Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The role of Knowledge in Poverty Reduction

1.0 Introduction
This paper is on the role of knowledge in poverty reduction. This paper will show that knowledge contributes to poverty reduction but Tanzania has not tapped full its own knowledge for development of its people. Tanzania is blessed with a lot of natural resources including minerals, water, forests, land and wildlife. Yet the country is among the poorest in the world. Some people question why is Tanzania poor with so much natural rsources and the answer they get is that, Tanzania lacks knowledge and technoloy to exploit its resources.

2.0 Theoretical Literature Review
Knowledge is defined variously as (i) facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education (formal or informal); the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject, (ii) what is known in a particular field or in total; facts and information or (iii) awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation. Philosophical debates in general start with Plato's formulation of knowledge as "justified true belief". Moreover, different religions also have different meanings of knowledge mainly depending on their beliefs. The term knowledge is also used to mean the confident understanding of a subject with the ability to use it for a specific purpose. There is however no single agreed definition of knowledge presently, nor any prospect of one, and there remains numerous competing theories. The definition of knowledge is a matter of on-going debate among philosophers.
Knowledge acquisition involves complex cognitive processes: perception, learning, communication, association and reasoning. Acquiring knowlede, needs investment in the field of knowledge.
There are two kinds of knowledge. One is explicit knowledge, which can be expressed in words and numbers and shared in the form of data, scientific formulae, product specifications, manuals, universal principles, and so forth. This kind of knowledge can be readily transmitted across individuals formally and systematically. This has been the dominant form of knowledge in the West. The Japanese, however, see this form as just the tip of the iceberg. They view knowledge as being primarily tacit, something not easily visible and expressible.
Tacit knowledge is highly personal and hard to formalize, making it difficult to communicate or share with others. Subjective insights, intuitions and hunches fall into this category of knowledge. Furthermore, tacit knowledge is deeply rooted in an individual's action and experience, as well as in the ideals, values or emotions he or she embraces.
To be precise, there are two dimensions to tacit knowledge. The first is the "technical" dimension, which encompasses the kind of informal and hard-to-pin-down skills or crafts often captured in the term "know-how". Master craftsmen, for example, develop a wealth of expertise at their fingertips, after years of experience. But they often have difficulty articulating the technical or scientific principles behind what they know. Highly subjective and personal insights, intuitions, hunches and inspirations derived from bodily experience fall into this dimension. Tacit knowledge also contains an important cognitive" dimension. It consists of beliefs, perceptions, ideals, values, emotions and mental models so ingrained in us that we take them for granted. Though they cannot be articulated very easily, this dimension of tacit knowledge shapes the way we perceive the world around us.
Knowledge management is a management theory which emerged in the 1990s. It seeks to understand the way in which knowledge is created, used and shared within institutions. The objective of mainstreaming knowledge management is to ensure that the right information is delivered to the right person just in time, in order to take the most appropriate decision. In that sense, knowledge management is not interested in managing knowledge per se, but to relate knowledge and its usage. This leads to Organizational Memory Systems.

3.0 Empirical Review
Every Tanzanian child of primary school going age (six years) has an equal opportunity to go to school. The country has a secondary school in almost every ward and the target is for each ward to have its own secondary school. Moreover, there are vocation training centers in each zone. On top of that by December 2007, the country had around 30 universities and university colleges. These are among the strategies for generating knowledge in the country.
However, exposing people to education and various trainings alone is not enough to have a significant input in poverty reduction efforts in the country. Knowledgeable Tanzanians have to be recognized and used effectively for the development of the country. The country must have a focus when it trains its people otherwise, a lot of resources will be used in training people but the outcome will not be seen. For instance, some veterinary and human doctors graduate in Tanzania and go to work in other countries where they are paid better and hence contribute to the development of those countries.
In 2006 there was a drought in Tanzania that resulted to electricity rationing in the country as the country depends mainly on hydroelectricity. In responding to the situation, a government institution CAMATEC based in Arusha claimed to have the knowledge of using daily domestic wastes collected in Dar es Salaam city to generate electricity. Unfortunately, the top leadership was not interested instead it was in a process of importing expertise from Thailand to make rain that could fill Mtera Dam to the level that could allow it go on producing electricity. Thanks God it rained before the deal was concluded. All in all this shows how our leaders value foreign knowledge than the local one and this discourages the creativity of Tanzanian professionals.
Sokoine University of Agriculture has been producing graduates in agricultural sector since 1984 but these graduates are not used effectively. With all these graduates and others from lower level (Certificate and Diploma) agricultural institutions only 34% of farmers access extension services and 18% only access improved seeds while 98% of cows are of indigenous species. All these exist in the presence of Agricultural Research Institution (ARI) in every zone in Tanzania. This shows how the generated knowledge is not used for improving the livelihoods of Tanzanians.
When you do not value yourself, outsiders will also not value you. This is what is happening with gold mining in Tanzania where the top mine engineers in different mines are outsiders who are said to be knowledgeable than Tanzanians in the field of mining. But the University of Dar es Salaam has been producing graduates in the field of mining for years. One can ask, is the university delivering the wrong knowledge?
The creation of knowledge needs focus and once it is created, it has to be effectively managed, valued and monitored. However, knowledge creation needs investment and has to be equally accessible to both men and women for equitable and sustainable development.

