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Tech for governance programmes in Tanzania – (how) can tech be used to promote good governance in the Magufuli era?

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posted on 2017-11-16, 14:09 authored by Pieternella M. Pieterse
This report presents a synthesis of the learning from interventions in Tanzania supported by grants from Making All Voices Count, a programme which supported innovations and technologies that have the potential to transform governance, and did research about what works in accountable governance, and why. Tanzania is a country with a relatively low number of smartphone owners and Internet users, making it a challenge to design technology for governance programmes that can exploit the benefits that technology offers (such as facilitating multi-user discussions via free smartphone apps or the ease of rapid data collection and analysis). Making All Voices Count grantees had to rely heavily on their ability to combine technology-based approaches with offline strategies to achieve the results they aimed for. Making All Voices Count grantees in Tanzania started implementing their programmes around the time President Magufuli was elected into office. His approach to leading the country, with a strong focus on reducing corruption and curbing wasteful spending, provided a completely new and rapidly changing operational context. Grantees found themselves in a situation where their anticorruption and good governance goals were congruent with those of the highest authority. However, grantees also experienced a contraction of the space in which they could operate, due to the potential threat of violating the Cybercrimes Act (2015) and the Statistics Act (2013). The Making All Voices Count grantees were small in number and hugely diverse in their approaches, and it is therefore difficult to conclude which intervention was most successful or most suitable to scaling up in future. Tanzania’s Making All Voices Count grantees invested heavily in relationship building, which was predominantly an offline approach. Those who were able to build on existing relationships with government were able to transform these with the introduction of a technology-based product or data gathering methodology. Most grantees were able to help citizens to build stronger relationships with locallevel government and vice versa. Several grantees cleverly exploited the lure of technology, or the visibility of their technology platform, which attracted elected representatives and government employees who were eager to be associated with what is still perceived as new and modern ways of communicating with the electorate.



The Institute of Development Studies 2017



Other Funding information

Omidyar Network, SIDA, UK Government, USAID



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