781 by keralaguest


									                        Monitoring Poverty in Tanzania –
                      Lessons learnt and challenges ahead
                              Dr Servacius B. Likwelile
                       Director, Poverty Eradication Division,
                Vice-President’s Office, United Republic of Tanzania

       Paper presented at the Statistics South Africa – PARIS21 Monitoring
          Development Indicators Workshop, Cape Town, April 3, 2002

Tanzania has over the past two years established a comprehensive poverty
monitoring system, which is documented in a Poverty Monitoring Master Plan
(PMMP).1 The aim of the poverty monitoring system is to ensure that timely and
reliable evidence on changes in the level and nature of poverty is available to all
relevant stakeholders. This will allow an accurate assessment of the impact of
poverty reduction efforts and will provide clues on how the effectiveness and
efficiency of these efforts may be improved.

Tanzania’s poverty monitoring system has been called one of the most
comprehensive and ambitious of its type. Therefore, there is a lot of international
interest in learning from Tanzania’s experiences in this area. However, a word of
caution is required at the outset. Firstly, Tanzania’s poverty monitoring system is
still very young. The design of the system was only completed at the end of 2001
and implementation has only just started. While we have high hopes that the
system will indeed live up to the expectations and will produce the high quality
outputs that are anticipated, the system will need to prove its viability over the
next few years. Undoubtedly, we will meet some challenges along the way.

Secondly, the way the Tanzanian system has grown is to a large extent
determined by the peculiarities of the Tanzanian institutional set-up, the strengths
and weaknesses of the key actors involved in poverty monitoring and other
contextual factors. It would be misguided to simply transplant the solutions we
found in Tanzania to another context. The specificities of each country context
need to be taken into account when designing a poverty monitoring system.
Having said that, there are some early lessons that can be identified in the
Tanzanian experience to date, which will be useful to take into consideration in
other countries embarking on a similar endeavour.

This paper starts with a brief outline of the Tanzania’s policy framework for
poverty reduction. This is followed by an overview of the history of Tanzania’s
poverty monitoring system. The paper highlights the main features of the system

    United Republic of Tanzania; Poverty Monitoring Master Plan. Dar es Salaam, December 2001

Monitoring Poverty in Tanzania – Dr S.B. Likwelile                                              1
and identifies some of the early lessons learnt which may be of use in other
countries. Finally, the paper highlights some of the challenges which are ahead
for the poverty monitoring system in Tanzania, both in the short and medium

The Tanzanian policy framework for poverty reduction
It is important to note that putting the policy context as far as poverty reduction is
concerned has been one of the first steps taken by Tanzanian government. Thus
in the recent past Tanzania has developed a range of strategy papers and policy
initiatives to guide its poverty reduction efforts. This process started well before
the country became eligible for debt relief under the enhanced HIPC Initiative,
which led to the drafting of a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). The
major landmarks are the National Poverty Eradication Strategy (NPES) 3, the
Vision 2025 document for Mainland Tanzania and Vision 2020 for Zanzibar, and
the Tanzania Assistance Strategy (TAS). There was already a process that was
initiated beginning 1997 on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF)
and the Public Expenditure Review (PER).

Vision 2020 and 2025 describe in general terms the overall development goal the
country wants to achieve over the course of the next few decades. The NPES
sets a wide range of more specific poverty reduction targets. Its overall aim is to
reduce abject poverty by 50 per cent by 2010 and eliminate abject poverty
altogether in Tanzania by the year 2025. Among the priority sectors targeted in
the NPES are education, health and nutrition, water and sanitation, agriculture,
employment creation and income generation. The focus is on the translation of
long-term aspirations into concrete, short-term and medium-term targets. The
understanding of poverty in the NPES is a multi-dimensional one. The strategy
describes poverty as a state of deprivation, prohibitive of decent human life. This
covers a very wide range of indicators indeed. The Vision documents and the
NPES have made it very clear that Tanzania needs to find ways to produce
adequate, timely and reliable data and information for the wide range of poverty
dimensions dealt with in these documents.

The government has also developed a framework known as the Tanzania
Assistance Strategy (TAS). This strategy serves to guide the development
cooperation with the international community. This sets out the framework for
partnership on development given recognition of the need to harmonise donor
support to avoid duplication of effort. The central idea of TAS is to improve the
effectiveness of aid through the strengthening of local ownership, donor
coordination and the promotion of best practices in partnership. The priorities in
the TAS are in line with the NPES and Vision documents. In detailed preparatory
 The main points of this paper are to a large extent inspired by Evans & van Diesen; Tanzania’s
Poverty Monitoring System, A review of early experience and current challenges – forthcoming.

