Jukwaa la Matumaini - Sowing Seeds of Hope
NGARA - KABANGA PEACE WALK
The project Director for Women Craft in Ngara speaking during the event.
This event was meant to raise awareness of the importance of peace and security in the region which is a necessary recipe for integral development in the region.
During the occasion, representatives from the various agencies appreciated the theme of the occasion. Most expressed that the success of all activities in the region is pegged on peace, collaborative work and information sharing.
The event was a beautiful opportunity where individuals and organizations and the different government sectors got to know each other. The event also helped them to stimulate networking as all work for a common course.
Many expressed this event need to be organized annually.
CONSTITUTION MAKING PROCESS
Stimulation of listeners to participate in the constitutional review process in Tanzania: Radio Kwizera provided basic information on Tanzanian on the Current Constitutional Review process
SOWING SEEDS OF HOPE
RADIO KWIZERA AND ITS ROLE TOWARDS PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY
Dotto Bahemu (26) is not trying to invent the wheel. He may just be doing what others have forgotten, neglected or failed to do. But the project he heads at Radio Kwizera FM station in Ngara district, North-Western Tanzania, is getting recognized at grass root as “the people’s voice.”
He heads Afya: Hali Halisi project which could translate as: Health: The Real Situation. “We get many tips on a number of issues, but our project is exclusively on investigating accountability in public health delivery. So, we hold interviews with original sources; then other members of the public and get the basis for investigation,” explains Dotto.
The project is funded by the Tanzania Media Fund (MCT). If we were looking for those who contributed towards media development in Tanzania in the year 2014, which is the aim of this chapter, one of them would be TMF, which provided funds with which to build capacity for Kwizera.
Calls, messages and complaints
Look at the following example of what exactly the funded Afya: Hali Halisi project is doing. Here is Rwimbogo dispensary in Muganza ward in Ngara district. The in-charge at the dispensary is one Nicholas Ndabagoye. Residents of Muganza get in touch with Kwizera – through direct telephone calls and messages – complaining that their “doctor” comes to work whenever he wants; and at times very late and under alcoholic influence; and at other times not showing up at all. Mothers complain that it was normal practice o get back home with unattended children on their backs. Some messages mention a number of places the in-charge frequents and take long hours on local and, or foreign booze.
“Here, we investigated every allegation,” narrates Dotto. They interviewed patients and their relatives; went to the dispensary and stayed there from 9 am to 3 pm. He was not there; he didn’t turn up that day. They went to his home. He was not there. They started visiting places mentioned as his favorites. They finally found him at the market place doing exactly what their original sources had told them. He was not ready for the interview. They went to the district medical officer (DMO) and the administrative district director (DD); told them what they had garnered so as to get their word; and finally put the story in the air.
A decision was made, almost immediately, says Dotto, by the relevant authority (DMO and DD) to transfer Ndabagoye to Katerere dispensary – in the neighbourhood – where he is reportedly “changed and performing” his duties as per professional requirement.
“It is not easy to relate joy and jubilation of residents of Muganza ward. They call and thank us for what they call ‘work well done’ that culminated into the transfer of a non-performing medical person in-charge; and that they were now getting medical services unhindered. It is from the action taken, wananchi in Ngara and beyond are constantly calling us for investigation and expose for good results,” remarks Dotto.
What is left out to prove that information leads to people’s awareness; puts pressure on authority for change; and leads to action – even at that grass root level of the community?
Word had spread that exposure of misdeeds by persons in-charge at dispensaries had resulted into change. This time callers were from Nyabugombe dispensary in Nyakahura ward in Biharamulo; also in Kagera region.
At Nyabugombe, in-charge William Kabururwa has been demoted (now working under a new in-charge) and handed a severe reprimand. Reasons for this include, demanding Shs. 200 fee from every patient who goes for service; refusing service to members of National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF); denying free service to children under five years (contrary to national policy. It is supposed to be free); and telling patients and relatives that there was no medication at the dispensary, but those with money could get it right at his home.
Working on tips, Afya: Hali Halisi team investigated the allegations and concluded with Kabururwa. Dotto reports that he was “very uncooperative; and we had to apply devices to get his voice without his notice. We aired that and it was really effective. The DMO and DD took action; and there he is!”
Added confidence in media outlet
Now back in Ngara district, at Kabalenga dispensary in Kanazi ward. According to Dotto, the in-charge, one Wilbald Edward had instituted costs on all women who attended clinic services (contrary to national policy). When this was communicated to Afya: Hali Halisi and they started investigation, information percolated to the in-charge who was reported telling women, “Ok now, you will see…;” which immediately translated into a halt on all services to pregnant women.
“We went ahead with investigations; getting all facts and details and aired the programme that prompted thorough scrutiny by the DMO and DD; and necessitated a meeting between the two offices and the villagers. It resulted in the summary dismissal of the in-charge.
That is Radio Kwizera FM – a 20-year old community radio station run by the Jesuits of the Roman Catholic religious order under the directorship of Father Damas Misanga. It is one of the 27 institutional grantees in the year 2014 which have benefited from TMF grant philosophy and action of making media outlets independent and sustainable; leading to attainment of a journalism that better informs the public, contributes to debate and thereby increases public demand for greater accountability in the country. (See list of TMF institutional grantees 2014: Appendix I).
Given that literacy rate, as per UNESCO explanation, is the percentage of people aged 15 and above who can, with understanding, read and write a short, simple statement on their everyday life; and given that the illiteracy rate in Tanzania is around 30 per cent; the radio remains the most affectionate tool of mass communication that can speedily inform and arouse populations and authorities to action. Radio Kwizera FM is an immediate and most recent example in Tanzania.