The main development challenge of the United Republic of Tanzania is eradication of poverty, which is widespread among its population.  According to the Household Budget Survey of 2000/01 the proportion of the population below the national food poverty line is 18.7 percent and that below the national basic needs poverty line is 35.7 percent. However, income poverty is still widespread both in rural and urban areas although poverty remains overwhelmingly in rural areas where 87 percent of the poor population live, and is highest among households who depend on agriculture. The Government of Tanzania has put in place many programs, policies, strategies and projects across the country to address this development challenge. The Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF I) was one of them.  

TASAF I assisted the United Republic of Tanzania to sustain its ongoing reforms through mainstreaming its activities into Local Government Authorities and facilitating improvements of socio-economic infrastructure, enhancing capacity and skills of implementers and stakeholders rural and peri-urban communities, local government, NGOs and CBOs.who are involved in the program. TASAF initiatives improved basic social and economic services and protected vulnerable groups, including women and children.  Specific attention was given to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the involvement of civil society and non-government organizations (NGOs/CBOs) in rural development issues.

TASAF I Development Objective

The main objective of TASAF I was to increase and enhance the capacity of communities and stakeholders to prioritize, implement, and manage sustainable development initiatives and in the process improve socio-economic services and opportunities.  The expected outputs of the Fund were: community sub-projects; safety net sub-projects, sub-projects identified and implemented for women and vulnerable groups; a functioning monitoring and evaluation system; better informed stakeholders; and improved capacity for facilitation.

Institutional Set Up and Project Components

TASAF was located in the President’s Office and the President appointed the TASAF Executive Director and National Steering Committee (NSC) to manage TASAF initiatives.  The NSC was chaired by the Permanent Secretary in the Vice President‘s Office.  Other members of the NSC included one representative from Vice President’s Office, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children, Ministry of Regional Administration and Local Government, Ministry of Labour and Youth Development, Presidential Trust Fund, National Income Generation Program, Research on Poverty Alleviation, Interfaith Forum and State House. A total of eleven members constituted the NSC.

There was an autonomous TASAF Management Unit (TMU) that was comprised of the Executive Director (ED), Director of Public Works Programme (DPW), Director of Community Development Initiatives (DCDI) and Director of Finance (DF). The TMU was also supported by Internal Audit and four technical units, namely Information, Education and Communication (IEC), Training and Support, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), Management Information System (MIS).    Also there were five Program Officers (POs) for CDI and two Program Officers for PWP who were located to support the 42 operational areas.  In the course of project implementation the Directorate of Finance was merged with Administration, the Procurement Office was moved to Executive Director’s Office, the Technical Support units were merged to form a directorate of Systems and Capacity Building. In the later stage the seven POs were moved to TASAF Headquarters and be assigned new duties at TMU.  These changes were made to enhance efficiency in delivery of technical expertise to districts, based on the experiences gained during operations for two years.

At the District/Island level TASAF operated through the Local Government machinery whereby the Steering Committee and Management Committee were overseers of TASAF supported activities in their areas of jurisdictions. At the Community/Shehia level a Community Project Committee (CPC) was formed to manage subproject implementation processes except for SSP sub projects where NGOs/CBOs were engaged as implementing agencies.  According to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the District Council and TMU, the District Council/Island appointed the TASAF Project Coordinator (TPC) and TASAF Management Unit appointed the TASAF Accounts Officer (TAO).  The TPC and TAO were engaged to coordinate and supervise TASAF supported initiatives at the district/island and community levels.

The CDI (including Social Support Program [SSP] window), PWP and Institution Development (ID) were the three Project Components through which TASAF I was to achieve the objective.

Community Development Initiatives (CDI)

CDI supported small demand-based Community Initiatives in the socio-economic sectors that improved the accessibility to, and delivery of social and economic services and enhance the capacity of communities and local development partners.

The CDI Component total resource was US$38.00 million of IDA funding.  The SSP was financed through CDI Component to pilot the program aimed at responding to the needs of vulnerable persons.  Out of CDI resources, a total of US $ 1 million was allocated for SSP window implementation.

Public Works Program (PWP)

Public Works Programme was a safety net scheme for targeted poor rural areas financing labour intensive works.  The objective of PWP was to provide cash income for the poor, especially women and youth and particularly during periods of seasonal food shortage, through the promotion of job creation related to the construction and rehabilitation of infrastructure facilities.  The PWP had been allocated US$ 15.00 million of IDA funding.

