CSOs have been advised to make a thorough re-evaluation of themselves in order to change their mode of work and adapt to more innovative and compliant methods for partnering and improving relations with the State.

These remarks were made by the Executive Director of FCS, Mr. Francis Kiwanga during the CSO Week 2019 session on ‘The Evidence: What have we learnt about state – CSO relations in Tanzania?’ after FCS presented findings from a series of Regional CSO Directors’ Forums held to discuss and generate evidence that can be used to advocate for improved relationships between CSOs and the various government bodies they interact with at all levels.

Some of the findings of the report include: CSOs lack of self-regulatory mechanism; dislike of CSOs to share financial and project activity reports to the government; ineffective CSO networks; financial constraints; CSO’s not being aligned with government’s priorities; vision and missions of CSOs have been influenced by what donors want; CSOs shifting from their thematic areas; and unfriendly regulations and laws governing CSOs.

“We must go back to our roots. We must ask ourselves, when we first established these CSOs, what was our original vision for establishing these organisations?” questioned Kiwanga.

“Times change, therefore we must also change. We should therefore try our level best to be compliant and more innovative in what we do in order to deliver the best results,” added Kiwanga.

Indeed, throughout the years, CSOs have made a significant impact to the nation. However, there is a need to see where we have gone wrong. AZAKI need to fulfill its legal mandate and be compliant. There is also a need to have regular consultative forums and rejuvenate CSO networks that can be the voice of AZAKI in communicating its concerns and recommendations to the government.

In the same light, the Registrar of NGOs, Ms. Vickness Mayao, said that AZAKI should look forward to cooperating with government and its entities, as well as do their best as possible to follow all guidelines, regulations and laws governing AZAKI in order to avoid any unnecessary conflict with the State.

“To help AZAKI and the State accomplish better working relations, we have already drafted guidelines for ministries, departments and government agencies on how to work with CSOs which will soon come into practice, with hope that it will help resolve a lot of challenges in our day to day interactions with one another,” said Mayao.

This is good news indeed.