Tanzania had instituted a number of policies and strategies aimed at reducing poverty in the country.  Despite the efforts, poverty remained rampant, particularly in rural and peri-urban areas.  Poverty in Tanzania is characterized by low income, falling life expectancy, poor social and economic infrastructure and food insecurity. Accordingly, the main development challenge for the government is widespread poverty which as per 2000/01 Household Budget survey, indicated 19% of the population living below the food poverty line while 36% living below the basic needs poverty line.

Enrolments in primary school stands at an average of 100% but secondary school enrolment is still low due to inadequate infrastructure that support a relatively small number of entrants compared to those who finalize primary education.  Further, on the health indicators, (maternal and infant mortality, malaria-related morbidity, and Human Immunodeficiency Virus Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) -related illness), rates remain high in spite of the efforts that have so far been exerted by the government, Development Partners and NGOs.  As such, achieving the MDGs indicators remained a challenge to the government that needed additional resources and efforts to reach them.

It is against this background that the Government sought to implement the Second Phase of Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF II) to all Local Government Authorities to strengthen the gains that had been established under TASAF I, which was implemented in selected 40 districts in Tanzania Mainland and in Unguja and Pemba in Zanzibar and to achieve MDGs indicators as elaborated in the National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (NSGRP) popularly known as MKUKUTA and Zanzibar Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (ZSGRP) popularly known as MKUZA from its Kiswahili acronym

TASAF II Development Objective

The Project Development Objective (PDO) of TASAF II was to empower communities to access opportunities so that they could request, implement, and monitor sub projects that contribute to improve livelihoods linked to MDG indicator targets in the Tanzania Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS).  The target groups to benefit from the designed Project were i) households with limited access to and use of specified service packages; ii) vulnerable individuals that needed assistance; and iii) food insecure households with limited employment opportunities. TASAF II was to be implemented for the period of five years from May, 2005 to June 2010.

During Mid Term Review (MTR) which started in November 2007 and concluded in March 2008 the Government of Tanzania (GOT) and World Bank (WB) agreed to rephrase the PDO in order to align it with the Project focus rather than the Government level without changing its meaning. The Government level objective is broad; the project level objective ought to be at lower level and more focused reflecting project contribution to the Government level objective. Therefore the PDO was rephrased to read, “To improve access of beneficiary households to enhance socioeconomic services and income-generating opportunities”. Even the Additional Financing I and II which came after MTR did not change the PDO since they were implemented within the same framework and hence TASAF II implementation period was extended to June 2013.

Project Appraisal Document (PAD) of 27th October 2004 and Project Operational Manual of 5th October 2005 which was revised in March 2008, and Financing Agreement dated 19th January, 2005 states the PDO of the project. However, Program Paper of 27th May 2009 and Project Paper of 13th May 2010 have a slightly different PDO reflecting the change.

Project Components

National Village Fund (NVF) Component

The NVF Component implemented pursuant to local government act of 1982 whereby decision making was vested upon the local governments at lower and district level (District Councils, Village/Mtaa/Shehia Assemblies). Apart from identification of subprojects which was done by beneficiary communities, the approval of the same was done by the village councils and/or Planning and Finance Committee at district level depending on the threshold of specific subprojects. NVF was in compliance with the government policy on decentralization whereby decision making was vested to local level authorities. Likewise NVF decentralized fiduciary responsibilities to local level authorities by disbursing directly to the lower level of government authorities.  

The NVF Component provided money to a Village level fund, Mfuko wa Kijiji/Shehia/Mtaa (MWK), as the principal input for households to produce outputs that would improve service availability and use, in health, roads, education, water and sanitation, markets etc. as well as incomes for the able-bodied individuals in poor households by working in NVF-financed public works programs, and assistance to households, with  vulnerable individuals which included but not limited to, orphans, disabled, elderly, affected/ infected by HIV/AIDS. Beneficiaries were facilitated to identify priority needs, design interventions, and prepare proposals that NVF financed in the form of subproject grants given to MWK. TASAF II resources for NVF were allocated globally to the LGAs/Unguja and Pemba on the basis of a formula that included population (40%), poverty (40%), and geographical area (20%) for funding subprojects.  An element of equity, 25%, was applied prior to utilizing the allocation formula. Local Government Authorities (LGAs) approved subprojects for funding from the NVF meeting the following conditions: (a) have been generated from communities through an E-PRA process, (b) meet the stipulated minimum community contributions, and (c) are in line with sector norms and standards. Any subprojects outside these criteria were ineligible to receive financing from the NVF.

