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In the past few years, Tanzania has slipped from being a well-regarded partial democracy into an autocratic and repressive state which is the subject of international condemnation. In this increasingly restrictive context, civil society, though cowed, continues to push back and try to mitigate some of the damage. The talk will highlight major trends in governance and politics in Tanzania, drawing on qualitative reviews, documentation of key events and citizen poll data, and will provide examples of civil society response through specific cases and new ideas to navigate this new terrain.
Risha Chande is Senior Advisor, Communications for Twaweza East Africa focusing on galvanizing citizen agency and open and accountable governments, while working to push back against restrictions on civic space. Prior to that she helped to build the Communications Department for the Mo Ibrahim Foundation to generate debate on governance and leadership across the continent. She has 15 years of experience working on communications for governance in the African context.
Twaweza means “we can make it happen” in Swahili. Twaweza works on enabling citizens to exercise agency and governments to be more open and responsive in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Twaweza’s flagship programs include Uwezo, Africa’s largest citizen assessment to assess children’s learning levels across hundreds of thousands of households, and Sauti za Wananchi, Africa’s first nationally representative mobile phone survey, conducted in the three countries. Twaweza undertakes effective public and policy engagement, leverages powerful local media partnerships, and contributes to leadership of global initiatives such as the Open Government Partnership.
Photo by MIT-Africa.