Training package on lobbying and advocacy

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Southern New Hampshire University
To a great extent, the development of civil society and its relationship to the state on governance issues has been a reflection of the prevailing socio-economic and political environment. At independence the neo colonial state inherited a state monopoly system which curtailed the levels of popular participation. The political framework that developed ensured that civic associations were deeply entrenched into the state-party system. In this context, it has been pointed out that "the dominance of single party state during the first years of independence has constricted the space for democratic participation and disrupted the balance between societal and individual fundamental rights. Within this framework, the state continued to maintain and consolidate state hegemony thus sowing the seeds for the undemocratic political culture that ensued and continued until the 1980s and 1990s where signs of change started to emerge though in a limited way. This situation affected associations such as cooperatives, youths, parents and women, all of which were affiliated to the ruling party. In the case of women organization, the UWT (Union of Tanzania Women) which was formed to fight for the interests of women in Tanzania was no exception to this situation. The Organization was deeply entrenched into the party -state system, and was therefore seen as the only legitimate political organization, which articulated the interests of and space which they needed to voice their concerns since they were not part of mainstream political decision making. In addition, UWT as an organization entrenched in a male-dominated patriarchal system, lacked independent critical thinking in analyzing broadly gender and women issues. As a result women continued to suffer oppression and domination in almost all spheres of social, economic and political life. In the late 1980s and 1990s the country underwent major social economic and political transformation. In the economic sphere, it moved from a centralized economic system to economic liberalization while in the political sphere the country moved from a single party system to multiparty system. This new orientation created a space for voluntary action in the form of civic associations. As such in the 1980s and 1990s Tanzania witnessed an unprecedented growth of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). Women CSOs were also established not only as a result of liberalized social economic political system but also as a response to International movement, which encouraged women, all over the world to fight for their rights, a call made at the 1985 Nairobi World Conference on Women. Several women organizations were established after the 1985 conference including MWAWODE, which was born in 1995. These women CSOs have been working hard to empower women socially, economically and politically in order to build their capacities to participate effectively on governance issues as part of the civil society and the public in general. Women CSOs have therefore placed on top of their agenda issues of democratization, governance, civic education, political empowerment, women and human rights. Therefore the formation of women civil society organizations such as MWAWODE and others should be seen as an effort to enable women to participate effectively in influencing good governance by placing lobbying and advocacy for better policies at the top of the agenda. This study (Organisation Capacity Assessment - MWAWODE) has been undertaken to demonstrate the capacity and extent to which MWAWODE interact with governments to promote good governance especially on policy issues and the extent to which the execute lobbying and advocacy issues. Its policy advocacy strategy focuses on social, economic, political and cultural aspects of Tanzania's societal public. The objective of analysing organizational capacity of this particular CBO is to gain a clear perspective of its Lobbying and advocacy capacity and techniques and how itinteracts with the government to effect policy changes. This study will examine MWAWODE /State relations in a wider social, economic, political and cultural context. It will therefore examine the relations between MWAWODE and the Local government and community it is working for. After the analysis it was realized that MWAWODE had some exposure to policy issues, but it is still unable to significantly contribute to policy formulation and or implementation. In addition to that, MWAWODE members have little understanding of how to influence policies. At most it can participate in policy debates at the NGO level. Members have no knowledge on lobbying and advocacy rather depends on hired consultants to carry out those activities as per focus group discussion feedbackIt was recommended that MWAWODE members and Ward leaders to be trained on Advocacy and lobbying. This training is a fundamental knowledge and skills/ techniques needed for MWAWODE members to be able to function well on this area. The trained members will be able to participate fully in to influencing policies and behavior change in the community. For MWAWODE members to be trained required a researcher to develop a training package on Lobbying and Advocacy, which merges well with their requirement. Researcher for that case did not conduct the training rather advised MWAWODE members to raise funds for the training. (Author abstract)