Twaweza Annual Report 2022
“The Citizen Story is about the empowerment of us all to co-invent and nurture our own futures. The Citizenship of this book is not about the passport we hold, and it goes far beyond the duty to vote in elections. It’s a state of engagement, more verb than noun. We look around, identify the domains where we have some influence, and we roll up our sleeves and make things happen.”
This quote is from the foreword in Jon Alexander’s new book, Citizens: Why the key to fixing everything is all of us. Jon moderated the panel I was on at the European Regional Meeting of the Open Government Partnership in October 2022. His book challenges the Subject Story that we, as subjects, are dependent on a higher authority whom we are duty-bound to obey. He also debunks the Consumer Story in which our role is to be independent consumers, endowed with rights, wants (more than needs) and choices.
The Citizen Story is precisely what Twaweza focuses on. Our motto is Twaweza Ni Mimi, Ni Wewe, Ni Sisi (Twaweza is Me, it is You, it is Us). This Annual Report for 2022 reports on the fourth year of our 2019-23 strategy. It showcases how citizens across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are “looking around to see where they can make change, raising their voices, rolling up their sleeves and making things
Our activities in Mission One, dedicated to demonstrating citizen agency are producing tangible results in two main areas. First, public services are improving in many villages across 10 districts in Uganda and Tanzania as a result of the structured, persistent citizen engagement catalysed by animators.
In Mission Two, the citizens’ voices we have amplified through Sauti za Wananchi, continue to be demonstrably influential in shaping public policy. The most compelling evidence is the government of Tanzania’s decision to reduce the mobile money transactions levy by 40% in response to the robust public discussion that was catalyzed by the first launch of a Sauti brief in four years. The election managers in Kenya, the tax authorities in Uganda and the county government in Makueni (Kenya) have all used Sauti insights to inform their policies and actions in a bid to respond to citizens views, experiences and priorities.
We report encouraging effects of our work in Mission Three of promoting and protecting civic space, focused on Tanzania. First, as a result of our partnership with the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) and others, problematic clauses in the criminal justice legislation were deleted and all amendments to the COSTECH Act that would have muzzled independent researchers were withdrawn.
On the global stage, Twaweza had the privilege of co-chairing the Open Government Partnership (OGP) together with the Government of Italy. Together we initiated a detailed strategic review of the partnership and helped guide the development of the strategy for 2023-2028. We co-hosted two regional meetings in Europe in October, and for Africa and the Middle East, in November, and helped welcome the largest intake of local government members in the partnership’s history.
During the year, we welcomed two new Board members. Professor Mussa Assad and Advocate Thomas Bahame Nyanduga are seasoned financial and legal professionals, who have served in Tanzania’s public service with distinction. They have already made their mark in Twaweza through their penetrating engagement and guidance on our governance.
This report showcases our commitment to citizen empowerment and efforts to create positive change through active engagement and collaboration with various stakeholders. It also highlights the significance of productive citizen-local government engagement, the demand for high-quality local journalism, and the influential role of Sauti za Wananchi in shaping public policy.
Read the full report here.