How TASAF fights poverty in poor household

DODOMA, the capital city of Tanzania this week caught the public attention with the Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF) activities running a Public Service Week exhibition at Chinangali Park Ground with the sole aim of eliminating poverty right into the grassroots.

Established in 2000 as part of the government’s strategy to reduce poverty TASAF’s journey has been fighting poverty in phases, where in the first one (2000–2005) focused on improving social service delivery; capacity enhancement for communities, including overseeing 1,704 community- run sub-projects such as construction and rehabilitation of health care facilities, schools and other small-scale infra- structure; and a Public Works Program (PWP) component with 113,646 direct beneficiaries.

The second Phase (2005– 2013) expanded the first stage commitments to address a shortage of social services, capacity enhancement (including 12,347 community sub-projects) and income poverty, including a pilot of community-based conditional cash transfers (CCT) reaching 11,576 households in communities that were strengthened during the first phase.

The third phase of TASAF, the PSSN, supported the national social protection programme aimed at putting in place the building blocks of a permanent national social safety system.

Key elements of this Project were the CCT programme complemented with public works and liveli- hoods enhancement.

The programme provided cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households in Tanzania conditional on their use of health and education services along with opportunities to earn additional income through public works and livelihood.

The objectives of the PSSN included: 1) increase consumption of the extremely poor on a permanent basis, 2) smooth consumption during lean seasons and shocks, 3) invest in human capital, 4) strengthen links with income generating activities, and 5) increase access to improved social services.

MINISTER of State (President’s Office) Public Service Management and Good Governance George Simbachawene signs visitors’ book at the TASAF
booth during the Public Service Week exhibitions at Chinganali Park in Dodoma, yesterday.

It aims to improve consumption and human capital accumulation and to reduce the poverty headcount and poverty gap by 5 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively.

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In 2015, TASAF successfully implemented a massive scale-up of the PSSN from 250,000 households to 1.1 million households (10.5 per cent of the population) in Tanzania.

With that background, it was hats off this week in Dodoma, when the Minister of State (President’s Office) Public Service Management and Good Governance George Simbachawene visited TASAF’s booth with an assurance to the public (read the targeted people) that the government is with them in the poverty elimi- nation amongst them.

During the Public Service Week themed: “Empowering Public Servants  an Inclusive and Prosperous 21st Century Africa: A Journey of Learning and Technological Change,” Director of Knowledge Management and Advocacy at Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF) , Japhet Boaz explained how they have been meeting their beneficiaries, who are the poor households and who cannot afford basic needs.

Here, TASAF usually identifies them through Village General Meetings and in the streets in urban areas, and thereafter assess their living conditions in terms of the energy they use, types of houses they have, land ownership, size of the family and livestock owned among others.

These figures are processed in a special App by using Proxy Means Testing (PMT) and that also determines a household’s eligibility to benefit from basic cash transfer.

He added: “We call the programme Conditional Cash Transfer because there are conditions for additional cash if a child attends school and clinic.

Our beneficiaries get training in Community Sessions done during subsidy payment.

These trainings aim at empowering them with different skills such as business, savings and agriculture among others…we connect them with extension services, help them form saving groups.”

Currently targeting 1.3 million people in its drive, TASAF has become a household name in Tanzania in supporting communities to increase income and opportunities while improving consumption and eliminating poverty amongst them.

For instance in aiding them in their efforts to overcome poverty, it has testimonies of the beneficiaries from Kondoa, Bahi, Manyoni, and Itigi on how they are engaged in local income-generating activities, especially by making local products like baskets to sell.

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