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This is life in Dar es Salaam

Take a walk through Mburahati, a neighbourhood of Dar es Salaam, with resident Naziru Ndimu. He and his friends share stories of daily life in one part of urban Tanzania- the struggle to access quality health care, how money needs to pass hands to make things move (and where can one find that cash?), the meddling of outside players with their interventions that never come to pass. Life is a struggle in Mburahati.

Hunting for Per Diems

Payment of per diems and allowances has been a matter of debate in East Africa for quite some time. A new report entitled 'Hunting for Per Diem- The Uses and Abuses of Travel Compensation in Three Developing Countries' was presented in Oslo, Norway on 23 April 2012 at a seminar organized by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). The Chr. Michelsen Insitute carried out the study in Tanzania, Malawi and Ethiopia in 2011. In a talk given by video at the seminar, Twaweza Head Rakesh Rajani offered his critique of the paper.

Citizens can drive change

Twaweza believes that informed and motivated citizens are the most powerful agents of change. With information, ideas, tools and confidence, citizens across East Africa are making things happen and holding governments accountable to deliver better basic services- education where children learn, clean water and better health care. We get behind these initiatives to make them gain greater momentum.

ICTs as a key driver for governance in sub-Saharan Africa?

Do ICTs drive governance in sub-Saharan Africa? Do citizens? Danida, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, held a conference in Copenhagen on April 12 on the the theme, 'ICT as a key driver for governance in sub-Saharan Africa: Strategies for using the transformative power of mobile phones and social media.' Guest speakers debated the potential for mobile phones and technology to boost democracy, transparency, accountability and citizen agency.

Mobile phones and citizen surveys

Each year the Guardian newspaper hosts the Activate Summit, bringing together inspiring figures from around the world who are using technology and the internet to make the world a better place. Rakesh Rajani, Head of Twaweza, was invited to speak at the 2011 Summit in London, England. He described Twaweza's work on the soon to be launched Wananchi Survey. Between 1,200 and 2,500 people from each of the East African countries Twaweza works in will be regularly called on their mobile phones to answer a set of questions, ranging from the monitoring of services to opinions on current events. Within a week the data can be crunched and the results made public. The use of mobile phones for citizen surveys drastically reduces the time and money spent on traditional large scale surveys.

Education in Tanzania: A mirage of progress

One of every five dollars in the Tanzanian budget goes to education. And yet, learning outcomes remain low. Full capitation grants are not reaching schools, teachers are only instructing students for an average of two hours and four minutes each day and the majority of students in all levels of primary school are not able to pass a Standard 2 test.

Twaweza is about information

'Twaweza is about enabling people on the ground to have information,' so says Twaweza Head Rakesh Rajani. At Twaweza we are most interested in sharing two types of information. The first is comparative, providing information on allocated resources, so communities and districts know how they stand up to their neighbours. Secondly, we aim to share stories of change so that citizens can learn how others like them have brought change to their communities. In this way, we hope to spark the imagination of people across East Africa.
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