Capacity Enhancement (CE) Component

The CE component provided resources for community mobilization as well as the monitoring and evaluation of activities financed from the NVF component; the main outputs being the number of subprojects completed in a satisfactory manner. Support was also given to individuals interested in the formation of voluntary savings groups of at least 10 members.

Under the CE component, beneficiaries were agencies (public and private) that supported communities to make the best use of resources made available under the NVF, as well as poor individuals participating in group savings and taking advantage of investment opportunities created by various private-public partnerships.

The CE activities supported the NVF by (a) facilitation of the processes of the NVF; (b) capacity enhancement to LGAs; (c) the promotion of savings by the poor as a way of equipping them with tools to better manage social risks and respond to shocks; and (d) demand driven capacity enhancement to NVF stakeholders.

To facilitate the stakeholders in making contributions to the implementation of interventions through the CSPC, a key aspect of the CE regarding transparency and accountability was implemented. This included raising awareness concerning the rules of access to the NVF, as well as the systems necessary to monitor and evaluate the NVF, and the publication of these findings.

CE component provided awareness sessions at all levels which enabled the public to know what the project was all about, target beneficiaries, principles, procedures, access rules, and governance and accountability aspects. It trigged various communities to express their interest based on their felt development needs which were expressed through Subproject Interest Form (SPIF). It also provided technical skills to key LGA and Ward level staff and Community Management Committees in order to provide required technical assistance to communities implementing subprojects, COMSIP where establishment of savings groups was enhanced. The component facilitated improved participation in decision making, improved governance and accountability aspects.

Project achievements

Achievements that have been attained through implementation of activities for each component are: poor communities accessed quality services that resulted in improving their well-being, which emanated from usage of social services and engagement in economic activities that they could not do before.    In general the benefits acquired from the created assets and various trainings are immense. These included the improved livelihood through mobilized informal and formal mechanisms for responding to shocks, access to socio-economic services, improved learning and health environment and reduced distance to water, health, education and market facilities.

Assessment of outcomes

Relevance of the Project

The project was highly relevant to Tanzania’s National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of poverty (NSGRP) popularly known by its Kiswahili acronym as MKUKUTA. Also the project design took into consideration the country’s local context and in line with existing Government’s policies and strategies.  The project provided benefits to the poor households that under the macro-economic reforms could not get the impact of the economic recovery.

Cost Efficiency

During implementation cost effectiveness was ensured by provision to communities of standard design and specifications drawings, subject menu, standard Operational Bill of Quantities (OBoQs). The Technical Audit Report, (October, 2007), confirmed that the project has created assets of good quality that meets required standards in a cost effective manner.

PWP and VG outcomes

Through Public Works Program, a total of 265,872 (baseline 113,414) beneficiaries (males 141,656 and females 124,216) were provided with temporary employment. These beneficiaries provided a total 15,952,320 (baseline 5,431,992) people’s days of labour. On average each beneficiary earned Tshs 178,750 based on 65 days worked. The PWP operation was delivered at 47% of the total subproject budget accounting for the unskilled wages against a revised target of 50%, this achievement is less by 3 percent from the target established under AF I and II. Yet, compared to the initial target of 40%, the achievement is 7% point above.  The overall 47 percent is as a result of averaging the sub projects initially implemented when the wages for unskilled labour was 40% and those implemented when the wage was increased to 50% after MTR.  

It is obvious that the successful implementation of TASAF II is due to reality as observed that effectiveness of supervision by the communities was generally satisfactorily. The CMCs had demonstrated supervisory strength in cooperation with village leadership (ability to inspire and motivate others, foster trust, establish a non-threatening environment, and promote team work), increased confidence among community members to manage their own projects. Some CMC members were elected in the leadership positions such as Village chairpersons, Councillors simply because they had demonstrated good performance when they were working in the positions of CMCs .Supervision of Service Poor and Public Works Program/Food Insecure subprojects created public assets for improved community access to basic services. Transparency in handling financial matters and procurement of materials and services was enhanced at LGA and community level.