 United Republic of Tanzania; The National Poverty Eradication Strategy. Dar es Salaam: Vice-
President’s Office, June 1998.

Monitoring Poverty in Tanzania – Dr S.B. Likwelile                                                2
work for the TAS, the current shortcomings in Tanzania's data and information
systems became very apparent and a significant amount of work was done to
document these shortcomings and to begin thinking about how to address them.
The TAS process has also flagged the need for independent monitoring of
development cooperation, to test practice against the principles laid down in the

The twin processes of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and
the Public Expenditure Review (PER) are also instrumental in the overall policy
framework for poverty reduction. It is through these processes that the
government has begun to prioritise pro-poor expenditure and to track the
efficiency and effectiveness of public expenditure.

When Tanzania qualified for debt relief under the enhanced HIPC Initiative in
1999, the drafting of a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper was initiated.4 The
Paper was approved by Parliament and endorsed by the Executive Boards of the
World Bank and the IMF at the end of 2000.

PRSP Preparation Process
The Tanzanian PRSP was developed through a participatory process, which
consulted a wide range of stakeholders at all levels of society. This process
drew on the views of villagers, district councillors, government staff at all levels,
civil society organisations, Members of Parliament, the private sector and the
academic and research community. The Tanzania PRSP builds strongly on all
the initiatives that were already in place. The strategy outlined in the PRSP
emphasises the promotion of accelerated and equitable growth, investment in
human capabilities, protection of vulnerable groups and the establishment of a
conducive environment for growth and poverty reduction. The PRSP is narrower
than the NPES, Vision and TAS, in that it covers a shorter time span (it has a
three year outlook) and in that it further narrows down the priorities set in the
earlier documents. It is expected that the annual updates will assist in taking on
board the broader priorities as set out in the documents that preceded its

The enhanced HIPC Initiative makes a strong link between debt relief and
poverty reduction and therefore needs regular data to assess to what extent this
link is borne out in reality. Therefore, as part of the drafting process of the PRSP,
a core list of indicators was drawn up and the outlines of a poverty monitoring
system were sketched. Tanzania reached the completion point under the HIPC
process in November 2001, after submitting its first PRS progress report5 and
designing its poverty monitoring system.

  United Republic of Tanzania; Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). Dar es Salaam,
October 2000.
  United Republic of Tanzania; Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper – Progress Report 2000/01.
Dar es Salaam, August 2001.

Monitoring Poverty in Tanzania – Dr S.B. Likwelile                                           3
All these initiatives joined together make for a sound policy framework for poverty
reduction, with clear, but ambitious targets. This sets a challenge on the use of
available resources to meet the targets, in a manner that will achieve the greatest
impact on poverty as possible. Timely and reliable evidence is indispensable in
this context. It is against this backdrop – a clearly felt need for stronger
evidence-based policy making – that Tanzania’s poverty monitoring system was

A brief background to the poverty monitoring system in Tanzania
As noted earlier the design of the poverty monitoring system in Tanzania began
in earnest when the country had finished drafting its Poverty Reduction Strategy
Paper (PRSP), in October 2000. But while the PRSP drafting process acted as a
catalyst, the need for a comprehensive poverty monitoring system was identified
well before Tanzania became eligible for HIPC debt relief, as we have seen
above. The design of the poverty monitoring system builds on a number of
initiatives and processes that started before the PRSP drafting. Indeed it is
these early foundations of the poverty monitoring system need to be taken into
account while discussing steps taken by Tanzania in setting up its poverty
monitoring system. This will help to understand the specificities of the system as
it has unfolded.

One of the key policy documents in this regard is the Tanzania Assistance
Strategy (TAS). This identified the need for a more coordinated, coherent
and strategic approach to data and information on development. The drafting
of the TAS was an inclusive, participatory process, in which various working
groups produced background papers, which highlighted issues to be addressed
by the strategy. One working group was on Data and Information, chaired by the
National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). This group produced a Background Paper,
which highlighted some of the common problems related to the collection,
analysis and dissemination of evidence on development-related issues. These
included: poor dialogue between users and producers, leading to under-utilised
data sets and to gaps in the availability of required data; an ad hoc approach to
the production of estimates on key indicators and the implementation of surveys
and censuses; and the existence of conflicting estimates for the same indicator;
to mention a few. The working group also highlighted the need in place an
appropriate institutional framework. The Poverty Monitoring Master Plan is a
conscious effort to address some of these concerns.

