The Community Engagement and Action (CEA) Unit is intended to facilitate a diverse group of citizens and Friends of Education to access information, demand for transparency and good governance, monitor implementation of policy, organise for active participation and in the process, to bring about sustainable change in education and democracy.
Recruiting Friends of Education and Information Dissemination
The Friends of Education movement is a national network of citizens (individuals of various ages, abilities, gender and background, as well as organisations) concerned about the state of education in Tanzania and who want to make a difference by improving education performance within communities and at national level. The movement is facilitated by HakiElimu through the CEA Unit, which promotes networking and learning among Friends and other local citizens’ groups. It also recruits and provides new Friends with kits containing basic information on education and related issues in order to raise their level of awareness on those issues. In collaboration with the Media and Advocacy Unit, CEA ensures Friends receives current materials and publications by mail every four months.The unit encourages the Friends to provide feedbacks on what is going on at the grassroots. This is dione through various ways such as through written messages , sms, e-mails, telephone calls and even face to face discussions. All mails received are timely responded to, and at the end of each year, the unit analyzes the received mails to for informing future plans.
HakiElimu’s Library and Community Library Management
CEA Unit runs the day to day management of HakiElimu library, hosted within the organisation building at Upanga in Dar es Salaam. Currently the library provides technical support and some reading materials to more than 35 extant community libraries across the country. It is envisaged that these libraries will be used tostimulate adult education programmes to support government’s efforts to fight ignorance, reduce illiteracy rate, and improve social well being of people at community level.
Citizens Monitoring, Organising and Taking Action
Friends are encouraged to organise, reflect, debate and take action to improve education in their communities. However, in order to accomplish this monitoring of policy and practice is essential . To this end, CEA unit helps Friends networks, youth/students clubs, and school committees to acquire the necessary skills and tools to conduct effective monitoring. Through these agents for change, CEA in collaboration with partner organisations has been promoting social accountability monitoring as a fundamental mechanism to build a transparent and just society. HakiElimu also provides limited support to certain Friends’ initiatives in order to bring about change in education and democracy in their communities. The aim is to make the movement work more effectively. CEA also organises Friends meetings at different levels in order to allow the movement get more organised, allow the Friends to share experiences and learn from each other to improve their capacity of engaging.This is also an opportunity for participants to learn more about the idea behind the movement and other skills for engagement.
Communicating Views and Lessons
HakiElimu receives a lot of valuable information, opinions and stories of experiences from Friends. In collaboration with the Media and Advocacy unit, every year, Friends who have been active in improving education and democracy in their communities are profiled and their case studies published to inspire others to take similar action. Similarly, CEA collects inspiring stories, documents and shares them with Friends, other organisations and networks through various HakiElimu publications such as SautiElimu, the Friends’ booklet, and other media such as newspapers, TV and radio. More importantly, in collaboration with Media and Advocacy unit, CEA Unit provides space for Friends and other citizens to communicate their voices to influence decisions both at local and national levels, using the existing national and regional radio and televisions stations.