Institutional Development (ID)

The Institutional Development Component was set to provide the day to day operational support that was needed for the districts to respond to the community demand-driven requests emanating from the participatory planning process. Institutional Development had been allocated US $ 7.00 million of IDA funding.

Assessment of the Project

Project Development Objective (PDO)

The PDO and design principles are assessed under this section in the context of Government of Tanzania (GOT) development priorities as per appraised documents. The assessment looked on the achievement of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) agreed upon.

Basing on the Project Appraisal Document of 27th July 2000 and the Project Operational Manual the project objective did not change. This was due to its relevance to the overall poverty alleviation strategy as the emphasis was to strengthen the capacities of the communities and increase community participation as well as giving more power to local government authorities in addressing poverty. Thus the shift of government from provider of services to become overseer and regulator of service providers necessitated the drive for more participation of communities.  That could be achieved by enhancing their management capabilities in managing the development process for their betterment which was the main focus of TASAF interventions.  However, in some cases strategies have been changing to suit the implementation environments and addressing some of the challenges encountered.

Project Design

The Project design, which features the broad principles of TASAF did not change. The key principles that guided TASAF included:
i.    Strengthening community empowerment through participatory project management and direct financing of demand driven subprojects;
ii.    Enhancing community participation and contribution;
iii.    Promoting transparency and accountability among stakeholders at all levels of TASAF operations;
iv.    Enhancing the capacities of implementers at all levels to provide effective implementation management of sub projects within the context of decentralization; and
v.    Promoting conformity to sector norms and standards in the process of sub project implementation.

The above principles were instrumental in bringing a sense of ownership, transparency and accountability across the TASAF actors.  IEC campaigns and other capacity enhancement initiatives were used as instruments to disseminate these TASAF principles.

Achievement of the Objective

Achievement of TASAF objective was assessed through tracking the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) agreed during project design.  Table A provides the status of achievement as at May 31st 2005. A total of 1704 (1338 CDI, 61 SSP and 305 PWP) were funded of which 1,426 (1124 CDI, 42 SSP and 260 PWP) subprojects have been providing services to targeted communities and individual beneficiaries.  The services provided make a difference to the lives of communities in which the sub projects were implemented as they have improved substantially.  Assessment Achievement of the Project Objective was rated as satisfactory

TASAF interventions have empowered communities in terms of ownership of both the development process and the facilities created.  The beneficiaries saw TASAF approach as the most appropriate for improving their standard of living.  This had been made manifested by a Beneficiary Assessment carried out in 2003 which indicated that both communities as beneficiaries and local government staff as facilitators viewed the project as an instrument of poverty alleviation as it improved the service provision and enhanced transparency and accountability.  Income transfer to rural population was an aspect that contributed to poverty alleviation since apart from addressing beneficiaries’ problems on temporary basis, it contributed to the creation of other economic activities by the beneficiaries which further generate income and make them self sufficient in terms of attaining the basic needs such as food, clothes and meeting the costs for education in terms of fees and uniforms.  This is true particularly to safety net sub projects.  The fact that implementation of sub projects did not look for big contractors gave community members within the communities who had skills in particular trade relevant to sub projects being implemented to make the benefits remain within the community.  TASAF has benefited a total population of about 1.9 million direct beneficiaries for communities in 42 operating areas.

Similarly, the expressed needs from non-TASAF areas, requesting for TASAF intervention in their areas have demonstrated the need of implementing development initiatives using the CDD approach.  Some of the non-TASAF supported district councils have adopted the labour-based technologies in implementing some of their construction activities especially in road improvement, not only reducing implementation cost but also ensuring cash transfers to rural poor households and individuals. In this case, TASAF had been relevant to poverty alleviation in line with National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (NSGRP).

Component Specific Achievement

The component specific achievement was rated satisfactory.  Sub projects implementation by communities created high quality assets, skills in implementation have been imparted to the communities and stakeholders to manage the sub projects and ability of poorest section of communities to cope with shortage of food was enhanced through cash transfer in form of wages paid to the same being temporarily employed in public works.  Although the baseline information was missing to assess the specific component impacts, there is no doubt that there were a number of benefits accruing to communities in the subproject areas. These included the improved learning environment, reduced distance to water and health facilities as well as increased access to socio-economic services.

