Alternative civil society resourcing: New report paves the way for a more resilient civil society in Tanzania

01 Mar 2023

After Jonathan Kifunda of Thubutu Africa Initiatives saw the completion of a girls’ toilet block at a local school, built with contributions from within the community, he commented: “The completion of the girls’ toilet project by normal citizens belonging to a local community, where everyone provided different building materials, time and expertise, shows that it is not about money. In the survey [conducted at the start] people responded that they wish to participate in every project because it gives them power and authority over that specific project, unlike projects which are simply brought to the ground without their knowledge and participation. With community philanthropy we can help to shift the power. People are ready and waiting to re-claim their power. The power to solve their own problems, power to decide and make choices, power to share the little they have and power to collectively take care of the assets available in their communities.”

Based in Tanzania, Thubutu Africa Initiatives is part of an emerging movement of local organizations whose work and insights are featured in a new report, Reimagining civil society resourcing in Tanzania. The report explores the changing landscape of civil society resourcing in Tanzania – a country where international aid has typically overshadowed, and in some cases undermined, local organizations. It shines a light on innovative local resource mobilization practices already happening in the country, and offers up a number of insights as to how this can be further strengthened. The report makes the case that identifying and organizing local resources is critical for fostering local ownership of “development” and building the resilience of civil society organizations.

The study was conducted within the framework of a larger programme, Kukuza Uwezo, aimed at strengthening the capacity of Disabled People’s Organizations in Tanzania and Uganda, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and implemented by GlobalGiving. Though it will be of relevance to anyone questioning issues of equity and power in international development aid, and the role of local civil society resourcing in this.

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