A new approach to community engagement

25th June 2020

Ainea works as a pump attendant in Seluka, Mpwapwa district, Dodoma. He is also a member of the water committee in the village. He got involved when Raleigh Tanzania introduced the SAY project in this community in 2018. The project aims to empower young people, women and people living with disability to become project monitors and resolve their own challenges through the formation of a Joint Working Group. The joint working group includes a diverse representation of people from different backgrounds with expertise in the community who will be responsible for resolving any identified challenges.

Ainea explains the challenges they faced as a community when monitoring the building of a new health facility, a MKAJI project funded by SIMAVI, before the introduction of a new Joint Working Group:

 ’There was no one to report to – and we didn’t understand a lot of information about the project but now we have the Joint Working Group in our village where we have meetings and open discussions. These meetings have opened our eyes and we have all the relevant information about this project, which I think is important for everyone in the community.

Ainea also explains how the Joint Working Group works:

“First, the community monitors do a monitoring visit to the MKAJI health facility project and identify any challenges, and then report it to the Joint Working Group through a meeting. Then, the Joint Working Group, which is a group of community members from different background and expertise, discuss possible solutions towards the challenges identified. The JWG is led by the Village Chairperson and Village Executive Officer. After agreeing on a solution to the challenge, it is the role of the VEO to feedback what has been suggested/ agreed to the entire community, through a community meeting. This is where everyone is involved, and information is shared with every community member.”

The system doesn’t leave anyone behind – as everyone can share their views and their voice is heard. It is a new way of solving problems, and thus far, it is proving very effective.

The Joint Working Group then revisit the project as a second monitoring visit to see what has been fixed. In this example, in Seluka, the health facility’s water system had a broken pipe which was identified as the problem, it was addressed and by the second monitoring visit, it was fixed. Before this working group was created, there was confusion around accountability – no one felt responsible for resolving problems.

Seluka village is one of 179 communities using the Community Integrity Model (CIB Model) in Tanzania. We call upon other communities, development agencies, NGOs, CSOs or implementing actors to adapt to a model that is inclusive, transparent and engaging, in order to increase project and services sustainability.

The SAY project is being delivered by Raleigh Tanzania in partnership with Integrity Action and is funded by a four-year grant from UK Aid Direct.