CDI (including SSP Window) Achievement

The CDI Component including SSP window substantially achieved its objective by having the number of communities whose applications of subprojects were approved and supported reached 1399(1338 for CDI and 61 for SSP window).  Out of these subprojects 1,178 subprojects have been completed and 149 of completed sub projects are not operating due to lack of staff and equipment.  However, the government has included them in the 2005/06 budget so that they also can start providing the intended services to the beneficiaries.

Through CDI component the following assets were created: Classrooms 2,586, Teachers’ offices 468, Teachers’ houses 335, Toilets 951, Secondary school laboratories 18, Schools administrative blocks 26, dormitories 13, OPD/MCH (dispensaries) 312, Clinical officers’/nurses’ houses 922, Out patient toilets 613, Incinerators 304, piped water systems 65 charco dams 2, earth dams 3, shallow wells 559, roads rehabilitated 5 (85 kms), small irrigation schemes 2, Village markets 4, storage facility 1, and Village office 1.

The 1338 CPCs formed were democratically elected by respective communities.
The CPCs were comprised of 19,091 members of which 9,620 (50.4%) were men and 9,471 (49.6%) were women.

The number of sub projects implemented fall short of the targeted 2,212.  However, the number of assets created exceeds the number of targeted assets by 3,306 over and above the planned total of 3,906 assets

Under SSP Window a total of 61 pilot sub projects, mostly Income Generating Activities (IGAs) have been funded benefiting a total of 2,737 vulnerable persons.  Of these 875 were widows, 1,262 orphans, 472 elderly persons, 22 chronically ill persons (mostly HIV victims) and 106 people with disabilities.  An Early Child Development (ECD) center was also constructed, serving a total of 57 children.  A total of 30,015 people who have been reached by sub projects that had a component on awareness creation and education on HIV/AIDS. A total of 47 NGOs and CBOs were engaged as Project Implementing Agencies for the pilot SSP sub projects.

Whereas in terms of sub projects the number of sub projects implemented is below the target, in reality the target has been surpassed under CDI component.  This is due to the fact that implementation was done to attain functionality, thus implementing additional units to meet the sector requirements.

PWP Achievement

The PWP component reached 581 communities and transferred US $ 4,263,253 in total to 113,646 beneficiaries who were temporarily employed in safety net subprojects, 47% of them were women, 7 percent above the target of 40 percent.

The PWP Component achieved its objective by having 305 subproject approved and funded.  The PWP sub projects were as follows: (i) 2173.6 kilometers of access roads, (ii) small earth dams of 300,037 cubic meters of storage capacity and water supply, (iii) 46,820 meters canals for small scale irrigation schemes, (iv) one footbridge (pedestrian) (v) 5,909,200 seedlings were raised for environment protection (community woodlots and rehabilitation of gullies) and 2,950 meters of storm water drainage ditches and (vi) village markets with floor area of 9157 square meters.

Thus PWP impacts were based on cash transfer to the very poor individuals in the poor targeted households and an increase of access to economic services in remote villages.  The Beneficiary Assessment (2003) revealed that income from wages paid were used by the beneficiaries for purchase of food, financing education such as payment of school fees and buying uniform for pupils as well as investing into agriculture and Income Generating Activities (IGA).  Rural roads opened up many remote communities and enabled people to have access to other social services outside their communities such as markets for their agricultural produce and health services.

Institution Development Achievement

The Institutional Development component achieved its objectives by having a total of 136,333 beneficiaries trained in sub-project implementation, supervision and management. This number includes 22, 687 CPC members who were trained on sub project management and 113,646 PWP beneficiaries who were trained on different skills in implementation of sub projects such as road excavation, tree planting and construction.  Using the attained skills, some beneficiaries have been given other assignments similar to ones they were undertaking in the sub projects and earn income therefrom. Similarly, 732 staff from local governments and at national level was trained in various aspects of project management.  The capacities of different beneficiaries at all levels involved in sub-project implementation and supervision and monitoring were improved. It was evidenced also that the pace of sub-project implementation and the speed of funds absorption capacities by LGA and communities were improved. These achievements strengthen the transparency and accountability of stakeholders which resulted in proper funds justification.