‘Chukua Hatua’ campaign endorsed by COSTECH Director General, Dr Hassan Mshinda

Tech 4 Governance Stakeholder Meeting; Education and Health Made with Code

Written by Basil Malaki

‘Can the government use crowdsourcing of information to obtain data for a better understanding of how medical products are consumed to better control medical supplies shortage in Tanzania?’, this was a question posed by one of the participating groups from the last technology for governance stakeholder meetup held by the Hatua Project at Buni Hub.

Team presentation of the identified health and education trends

Every time vigorous minds come together, change becomes inevitable. Hatua Project; a Making All Voices Count initiative is keen on mobilizing Tanzanian citizens to be the change they want to see in the community and contribute to the global efforts made towards making the world smarter.

A citizen making his voice heard by all stakeholders in the room

This was evident during the activity jammed Hatua Project event which attracted experienced and professional amateurs from the education, health, governance and technology sectors all who attended the event to take part in the Hatua Project Civic Hack — Challenge Definition Day modeled to attract active citizens to code for change with a focus on coders, programmers and creatives and the launch of the ‘Chukua Hatua campaign’ inspired by John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961; ‘Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You’. Maybe you can’t save the world, but you can save your backyard.

Civic engagement benefits both science and society

The event attracted key stakeholders who brainstormed on some of the most common challenges in the health and education sectors which most Tanzanian citizens are subjected to on a constant routine. The aim of this exercise was to derive actionable problem statements that could be further transformed into solution statements to be hacked by a select group of techies during the Hatua project Civic Hack event planned to help raise the quality of life of Tanzanian citizens and contribute towards the smart city movement with an aim of making Dar es Salaam a digitally smarter city.

Information sharing is key to building ‘smart cities’

The intense yet engaging brainstorming session was conducted by Buni Hub Manager and Hatua Project Team Lead Mr. Jumanne Mtambalike who used the future wheel tool; a method for graphical visualisation of direct and indirect future consequences of a particular change and the pest analysis tool; an acronym for Political, Economic, Social and Technological factors, which are used to assess the market for a business or organizational unit.

Mr Jumanne Mtambalike sharing knowledge with the Hatua Project invited stakeholders

Views collected after conducting this brilliant exercise reflected both positive and negative trends in the education and health sectors, some of these views are; there was a concern raised on the manner in which resources meant to better health service delivery are allocated; the allocation was described as inadequate, lack of trust in public health facilities by most citizens was also pointed out on the negative side.

Teams brainstorming on the education and health sector trends in Tanzania

On the positive side, participants suggested that the government should invest in the use of technology solutions to collect, analyze and disseminate health information but on a more interesting note, the participants claimed that with all the out-standing health challenges there is a clear opportunity for health startups and active citizens geared towards coding for change in Tanzania to tap into and commercialize their solutions.

Team presentation on their findings

Teams working on troubleshooting education trends also identified interesting challenges around mass failures in Tanzanian schools, their views echoed lack of faith in the Tanzanian education system, they also presented a case of rushed/half baked policies for education reforms and a generally high unemployment rate of teachers, the participants also thought there was an opportunity for innovative edu-tech solutions to bring about change in the community and as a result encourage the growth of solution-centric startups.

Youth involvement in the change process and structures of the country is very important

The stakeholder challenge definition meetup produced great results that met the expectations of the day.

Some of the opinions derived from this exercise were as follows:

  • What should be done to help the government provide reproductive health education from the grassroot to the top most level of the society?
  • How can we help the government of Tanzania to fight health risks of child marriages?
  • Can the government create a reliable employment system for teachers?
  • How can we help the government use technology to ensure that students have access to sufficient support and resources to pass their exams?
  • How can academic performance in public secondary schools be improved by using technology that works for students, teachers and policy makers?
  • How can Medical Stores Department (MSD) work closely with the Ministry of Health (MoH) to establish appropriate reporting mechanisms for dispensed medicines to avoid stock-outs?

Moving forward, the Hatua Project team is set to coin realistic solution statements from the presented problem statements to be ideated and coded during the civic hack event that will succeed the challenge definition event.

Girls are also increasingly taking part in seeking innovative tech solutions in Tanzania

In the meantime, Hatua Project is keen on accelerating the CHUKUA HATUA campaign with an aim of breaking the culture of citizens who think the government should be responsible for solving all citizen problems single handedly, we are instead focused on encouraging citizens to take action and stop thinking about seasonal reasons, excuses and complains but instead focus on long term solutions.

Truly effective civic engagement has a systemic effect that can actually change the culture and mood of a community

Hatua Project is undeniably a contagious tech-4-governance talk of the town in Tanzania today, we are uniquely promoting good governance through application of technology solutions that are more responsive, accessible, inclusive, efficient, reliable and affordable to citizens at all levels of the society.