Critical review of Twaweza | Tanzania Report

For the purposes of self-reflection and evaluation of its impact on governance and change in Tanzania, Twaweza in Tanzania commissioned an independent consultant to collect views from ‘critical friends’ of the organisation – those who know Twaweza’s work and are willing to provide honest and thoughtful feedback on areas of strength and weakness. This report presents a synthesis of those views.

The analysis in the report goes beyond stakeholder interviews. It triangulates the feedback from the interviewees with a qualitative assessment of media presentation and other factors such as social media responses from and about Twaweza. The report is thus a critical evaluation of the public perception of Twaweza in Tanzania. Based on the questions that were asked to stakeholders, the report also outlines recommendations for the organization as suggested by the interviewees.  It is important to mention that a number of interviewees held very similar views about Twaweza.

The analysis in this study is informed by interviews carried out with stakeholders, and analysis of public reaction to Twaweza’s activities through exploration of traditional and social media.  Eleven interviewees from different stakeholder institutions including government, civil society, academia/research, and media were reached.   The interviews were semi-structured, meaning that the interviewer had the opportunity to probe and capture sentiments (non-verbal) that accompanied answers (verbal). 

In terms of media representation, the analysis considers the number of pieces of coverage from various outlets as well as basic analysis of social media reactions in terms of followers, likes, and responses. The media analysis helps to highlight public perceptions of the organization. To provide further insight, the analysis also examines Twaweza’s website and the information shared on it.

The scope of this report is to collect constructive views from friends of Twaweza in Tanzania. The basic analysis of media and Twaweza’s website complements this core purpose but a more systematic study of public perceptions could be considered in the future. 

1. Areas of Strength 

There is a general view that Twaweza is a powerful organization in terms of leadership, human resources and funds. Interviewees acknowledged the strong leadership that Twaweza has enjoyed from its formation to the current period.  The combination of strong leadership and skilled human resources has made the organization professional. The interviewees emphasised that Twaweza is professional in how it does it work and conducts itself. 

2. Impact on Policy 

Twaweza has three major projects: Sauti za Wananchi (opinion polls on various issues), Uwezo (citizen-led learning assessment), and KiuFunza (teacher incentive program). According to the interviewees, Sauti za Wananchi, out of the three programs, is the most well-known. The interviewees argued that if Twaweza is a household name, it is due to Sauti za Wananchi. This popularity is in particular related to polls on politics that Twaweza conducts including political opinion polls, corruption, and incumbency popularity.

“If Twaweza is a household name, it’s because of Sauti za Wananchi.” – Interviewee, Government. 

3. Areas of Attention

The impact of Twaweza and positive perceptions among the public, government, and other stakeholders can be consolidated further to ensure achievement of its mission and the change the organization wishes to see.  There are areas that were mentioned by the interviewees that need further attention if Twaweza is to strengthen its position. 

It was felt by some interviewees that Twaweza is almost an elitist organization and it has not trickled down to the normal Tanzanian citizen in the rural areas. Interviewees felt that the organization carries out high profile programs but only educated classes in society can relate to /understand the language of Twaweza. The question was asked, how is Twaweza influencing a Tanzanian citizen in a rural setting outside Dar-es-Salaam?  Some interviewees felt that the organization is detached from daily realities of normal wananchi.

The overall feedback on Twaweza is positive. The organization is considered to be one of the most reliable and powerful CSOs in the country. It is professional and the impact of its work in creating evidence-based conversations around governance is recognized. The interviewees also provided recommendations through which they think Twaweza can consolidate the gains and the impact it has had so far. In addition, the interviewees think the organization has a great future and potential. 

Read the full report here for more details.



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