless Journey

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Semkae Kilonzo of Policy Forum Tanzania talks about the importance of budget transparency and civil participation as a tool for breaking through barriers and bottlenecks in government.

 

This is a joint post by Jennifer Lentfer and Rebecca Fudala, the Coordinator for Oxfam America’s Aid Effectiveness Team.

“Turn right, cross the river filled with crocodiles, and then you are just a short walk away.”

Mbeya Region, Tanzania. Graphic: Sémhur / Wikipedia Commons

Imagine if those were the instructions you received to get to your healthcare provider? This was the daily reality for Tanzanians in the southern villages of Chabu and Shinji. That is, until Policy Forum—a network of over 100 registered NGOs in Tanzania—took notice and with the help of local citizens and civil society leaders started asking, “why?”. Together with the MIICO (Mbozi, Illeje and Isangati Consortium), Policy Forum helped implement a Social Accountability Monitoring (SAM) program in the region of Mbeya.

Semkae Kilonzo, Coordinator for Policy Forum tells the story of how bureaucratic bottlenecks adversely affect people’s lives. His example “teaches us to get community members interested in their budgets. The more they are interested, the more they can demand for accountability.”

100 villagers and civic actors in the Mbeya region attend a meeting which revealed why the two local health dispensaries do not have any staff. Photo: Policy Forum
100 villagers and civic actors in the Mbeya region attend a meeting which revealed why the two local health dispensaries do not have any staff. Photo: Policy Forum

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