TANZANIANS marked the 57th Anniversary of the Union between Zanzibar and Tanganyika on Monday without the feasts, political speeches, military parades, and dancing that colour the day.
Still mourning after the death of former president John Magufuli last month, the people of Tanzania Mainland and Tanzania Zanzibar chose little fanfare to mark the day of the Union that remains one of most cherished national values. It was another day for reflections on the challenges and efforts to address them as well as achievements made so far in strengthening the Union, arguably, one of only few surviving political experiments in the world.
In celebrating this year’s union many people, particularly the poor have reflected on how the Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF) being implemented in the whole country has helped them. As one of major programmes under the union government, TASAF has helped to change the lives of thousands of people like Yussuf Kombo and his wife Maryam.
“We’re grateful to the government for bringing us a programme which is supporting us economically, says Kombo about TASAF. Whether it is by design or default this year’s Anniversary coincided with the launch of the second-phase of the Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN) of the third round of Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF III) project in all districts of Zanzibar and Tanzania Mainland with district and regional councils’ leaders’ officiating the launching events.
“After admirable success in TASAF I and TASAF II, we should have no doubt that the second phase of the TASAF III will leave no poor family behind,” said the District Commissioner for Unguja North, Sadifa Juma Khamis during the launch of the programme in his district.
He said infrastructure services in the health, education and water and subsidies for households living in poor conditions would further improve in the second phase.
“We must be careful not to register households that do not qualify. There will be no room for cheating. We are serious on this,” said the DC said before the launch of the programme which included five-Day training for officers implementing the programme in all districts.
Similar launching events of the ‘second phase of the TASAF III’-2020/2023 programme’ were also held in other districts of Unguja and Pemba. Ms Nuru Mkomambo, one of the TASAF programme facilitators, said that implementation of PSSN II would cover poor households in 185 districts in mainland and all eleven districts of Zanzibar.
“In the previous phase covered 70 percent of villages, the current phase will incorporate the remaining 30 percent.” She said that the focus will also include providing poor households with prerequisite entrepreneurship skills and income-earning opportunities to enable them establish smallscale income earning projects for poverty alleviation.
In TASAF I and II, the implementation of the programme in Zanzibar recorded remarkable success and demonstrated to be the most innovative way of reaching and assisting the poor. According to the assessment by the Second Vice President’s office, which is responsible for TASAF programme, the programme has transformed the lives of a large number of poor households in the Isles.
Recently the Second Vice President Hemed Suleiman Abdalla said he was very impressed with the level of achievements recorded in implementing anti-poverty programs under TASAF, saying the projects are unifying people.
Mr Abdalla made comments after visiting several TASAF projects in the Unguja South region, where he said that it has been a ‘bridge’ strengthening the union between Zanzibar and mainland and also unites people regardless of their geographical, religious and political differences.
The second Vice President visited ‘tree planting and vegetables growing’ at Kitogani; garden learning centre at Kizimbani; fishing keeping and irrigation farm at Mtende villages, impressing him. “People are working on their projects without any racial or political discrimination,” said Mr Abdalla.
He said that the outcomes of the projects have moved Zanzibar in a better position in an antipoverty campaign supported by the World Bank which aims at improving the lives of the most vulnerable and poor people in the country and in developing countries.
“Learning from the testimonies of the beneficiaries and the work on the ground, we should be proud of the success of these projects,” he said. Prior to visiting the TASAF project, Mr Abdalla met and commended the TASAF programme staff in Unguja, saying it had changed the lives of thousands of people in rural areas particularly in Pemba Island where previously people lived in abject poverty.
Mr Makame Ali Haji, TASAF Coordinator in Zanzibar said the programme has been going on well with verification of the 34,962 intended Households registered to benefit and that the exercise will complete by end next month (January 2021). He said that members of the poor households who missed to be included in the past phases of TASAF poverty reduction program should hope to have the chance following the launch the TASAF III.
The success has impelled extension of the program so that all the remaining villages are covered, The TASAF III programme is to enable poor households generate income to improve their lives. The economic activities depend on needs of the community, including building infrastructure.
The World Bank is one of the development partners in the implementation of TASAF III which is a poverty alleviation project carried out through the Community Based Conditional Cash Transfer (CB-CCT). How TASAF strengthens