Meet Jane, a member of the Joint Working Group in her community. She is passionate about community development and leadership. She has been involved in different community -led project in her community since she was a teenager. Since then, Jane has been leading and attending community meetings. As part of her passion, she enjoys running discussions about women empowerment and women’s health issues. Today, Jane celebrates her achievements and talks about her experience with Raleigh Tanzania’s SAY project.
In 2009, Jane was elected by her fellow community members to be the chairperson of health facility construction committee. This committee supervised the construction of the health facilities in the community, this was a project funded by the Government of Tanzania. She was able to supervise and engage the community members to take part in the construction. She helped to ensure all the resources provided by the Government were used accordingly.
In 2017, Jane was elected again by the community members to supervise the MKAJI project which is a health project that involved installing water system at the communities’ dispensary Raleigh Tanzania’s SAY project has trained young people to become community monitors to monitor the MKAJI project. Jane, on the other hand been a member of the Joint Working Group, herself and the rest of the team have the role to discuss challenges and find possible solutions after been presented by the community monitors.
Jane worked closely with the community leaders to implement the MKAJI project a project She supported women and encouraged young people to take part during the construction. She successfully ensured that community members understand the importance of the project and how they can maintain it.
We spoke to Jane about her role as a member of the Joint Working Groups – collaborative forums comprised of community leadership, implementing agencies and local and regional government authorities – and how she is supporting other young people, especially fellow women in leadership, to ensure that they can become active citizens. Jane said that,
‘’I attend Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting when I am called by leaders. For me, this is where we speak freely about what matters in our community. The JWG has a diverse representation and it feels good to have young people whom we support them with ideas and encourage them to speak and argue about anything. For example, few weeks we had discussions about conducting awareness sessions at the dispensary about proper use of the toilets. We suggested that the youths can take a lead and make sure it is done, this is a good opportunity for them to learn and get experience. As I am getting older now, it is time to let young people work for the community whilst we support them.’’
What excites you to volunteer for your community?
I’m part of the Joint Working Group to make sure that this project remains sustainable and satisfies community’s’ needs. It is my passion. I feel motivated when I see changes. It is something I have always wanted my entire life. I feel excited when I stand for people’s rights. I need to be an example of a women who can be whoever I want to be. I started working for my community since we did not have enough water in our health facilities. There was a time in my village when women could carry their own bucket of water into the labour room for maternity. It was always a scary moment, a life and death situation. but thanks to the Government and MKAJI project for bringing this project in our community.
How often to you meet as members of the Joint Working Group in your community?
We meet twice a month but sometimes we meet when there is an urgent challenge that needs to be resolved. In the last few months, we had meetings about our water tank and the water taps which were broken. Community monitors identified the problems after noticing that the water tank was leaking and taps were not working and therefore, they needed replacement. We discussed as a group and decided to use our operations and maintenance fund from our health committee savings which is the money collected from the patients as a dispensary charge. We hired our local fundi [builder] to help with the fixing of the pipes. Before the introduction of SAY project it was hard to resolve challenges like this, we had to wait for the community leaders to act but now we as members of the community are working together with our leaders, it is a collaborative way of dealing with challenges.
Mima community has a fixed rate of 56% where 9 problems were identified and 5 of those problems at MKAJI project were resolved through the Joint Working Group. Jane, like the rest of the members of the Joint Working Group have played a big role to ensure that challenges are considered and everyone in the community can share their ideas with transparency and integrity. Having a JWG in a community has proved to be an effective mechanism of discussing issues and resolve them. MKAJI project which is been monitored by SAY’s community monitor has helped members get enough water for patients and women attending maternity/ labour.
The community monitors who live in the same community will continue monitoring the project and the JWG will be resolving challenges when identified. To make sure that this accountability mechanism remains sustainable, Mima community have planned to officialise the JWG to be recognized by district office as a monitoring team, this means that the group will be in charge of monitoring all projects including Government -owned projects.
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The SAY project is delivered by Raleigh Tanzania in partnership with Integrity Action and is funded by a four-year grant from UK Aid Direct. Do you want to learn more about Social Accountability and CIB approach? Do you want to be involved in project monitoring and establishing a Joint Working Group? Please download a free toolkit from Raleigh Tanzania