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Village Democracy Training, LAMP

In January 2000 the Government of Tanzania started the implementation of a local government reform programme whereby 38 councils on the mainland Tanzania entered the first phase of implementation. Since then, the programme has been expanded and to date (2006) all councils in Tanzania mainland are implementing the programme.

The main purpose of the reform, at national level, is to create and enabling and conducive environment for the reforming local government authorities to improve the standard of services being offered to their stakeholders.

Strengthening of the democratisation process is an important part of the Local Government Reform Programme (LGRP) as it aims to bring decision-making closer to the grass root levels of the population, which in Tanzania is the lowest level of government, the Villages.

Democratisation of rights and responsibilities from Central to Local Government levels and the capacity development of the latter have been stated as objectives of both Civil Service and Local Government reforms in Tanzania. These reforms are designed to directly improve the capacity of those levels to serve the local population and to support the fundamental level of governance in Tanzania – the Village Governments.

In the current phase of the Land Management Programme (LAMP) a big part of the long term technical support is aimed at supporting the Local Governments capacity to plan and implement development activities together with the communities. A series of short term assignments have been carried out as part of the process of strengthening the role and capacity of the Villages in the planning process.

1) Training Village Facilitators on LFA Tools
With experience from the first two years of LAMP Phase II (2002-03) it has become clear that further steps in terms of empowering the villagers can be taken. Empowerment of the villages will also mean participation and authority over planning, implementation and monitoring. In order to establish a system where the villages demand service from the District Council LAMP districts planned to introduce Village Action Plans and Village Budget frames for 2004 on pilot scale in 5-10 villages. These was no specific planning guide and format for the Village Action Plans and the District Council as well as the Villages need analytic tools based on the Logical Framework. A training of district staff was organised to improve their skills as facilitators for the villagers in village planning and monitoring, which is a prerequisite for making the Village Plan and Budget Frame.

On National level, several steps have been completed that can provide data for monitoring progress of poverty alleviation. Standardised poverty and welfare monitoring indicators have been developed for each key sector. In addition the 2002 census and household and budget surveys had been completed, which provided further data on the status of poverty.

Indicators are a key element of the LFA and should be based on the logical framework of project objectives and end-means relationship. The training of village facilitators in LFA analytic tools was therefore linked to the training in poverty monitoring system.

The objective of the assignment was to train district staff in analytical LFA tools.

2) Study on Strengthening Villages Role in Planning
As a response to the previous assignment a number of Districts started with pilot budget frames in a number of villages. In order to further develop this concept it was agreed to review the progress and relevance of this initiative in order to understand how it fits into and complements the ongoing process to carry out O& OD in all the Districts within the Local Government Reform Programme. Furthermore, it was seen as important to assess the flow of information regarding public expenditure between villages and Districts and identifying ways of improving it.

The objective of the assignment was to improve villages prospects of accessing public funding to plan, implement and monitor village development activities.

3) Training on Democracy and Legal Rights for Simanjiro Councillors
A training workshop was organised for the Ward Councillors from Simanjiro District. The workshop, which was based on Democracy and Legal Rights, was aimed at creating awareness amongst the rural population in Simanjiro District. Specifically this workshop was intended to improve the services of the District Councillors to the people by enabling them to understand better the concept of democracy and its principles. Since democracy is mainly hinged on the rule of law, this workshop also focused on various aspects of the law relevant to the day to day needs of the people, for example Land Law, Criminal Law, inheritance and succession law; family law, constitutional law and human rights standards.

The objective of the assignment was to train District Councillors in Simanjiro District to better understand the concept and principles of Democracy and Community rights.

4) LGRP to Lower Level Government
If the LGRP and more specifically, the LGSP are to work effectively in the Districts, the local communities must be able to play an active role. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the reform process reaches the lower levels of government i.e. The wards and villages as well as to encourage ordinary citizens to participate in the planning, decision-making and implementation of activities. Local governments cannot successfully carry out their duties unless all stakeholders internalize the objectives, benefits and responsibilities of the reforms. This entails working on issues concerning governance, democracy, transparency and accountability with communities.

LAMP has a long history of working with the LHRC on issues concerning land. The work included the training of village legal workers who then went out to the villages and informed community members on their land rights. The village legal workers were also trained on various other human and legal right issues. It was found that the legal workers system proved to be a very effective method of communicating directly with the villages. More than 400 village legal workers were trained and many of them are still in place and ready to be re-deployed.

This assignment aims to re-motivate and train the village legal workers so as to send them out to the villages in the LAMP Districts to inform and discuss issues related to the purpose, benefits and responsibilities of the LGRP as well as other central issues regarding governance and accountability.

The objective of the assignment was to inform and train villages and lower level Governments on the purpose, benefits and responsibilities of the LGRP as well as other central issues regarding governance and accountability.

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