CSOs taking up the EAC integration agenda
Disturbed by the low participation of the civic population in East African Community (EAC) integration process, TANGO working in collaboration with Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) has started a process of bringing on board the broader section of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on the EAC integration agenda. The first step was the calling of a one day roundtable meeting to deliberate issues of how CSOs will engage in the EAC integration process. The roundtable meeting brought together representatives of key CSOs networks and umbrella organizations from across the country.
Among other issues the roundtable articulated the CSO’s priorities areas in regard to their engagement in the EAC Integration process. Ranking first was the need for civic participation in the EAC process, according to the roundtable the key action in an effort towards effective participation will be information dissemination on the trends and wont regarding the EAC Integration process.
This according to the roundtable participants should be preceded by broad awareness on the actualities of the EAC integration process and the opportunities found therein. The roundtable session also deliberated on the challenges facing CSO engagement in the EAC integration process. On this issue it was noted that very few CSOs and civic actors at the sub-national level are knowledgeable about nor have the skills needed to engage in the integration process.
It was also note that the lack of political will and strategic promotion of the participation of Tanzanians in the EAC process was another politically driven challenge facing the Tanzania citizen’s efforts to be part the EAC processes. This was against the back ground that Kenya and Uganda are promoting the participation of their citizens by supporting them to capture the jobs and business opportunities, but the Tanzanian government does not seem to care. Another critical issue noted by the roundtable was the fact that CSOs lacked the coordination mechanism for them to effectively engage in the EAC processes. The roundtable discussion charged TANGO with the function of coordinating CSO participation in the EAC process. In this regard the CSOs urged TANGO to collaborate with East African CSO Forum (EACSOF).
The first step in the new role assumed by TANGO will be to demystify the EAC process and make the regional grouping’s dealings known to the majority of the Tanzanians. The roundtable session proposed that TANGO and EACSOF urgently produced popular IEC material; undertake media outreach (radio/TV talks and articles and commentaries on the newspapers and Internet).
Commenting on the tasks that the CSOs have charged TANGO with Tepani Ngunga the Executive Director of TANGO hinted that over and above the information outlet stated above TANGO has recently launched a knowledge database and information portal termed “the Tanzania CSO Knowledge Database and Portal”, which TANGO will use to advance and popularize the EAC integration agenda among the citizenry. Other activities will include the development of the skills needed for CSOs to effectively engage in the EAC process. The roundtable also had a chance of going through the recently published “State of EAC Report (SEAR)”, which was produced by SID and presented by Adain Eyekuze of Serengeti Associates, the facts from this report outlines below in Chart 1.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 07 August 2012 07:06)