TASAF and its critical role in fighting poverty

“THE poverty problem, especially on basic needs/ income and food, is among main challenges facing many countries in the world, but mostly in our African continent,” said President John Magufuli when launching the second part of the third phase of Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN) programme, in Dar es Salaam on Monday this week.

He said that according to the World Bank, in 2015, nearly 736 million people in the world were living in extreme poverty wherein their incomes or expenditure were under the line of poverty, meaning below USD 1.90.

What saddens more is the fact that over half of all poor, about 55 percent worldwide are living in African continent wherein in the year of 2015, their population was 4 13 million, said the President, adding that: This means that in every three people living in the African continent, one is poor.

And according to the World Bank, once deliberate efforts not immediately taken, 90 percent of all the poor will be in African continent by 2030.

“Tanzania is among countries facing poverty. It should be remembered that soon after Tanzania attained its independency, Father of the Nation, the Late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere mentioned poverty as among the main three enemies of our country. Others are ignorance and diseases,” he said.

And since then, the President added, all leadership phases of the nation have been developing approaches and implementing policies, plans, strategies and various programmes to fight poverty. With all those efforts, the poverty situation in Tanzanian has been decreasing.

According to the office of National Bureau of Statistics, the poverty rate for basic needs in the country has decreased from 39.0 in 1990/ 91 to 26.4 percent in 2017/ 18. The food poverty has also decreased from 18.9 percent in 2000/ 2001 to 9.5 percent in 2017/ 18.

These statistics are proven by World Bank researchers’ report, which had released in September 2019, cited Tanzania as fastest-growing anti-poverty nation in subSaharan countries. Among the anti-poverty strategies that have been approached by the Tanzanian government include PSSN, which has been implemented by Tanzanian Social Action Fund (TASAF) since the year 2000.

The main target is to empowering poor households to increase their income and have access to all social services such as food, education and health, among others. The programme is also aimed at enabling beneficiaries to have capital, markets as well as work and employment skills, on top of empowering savings groups to have access to financial institutions’ services.

PSSN programme has lots of successes as in the first phase (from 2000 to 2005) about 72bn/ -had spent for 1,704 development projects in 4 0 councils of Tanzania Main Land and 10 Districts in Zanzibar, said the President, explaining further that: The second phase (2005 to 2013) was in 126 councils of Tanzania Main land and 10 districts in Zanzibar wherein 4 30billion was spent for 12,34 7 projects.

About 1.575 tr/ -had spent in the first part of the third phase (2013 to 2019) and benefited 1.1 million poor households.

TASAF had implemented about 8,928 development projects in 159 councils of Tanzania Main Land 11 districts in Zanzibar for education, health, water, environmental protection and trees planting as well as road improvements, agriculture and irrigation sectors, President Magufuli told the launching event participants.

The projects made possible the availability of rural roads with 4 ,4 12 kilometers length, 100 classrooms, 84 teachers’ homes, 22 school hostels, 373 latrine pits, 2,4 98 class-desks, 24 health centers as well as 19 houses for health service providers.

Irrigation drainages with 66,253 meters and water ponds with 34 cubic meters for human consumption and environmental preservation also made available in this third phase. Trees were planted on over 51,000 acres of land and 22,303 savings and investment groups with about 311,114 members were formed in 54 Councils of Tanzanian Mani Land and Zanzibar (Unguja and Pemba).

The Groups managed to accumulate about 2.5 billion/ -while savings and investments activities are still on progress.

“TASAF Executive Director has said that in the first term of the third phase, 253,117 households have participated in the projects, hence, benefiting with shortterm employments. Similarly, 1,805,613 and 4 4 8,4 09 primary and secondary school pupils, respectively, had enrolled. I’m happy to hear that last year, 227 TASAF beneficiary students have joined various higher leaning institutions,” said President Magufuli.

TASAF Executive Director, Mr Ladislaus Mwamanga presented that despite numerous successes recorded in the first part of third phase, the proramme has been facing various challenges, including presence of non-qualified beneficiary households on the list.

The government ordered for verification exercise wherein application of tablets technology had put in to place and succeeded to identify a good number of nonqualified beneficiaries. Tablets technology pilot project was conducted in some councils of Mtwara rural, including Nanyamba and Siha where it showed a remarkable success, according to the Executive Director.

“We want to assure that, in order to control all the emerged weaknesses, TASAF will closely supervise all procedures and will conduct trainings on Tablets technology application in all benefiting councils. We have also piloted on cash transferring to beneficiaries by using this new technology in 16 councils. The exercise has succeeded and we now ready to apply it to all TASAF beneficiaries country-wide,” he said.


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