One of my favourite Oxfam projects is Chukua Hatua (CH) in Tanzania, which is using an evolutionary/venture capitalist theory of change to promote accountability in a couple of regions of the country. CH is now looking for a new coordinator, because the wonderful Jane Lonsdale is moving on – if you fancy taking over, check out the job ad (closing date 20 July).
Talk of ‘Evolutionary theories of change’ all sounds very abstract, so here are six specific examples of the kinds of change the project is bringing about.
1) In Piyaya village (Ngorongoro) women activists who had received CH training on Women in Leadership (WIL) complained to the government about an urgent need for measles vaccinations during an outbreak, organising themselves and then asking for meetings with the village government, councillor and district medical officer. The local authority responded quickly and together with the village government carried out a vaccination programme that also targeted remote sub-villages.
2) In Negezi village (Kishapu), the CH farmer animator mobilised people to ask the government for support to get out-of-school orphans into education. They then wrote to the local authority proposing the construction of a market space in their village so they don’t have to endure a return walk of 4 hours to the nearest market to buy and sell goods. They got the councillor on board and followed up remorselessly; the local authority has agreed and allocated a space and money to construct a market place.
3) In Shinyanga district, CH organized students to hold elections for their student councils and chose girls as the head prefect in 80% of cases. These new leaders then questioned teachers on their lack of attendance to deliver lessons and worked with head teachers to convey their views to the school management committees. School management are now monitoring and trying to improve teacher performance.
4) In Malambo village (Ngorongoro), CH election trackers are monitoring the fulfilment of electoral promises by their councillor and MP, after using voice recorders to record the promises of all candidates during election rallies. The councillor is responding by meeting some of his promises, including the building of a new road, new classrooms and a mobile phone tower, improving both digital and physical communications to the village.
5) In Mwime village (Kahama) the CH farmer animator mobilised villagers to complain about the US$100,000 owed by a Barrick Gold mine, and the village’s lack of genuine representation on the committee established to oversee the contract between mine and villagers. She persuaded the councillor and the MP to bring in a parliamentary committee, and an agreement was made that a new trust would be formed to oversee the compensation and the committee selection would be changed to give fairer representation for the villagers. The committee gave 500,000 Tanzanian shillings (US$325) on the spot for the village to set up a bank account. The village then held a press conference to publicise what had been agreed.
6) In Ololosokwan (Ngorongoro) village, the community won a court case against a tourism company that had obtained a fake title deed back in 1992. In this community, which has several CH groups, CH linked up local NGOs with an international law firm that provided the village with pro bono technical advice and lawyers, winning a favourable ruling by the judge. 25,000 hectares of land (about half the village) has been returned to the village.
And here’s a 15 minute video introducing the CH theory of change and its several initiatives (election promise tracking, farm animators etc).
Photo Credit: Abeeeer (on Flickr)