Wajibika: Programmatic and Fiscal Accountability in Tanzania
- Tanzania gave local councils authority but they couldn't exercise it effectively.
- Wajibika provided training and mentoring to improve skills and tools.
- Results included improved budgeting, planning, and sustainability.
Like other African nations, Tanzania adopted policies years ago to give local councils more authority to manage their resources. Local councils know their constituencies better than the national government does and can meet their needs. But the decentralization policies were not effective because many council officials lacked the necessary skills and tools. The call for greater accountability was widespread, but in some cases, distrust and misunderstandings hampered progress at the council level.
The Abt-led, USAID-funded Wajibika project provided training and mentoring that helped 38 of the country’s 161 councils implement community-driven health services planning and improve budgeting, procurement and internal audit practices. Wajibika staff translated a government template for dispensary and health center planning from English to Kiswahili so that workers could use it to improve services. Wajibika trained council staff in international public sector accounting standards, helped implement a computerized financial management system and trained council staff on procurement procedures.
Improved accountability translated into better use of resources, reduced waste and more efficient systems to deliver services. For example, the health facility plan for Ifunda Dispensary helped the facility establish reliable supplies of electricity and clean water. For fiscal year 2011-2012, 85 percent of Wajibika-assisted councils achieved clean audits, double the previous year. Improved audit results enabled councils to receive more capital development funding for health care and other programs. A mentoring program also led to sustainable improvements.