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Twaweza Strategy 2015-2018

Twaweza means “we can make it happen” in Swahili. We are an ambitious initiative that started in 2009, working on enabling citizens to exercise agency, promoting governments to be more open and responsive, and improving basic learning for children in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. We are now beginning the second phase of our ten-year initiative, on the foundation of the rich lessons and experience from the initial years. We have learned much, and have made some significant changes, which we outline in this new strategy – covering 2015-2018.

At its core, Twaweza continues to embody the democratic ideal, implicit in its name, that lasting change is driven by the actions of motivated citizens. We have refined our core theory of change, grounding it in two domains (basic education and open government), and recognize that in addition to greater citizen agency, we also strive for enhanced responsiveness from authorities, creating opportunities for meaningful citizen-state interaction. We believe that this will change the narrative from one in which citizens and governments have a low level of trust in each other, to one in which authorities and citizens collaborate in finding solutions to public sector problems. We also retain our focus on improving basic learning outcomes, because we are convinced that securing basic literacy and numeracy skills among children will significantly contribute to the collaborative reality we envision.

Our work is now organized in three main program areas:

  1. Data and Voice, which includes Uwezo, Africa’s largest annual citizen assessment of children’s learning across hundreds of thousands of households, which is now fully integrated within Twaweza; and Sauti za Wananchi, Africa’s first nationally representative mobile phone survey;
  2. An ambitious program of gathering and generating evidence on “What Works” in the domains of basic education and open government. This includes experiments both small and large, and a focus on sourcing and understanding locally-generated solutions through a “positive deviance” approach;
  3. Public and Policy Communication and Engagement, which produces various high-quality non-partisan products based on data and evidence, and engages relevant target audiences, through powerful media partnerships, direct encounters with key policy actors, and global leadership of initiatives such as the Open Government Partnership.

Alongside the three programs units is our Learning, Monitoring and Evaluation unit, which provides monitoring and feedback structures, engages external evaluations, contributes meaningful lessons to national and international fora, and infuses the organization with curiosity and accountability for results and impact.

As of January 1st 2015, Twaweza is a legally independent entity registered in Tanzania, and with certificates of compliance in Kenya and Uganda; we also bid farewell to the founder of Twaweza and welcomed a new Executive Director in early 2015. A new Twaweza Board with a clear fiduciary and advisory mandate will be introduced in early 2015. It members will be chosen from a range of fields and backgrounds to ensure substantive inputs on all key aspects. The overall budget covering all three countries over the 2015-18 period is USD 82 million. We are thankful to the donors who have accompanied us through the first part of our journey, and look forward to collaborating with 5-7 donor partners to cover this budget and achieve our ambitious agenda in the second part.

Our previous strategies are available here and here.

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