Posted: Tuesday January 17, 2012 4:41 AM BT

Dar es Salaam. Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) should stick to their principles against inappropriate directives by donors in order to bring an impact to the public.

This was said by Professor Suleiman Ngware, from the Institute of Development Studies, of the Development studies at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), on Wednesday.

He remarked: “Every organisation has principles, but many of them tend to abandon their doctrine because of donor funds.”

Through their assistance donors dictate areas and types of activities the CSOs should conduct, he explained.
Prof Ngware was presenting his draft research report on ‘Dynamics of Civil Society Organisations Relations in Tanzania: Promoting Networking than Competition.’

The report, which was presented at the head office of the Research on Poverty Alleviation (Repoa) in Dar es Salaam, aims to strengthen understanding of dynamics in Tanzania’s civil society. It also seeks to strengthen the role of CSOs in development as well as policy development of the government and donors.

Prof Ngware said CSOs could be self reliant through building networks that would bring a platform to mobilise support for a common agenda.

In his draft report he established that there was an increasing awareness of the idea of CSO networking in the country.

He said obstacles to the CSOs networking include internal structures, lack of competent manpower and organisations fearing to lose their identities. A lecturer at the UDSM, who conducted research on the Networks among CSOs dealing with HIV/AIDS in the country, Mr Severine Kessy, found out that geographical coverage necessitated networking among CSOs.

However, he said, a struggle on limited resources was creating confrontation among the CSOs and was a challenge in selecting beneficiaries of a particular project.

He said the Government could play a big role, not only in providing financial and technical support, but also in organising actors to work together.

Another researcher, Ms Neema Yobu, said there was a need for local Governments and CSOs to collaborate and serve the citizens because they have certain comparative advantages.

She had carried out a study on Civil Society-Government in Tanzania: Partners or Rivals?,

She said currently the Government was not working with all CSOs and vice versa. Their partnership was mainly in service delivery and monitoring of public expenditure, she said.

Draft reports presented at the workshop for improvement were under a programme called Civil Society Research Facility (CSRF). In Tanzania it is undertaken by Repoa and the Centre for International Development Issues Nijmegen (CIDIN).

The CSRF-Tanzania is part of the IS-academy partnership between CIDIN and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It principally aims at providing an opportunity to junior (post-graduate) researchers in Tanzania to prepare, implement and report about short-term scientific research on civil societies.

This article was published in The Citizen newspaper and is also available at the following link:
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