Twaweza in 2019: the full story

This Annual Report reflects on the first full year of our new strategy 2019-2022. It shows how we sharpened our focus on three missions, and how we executed rather differently from before.

It is unusual to report on a year’s activities from the perspective of how we felt about what we did and achieved. Twaweza is about connecting with citizens and supporting them to shape the institutions, tangible and otherwise, that we create to improve our lives. But, a vital group of people routinely vanish from the scene in these annual reflections: Twaweza’s team of dedicated staff. 

Deep in the section on learning and strategy, you will come across one of our new approaches to execution: involving as many staff as possible drawn from across all units in Twaweza’s hands-on work. Together, we rolled up our sleeves to scope, research, design, implement, monitor and evaluate our initiatives. The result was an energized and engaged team. This labour of love and the activities, the achievements, the lessons it produced infuses this Annual Report.

But these words offer a mere glimpse into how we felt about our work, so I want to introduce the report with a few examples of the emotions we took into and got out of, our work in 2019.

‘I recall the joy of having lunch together with the Kigoma #Teleza [sexual assault] survivors at their homes, on the day we were stopped by the Kigoma regional authorities from doing our launch at the designated venue.

‘We crafted a sensitive report into a normal Sauti za Wananchi brief which inspired very honest dialogue with senior public officers on the barriers to citizens’ participation. And the fact that Uganda’s Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development now acknowledges the Sauti za Wananchi platform and data as being relevant for their work is great.’

‘We worked with 90 local CSOs from over 20 regions during the zonal consultation process to develop Tanzania’s first draft of a National Decentralization Policy. I am proud that our approach enabled them to reflect on their own everyday experiences to inform their contributions to the draft policy document - despite the very short notice. Their inputs were simply the most comprehensive and constructive of all the groups consulted.’

‘Our Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) initiative reached 452 children who could not read Kiswahili nor do simple numeracy operations. After just 30 days of intensive teaching more than 84% could read a Kiswahili story! Teachers are so motivated with such amazing results in such a short time. District officials are so inspired and wish to scale up to all schools in their districts. I am excited!’

My own emotional journey in 2019 included the excitement of attending the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Summit in Ottawa as a robot in May, elation when Tanzania’s Statistics Act was (re)amended to allow for independent data collection and dissemination in June, dread at the possibility that Twaweza would be deregistered in August, and quiet satisfaction when we highlighted the economic value of selected civil society organizations in Tanzania in November.

These personal journeys are hidden in this report, so I invite you to focus your eye and fine tune your emotional radar, so that as you explore the forest of words, data and insights that follow, you may come across the flowers of feeling that gave our work in 2019 such meaning.


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