Paving the Way for Youth-Led Civil Societies. How Data-Driven Advocacy is Developing the Capacity of Tanzanian Youth-led Civil Societies

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Hassan - A Vocational Training Officer at Hakizetu instructing some of Hakizetu beneficiaries how to tailor at Hakizetu Gramet Making Workshop.

Most youth-led civil societies face serious organizational and operational efficacy challenges. These challenges have caused many uncertainties ranging from inadequate experiences, issues with accounting policies, procurement, grants, personnel management, poor oversight of governance systems, and delays in the decision-making processes.

Recognizing the need for strong and vibrant youth-led civil societies, Pact, through the USAID-funded Data-Driven Advocacy (DDA) project, supports these civil societies in developing organizational structures and effective operational mechanisms to promote quality programming and sustainable impact. The capacity development package hinges on procurement, leadership, resources mobilization and business sustainability, human resources and staff performance management, finance, and grants management. The package has produced sustainable improvements in these civil societies' management, administration, and functioning.

Youth and Women Emancipation (YAWE) is one of the organizations engaged in the DDA's capacity development initiative. The organization focuses on civic engagement and accountability, ending violence against women and children, climate justice, health, and economic empowerment. It started in 2017 with a national mandate, and currently, it has reached over 60,000 young people across five councils in Shinyanga and Simiyu Regions.

Much has changed at YAWE, including the development of procurement policies and a finance manual, which have helped to define and outline what procedures must be followed. They have also saved almost TZS 10,000,0000 (A USD equivalent of $4348) through a competitive tendering process.

"Now, we do things systematically and in a well-defined process. For example, we currently do strategic and competitive sourcing, which have helped us save about ten million shillings in six months," said Sebastian, YAWE’s Finance Manager.

Compliance with both the donor and the government's requirement is another thing that YAWE has learned. They have initiated new processes like properly filling and documenting reports, employee records, and performance management. Further, they have improved some of their organization's policies like their Child Protection Policy to include important topics such as Anti-human trafficking, amongst others.

"The capacity development through DDA and our partnership with Pact offers growth opportunities and strengthens our organization's operational and programmatic efficiency. As young people, we need the skills, tools, and platforms for excellent work. Now, we have been able to learn and adopt best practices from Pact; we have been given the platform to network with other like-minded organizations," said Vincent, YAWE’s Executive Director.

With the improvement he has seen, Vincent wants to build a platform for other young people to come and learn. "I believe that with strong systems and quality programming, many young people would be interested in working with us. We are envisioning to be the model youth-led organization with which every young person and stakeholders would be interested in working with," commented Vincent.

The transformation that has been occurring has given YAWE so much confidence and trust across different actors. "Whenever a development partner comes to either the Shinyanga or the Simiyu regions and seeks a youth-led organization to partner with, we are normally recommended by the officials from the Regional Secretariats. They trust us because of our track record of performance," said Scholastica, YAWE’s Administration Officer.

Hakizetu Organization is another youth and women-led health and social justice non-profit that benefited from DDA's initiative. Hakizetu is focused on protecting legal and human rights, promoting the health and wellbeing of children, women, and youth, and advocating for gender equality and equity. Currently, Hakizetu works in 10 councils throughout three (3) of Tanzania’s mainland regions.

Through capacity development, they have refined their accounting and finance systems. This improvement enabled them to receive a three-year grant instead of an annual one. "We have been working with Segal Foundation for three years now. Every year, they would grant us an annual grant. After finding that our financial manual has been updated and we have adopted the use of QuickBooks amongst other breakthroughs, we were awarded a three-year grant," said Gervas Evodius, Hakizetu’s Executive Director.

Both YAWE and Hakizetu are now exploring social enterprises as mechanisms for ensuring their business sustainability. They further seek potential partnerships with the private sector and other actors to co-create interventions that have a lasting impact.

DDA will continue to work with youth-led civil society and other local CSOs to develop their internal capacities.

 

Last updated: September 23, 2022

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