4. Policy Review
One of the goals in the Tanzania’s National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty is Ensuring equitable access to quality primary and secondary education for boys and girls, universal literacy among men and women and expansion of higher, technical and vocational education. This is aimed at equipping Tanzanians with important knowledge for the development of the country.
The Education and Training Policy 1995 among others aims for development of integrative personalities; promotion of the acquisition and appreciation of national culture and of the constitution; promotion of society-centered learning and the use of acquired skills and knowledge for the improvement of the quality of life; development of self-confidence, inquiring mind, and development oriented mindset; giving adaptive and flexible education that meets the challenges of an ever changing world.
Amongst the sixteen (16) objectives of The National Science and Technology Policy for Tanzania include: promotion of science and technology as tools for economic development; promotion of scientific and technological self-reliance; stimulation of the generation of scientific and technological knowledge; Institutionalizations of mechanisms for identification, promotion, and development of special talents and aptitudes for science and technology; and promotion of women participation in science and technology and creating appropriate technologies for lessening the burden of house chores and drudgery of life. On the other hand the Higher Education Policy 1999 has put major thrusts on: dramatic expansion of enrolments; correcting the gender imbalances in enrolments; improving female participation rates in science, mathematics and technology; improving the funding of higher education, and R&D in particular; being responsive to market demands in the training enterprise; increase autonomy of institutions of higher learning; improved co-ordination and rationalization of programmes and sizes, and promotion of co-operation among institutions of higher learning.
These policies are aimed at creating domestic knowledge for improving the livelihoods of Tanzanians ultimately poverty reduction.

5.0 Conclusion
Knowing ‘what’ and knowing ‘how’ (knowledge) is one of the essentials in poverty reduction espacially when the knowledge is within the country/community of concern. Borrowing knowledge is not as good as own knowledge in poverty reduction. Effective exploitation of resources is an important element in poverty reduction but without knowledge, resources cannot be exploited.
Therefore, Tanzania needs to create and manage its knowledge for poverty reduction. More emphasis should be placed on the use of local knowledge to contribute in economic growth for poverty reduction. Moreover, knowledge production has to be demand driven and this is possible if participatory approaches are applied in adentifying knowledge gaps.

Knowledge,, Accessed 9th October 2007
The relationship between the education sector reforms and other national policies,, Accessed February 2008
The United Republic of Tanzania (2005). National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty, popular version, Dar es Salaam.
Types of knowledge,, accessed 9th October 2007

Social Change as a Solution to Poverty Reduction

1.0. Introduction
Social change is an extended process that involves various activities in the development struggle. This paper briefly discusses What Social Change is all about and How Social Change is a Solution to Poverty Reduction in Tanzania. The paper consists of five parties, which are Introduction, Theoretical review, Empirical review, Policy review and Conclusion and References.

2.0. Theoretical Review
The term social change is used in the study of history, economies and politics. It includes topics such as the success or failure of different political systems, globalization, democratization, development and economic growth. The term can encompass concepts as broad as revolution and paradigm shift, to narrow changes such as a particular cause within small town government. While the term is usually applied to changes that are beneficial to society, it may also result in negative side effects or consequences that undermine or eliminate existing ways of life that are considered positive.

Social change refers to change in the nature, the social institutions, the social behaviors or the social relations of a society, community of people, or other social structures. Any event or action that affects a group of individuals that have shared values or characteristics.

Marx is the most famous proponent of the notion that societies/ forms of social organization are largely determined by economic factors, and in particular the impact of industrial capitalism. Among political influences, the state government plays a very large role in social life and change in industrial societies. Cultural influences clearly play an important part in social change. For example, secularization and the development of science have had major effects on the way in which we think, attitudes to legitimacy and authority, and thus influenced social structures, systems and values (Giddens and Duneier, 2000).

Marx argued that factors in societal change may be explained under three main categories namely Economic, Political and Cultural, and if those are the key factors in societal change, there is a need therefore to focus on changing economic, political or cultural structures and processes.

Theories of organizational change
Classical and early modernist theorists are more concerned with stability than change. They see change as planned change in which a change agent introduced change in a deliberate way. In contrast, for the modernists organizational change stems from change in the environment and is outside the organization’s direct control. More recently, population ecology, organizational life cycle and learning theories have seen organizations as not just adapting to external pressures but creating their own internal dynamics.

Theories of Individual and Group Change
The themes of organizational change have parallels in theories of individual and group change. According to Backer (2001), behavior is more likely to change if the person forms a strong positive intention, or makes a commitment to perform the behavior; there are no environmental constraints that make it impossible for the behavior to occur, the person possess the skills necessary to perform the behavior. Change at this level might work to reduce environmental constraints on changing particular behavior.

Theories of Social Movements
The role of individuals, groups and organizing is important in effecting social change. Group can attempt to encourage or discourage social change via social movements. Social movements occur as a result of the contradiction or unresolvable tension in the societies in particular related to economic changes.

3.0. Empirical Review
Tanzania is a developing country; changes are inevitable within the country. Development requires positive change not just growth. Change and development is inspires by the quest for quality life. It is believed that all people would want to be satisfied with their whole life experience.

Most Tanzanians societies comprised with outdated traditions, culture and low economic base. All those together with politics we have today hinder changes to occur in societies. Change in social change are purposeful intended not accidental, therefore strategies need to be planned to necessitate change. Tanzania experience shows that all government sectors need a policy to guide implementation of activities to bring changes. These policies normally have to look on critical problems wants to address for the betterment of its people, but there poor involvement of societal members (who know exactly their felt need) in policy formulation process. It is even surprising to see some government development plans not implemented (as nowadays there is a tendency of political promises that has never been met).
Our leadership structure is questionable, no good governance, no transparency from ward to national level, as today’s leaders are selfish are not for creating changes that is beneficial to their voters, are just there for their own benefits. Leadership and politics is now like a business deal, people want to be there to make their personal profit.

The existing opportunities, skills and knowledge the country holds today not fully utilized, even equally and efficiently shared. In social change, knowledge if well utilized can discover the causes of a problem by researching and come up with innovative actions to solve such a problem. However, what we observe currently is lack of proper coordination to use the available human capacity to bring changes. Tanzania still suffers the consequences of poverty. When looking at the Millennium Development Goals 2015, those stated goals intends to create social change, Non government organization however work to bring about social change, the change that are beneficial to society, though other changes may result in negative side-effects or consequences that undermine or eliminate existing ways of life that are considered positive.

Social change does not come from isolation, there must be something done to solve an existing problem be it water, health, hunger, unemployment problems etc, it need to take some actions to make something of good/positive happen. To facilitate social change some agents of social change need to be adhered. These are education/knowledge, which is vital in researching and identifying the root causes of certain existing problems. and come up with innovative ideas to solutions. Financial institution like Banks, Pride, Seda, Finka and other Banks and Cooperative institutions to be used to finance the actions in solving identified problems, Good leadership at all levels i.e good governance and transparency can create enabling environment for social change. Experts to do some technical actions if needed should be taken into consideration and foreign agency to support the actions and innovation.

4.0. Policy Review
According to “The Tanzania’s National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of poverty”, Tanzania is in the process of helping citizen to achieve economic growth which will help to reduce poverty. The aim is to create good governance and accountability, which will create growth and reduction of income poverty, create improved quality of life and social well-being. Therefore, Social change measures the concerns of poverty, if poverty reduced or eradicated in communities means social changes has taken place. All the strategies for poverty reduction aim at creating social change.

5.0. Conclusion
Most of our communities in Tanzania are very poor, have confronted with many social problems such as environment, economic, political and cultural issues. All these contribute much to not reaching the desired development. Since Social Change is a process that needs various stakeholders’ participation, there is a need therefore to focus solving the above-mentioned problems seriously as the NSGRP aimed. This will help making positive social changes in the country.

The impact of our policies and actions to create social change (reduce poverty) would be improved by enhancing our responsiveness to the voices of the poor and marginalized, including the voice of women who tend to be the poorest and vulnerable group.


1. Ministry of Planning, economy and empowerment (2006) Millennium Development Goals progrss report.

2. Social change; "

3. Theories of Social Change, paper 4 Diana Leat January 2005. The INSP.
4. United Republic of Tanzania, (2005). National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty, Mkuki na Nyota Publishers Dar es Salaam

Community Organizing

1.0. Introduction
This paper is on Community Organizing. Organizing is people working together to get things done. The paper therefore presents the discussion on the importance of community organizing in Development perspectives. It comprises the introduction, theoretical review, empirical review, policy review, conclusion parties and references.

2.0. Theoretical Review
Community organization is that process by which people organize themselves to 'take charge' of their situation and thus develop a sense of being a community together. It is a particularly effective tool for the poor and powerless as they determine for themselves the actions they will take to deal with the essential forces that are destroying their community and consequently causing them to be powerless. Reverend Robert Linthicum, World Vision International

Community Organizing is a values-based process by which people - most often low- and moderate-income people previously absent from decision-making tables - come together in organizations to jointly act in the interest of their "communities" and the common good. Ideally, in the participatory process of working for needed changes, people involved in Community Organizing organizations/groups learn how to take greater responsibility for the future of their communities, gain in mutual respect and achieve growth as individuals. Community organizers identify and attract the people to be involved in the organizations, and develop the leadership from and relationships among the people that make the organizations effective.

Power is the purpose of community organizing, and the issues, problems, strategies and victories are means to the end of increased power for the organization and the community. Dave Bechwith and Randy Stoeker.

The empowerment process at the heart of community organizing promotes participation of people, organizations and communities toward the goals of increased individual and community control, political efficacy, improved quality of community life and social justice. Nina Wallerstein, American Journal of Health promotion.

Community organizing is one of many strategies for revitalizing disadvantaged neighborhoods and communities and for pursuing social change on a broader basis. But community organizing is the only strategy that invests all of its resources and energy to build the power of the people themselves, low income residents, people directly imparted by the issues being addressed to work effectively for community change. Over the decades, community organizing has increased its sophistication and networking for greater impact and wider results. Today’s community organizing field encompasses varied philosophies, approaches, organizational arrangements, actors, priorities, issues and constituencies. Community organizing has taken root in both urban and rural settings. It enabled ordinary people to work for effectively together for change, often with significant impact at the block, neighborhood, community, city, country, regional and at times, state and national levels. Various racial and ethnic groups, other disadvantaged or disenfranchised groups use of community organizing to fight for fairness and equity.

The central ingredient of all effective community organization in the view of many involved in the field what they believe distinguishes community organizing most clearly from all other social change strategies is building power. Community organizing builds power and works for change most often to achieve social justice with and for those who are disadvantaged in society. The authors, Seth Borgos and Scott Douglas, stressed that “the fundamental source of cohesion of every strong community organizing group is the conviction that it offers its members a unique vehicle for exercising and developing their capacities as citizens. They also noted that, the most common usage of the term community organizing refers to organizations that are democratic in governance, open and accessible to community members, and concerned with the general health of the community rather than a specific interest or service function.

3.0. Empirical Review
Recently, many development agencies and non-governmental organizations in Tanzania have been promoting formation of community organizations in order to strengthen the collective self-help among them. It recognized that there is a need to strengthen the approach of community organizing with the aim of promoting their interests at various community needs.

Community organization is now gaining its important following decentralization of power and withdrawal of government services provision. Community organization and other community associations are now taking over the role of trade unions and co-operative movements in supporting rural communities to govern their own livelihoods socially, culturally and economically.

Community economic development is an approach that focuses and wants to work with the organized community. Community economic development represents a new way of doing things that promotes and builds community self-reliance and control, inclusion and broad participation, and deliberately attempts to involve those who are marginalized by social and political policy. CED also is an evolving, on-going process based on equity, participation, community building, cooperation and collaboration. So community organizing is vital in the development process.

In Tanzania, after the failure of market – based agrarian reforms to improve farm productivity, it is widely felt that the missing link is “Organizational” due to lack of accountable and strong local organizations to support gain access to resources and markets and make their voices heard at policymaking level. Therefore, in order to have beneficial social change and sustainable development, the communities need to organize themselves and plan what they need to do in solving a certain problem. By organizing the community it gives an opportunity for them to scrutinize actual problems need to be solved, plans ways of solving the problems, identifying resources available, take actions in the process of implementation, and together evaluate their work. This assures and builds the basis for ensuring strong participation in the development process. As organizing means putting people work together to get things done, by organizing also increases the morality of doing more work with highly commitment, and the people organized will be ready to sustain the results obtained.
For example, Mviwata is a network of farmer, different farmers from villages have come together and form groups at the level a village and network at a level of national that is called Mviwata. Now through Mviwata, most farmers are benefiting, their voices are heard on issues related to agricultural implement, infrastructure etc. There are currently some roads has been constructed by Mviwata initiatives, eg, Tawa road, Tandahimba road, Mgeta road in Morogoro. Kibaigwa International Maize market in Dodoma. These are few examples to mention and show how organizing people can results into positive change.

NGOs are pioneers on community organizing. Inades Formation Tanzania as an NGO has mobilized community members in different villages and about 35 groups in 6 villages has been formed, where by those group do things together and there are notable achievement.

FGM, in 1970s/80s, policies and laws were put forward to stop FGM. But this strategy failed because despite of the laws, people were still circumcised which led to many effects such as death. But in 1990s non government organization like AFNET, as pioneers went the community to educate on the effects of FGM, bringing together those women who do circumcision exercise, educate them, mobilize formation of advocacy group to advocate for FGM stopping etc. these efforts succeed, as a case of Mkoka village in Kongwa District FGM practices has reduced to 70%, so organizing the community helps in achieving the desired goal than just putting the laws.

PLHA since they have common problem common interests, by organizing them into groups have been so easier for them to get assistance for their life.

Farmers in Mafinga Districts Mufindi had formed PMC to solve market problems of their maize products, know are enjoying the price of their produces unlike in the past individual farmers were responsible to sell his/her produces to brokers, who set low price to farmers produces for their own profit.
4.0. Policy Review
To ensure full participation of the people in governance and development of their country, the Tanzania Government unveiled the Local Government Reform policy (LGRP) in 1998 aimed at making district and municipal councils more accountable to the people and improve social services, including facilitating people’s efforts towards self-development. Under LGRP, local government authorities (LGAs) are responsible for provision of basic public service with emphasis on priority sectors that targeted poverty reduction. LGAs have to ensure democratic participation and service delivery at the sub-district level is achieved by dividing the district/municipalities into divisions, wards, villages and sub-villages. These efforts aimed at organizing the communities to make things done.
5.0. Conclusion
“Quality life for every Tanzanians citizen will be realized by self commitment, every one should work hardly”. This saying has more meaningful but this is not enough to stand at its own, there is rather need to organize our community to easier make things done. It is understood that, organizing is power for achieving sustainable development. There fore when people in communities come together for solving their problems, sustainable change will be of no doubt. Then, the Tanzania government, NGOs and other private institutions that put much of their efforts toward community change, should then use the community organizing approach to make things done.

1. Community Organizing Toolbox. Community Organizing: The Basics.
2. Michel Adjibodou. Understanding Community Economic Development.
3. Nina Wallerstein, American Journal of Health promotion.
4. Reverend Robert Linthicum, World Vision International
5. Tanzania Government Local Government Reform policy (LGRP) of 1998