Also to be learnt from the TAS process is what the process had been able to
promote, i.e., the new way of working among the external development partners.
It prioritised national ownership and joint support for national strategies by
the development partners. The process encouraged development partners to
adjust their respective programmes to meet national needs and priorities and to
work together to reduce transaction costs. It was hoped that the TAS initiative
would eventually lead to greater effectiveness of external assistance. As the
next sections in the paper show, this drive towards more coordinated external

Monitoring Poverty in Tanzania – Dr S.B. Likwelile                               4
assistance has been one of the key principles underpinning the development of
the poverty monitoring system.

Another initiative worth mentioning is the capacity building oriented Poverty
Eradication Initiatives (PEI) Programme implemented by the Vice President’s
Office and supported by UNDP. It was this Programme, which facilitated the
drafting of the National Poverty Eradication Strategy (NPES). NPES did also
stress the need for a monitoring system to be put in place. The Programme’s
inputs into the establishment of a comprehensive monitoring system can be seen
in two important outputs, which were influential in the shaping of the eventual

        The Poverty and Welfare Monitoring Indicators: this provided a list of
         indicators to be used for poverty monitoring, which was also used to
         calculate a composite index and to provide a poverty ranking of the
         regions.6 The list of indicators was drawn up on the basis of extensive
         consultations with stakeholders at national, regional and district levels.
         The Poverty and Welfare Monitoring Indicators booklet become an
         important reference document in the choice of indicators for the PRSP
         and for the PMMP.

        Tanzania Socio-Economic Database (TSED): this provides an indicator
         database. TSED was conceived to provide user-friendly information on a
         range of socio-economic indicators. A first release of the database
         contains over 60 poverty-related indicators. TSED will be used as the
         repository for all quantitative data emerging from the poverty monitoring
         system, at both national and regional/district levels,7 and as one of the
         main dissemination tools. The database is managed by the National
         Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and was established with support from
         UNICEF, UNDP and DFID.

What this discussion reveals is the fact that the idea of a comprehensive poverty
monitoring system existed in Tanzania well before the PRSP drafting began and
that earlier processes and initiatives had already prepared the ground for the
design of the poverty monitoring system. The PRSP process which, emphasises
results orientation and evidence-based approach to the assessment of the
effectiveness of the strategy acted, therefore, as an important catalyst.

Consensus building was one of the important aspects that guided the process.
A series of consensus meetings were held. One such meeting concerned about
the design of the poverty monitoring system was in the form of a ‘Roundtable

  United Republic of Tanzania; Poverty and Welfare Monitoring Indicators. Dar es Salaam: Vice-
President’s Office, November 1999.
  Roll out of the TSED at Regional and District level is planned in conjunction with the roll out of
the LG M&E system. However capacity/technical shortfalls at local government level are likely to
limit the pace at which this will occur.

Monitoring Poverty in Tanzania – Dr S.B. Likwelile                                                     5
Discussion on Poverty Monitoring’. This brought together a wide range of
stakeholders, from Government, academic and research institutions, NGOs and
development partners, including the presence of the World Bank mission
allowing participation of key staff members from the organisation. Agreement
was reached during this Roundtable Meeting on:
     the broad objectives of the poverty monitoring system,
     the data requirements of the PRSP, and
     the data collection mechanisms to be used.

The institutional framework for poverty monitoring was also one of the critical
areas that were discussed. The idea was to capture the interests of various
stakeholders while recognising the legitimate roles being played by each one of
them in poverty monitoring. The challenge was then to find an institutional
framework that would accommodate these interests and roles in an acceptable
and coherent manner while avoiding duplication of efforts and wastage of

The Institutional Framework
The institutional framework has at the top a Poverty Monitoring Steering
Committee, which has a broad membership and meets quarterly to give general
guidance on the design and implementation of the poverty monitoring system.
Linked to the Steering Committee is the Technical Committee for the Poverty
Reduction Strategy, which was initially formed to coordinate drafting of the PRSP
and is tasked with preparation of the Annual PRS Progress Reports. The work of
the Technical Committee is supported by a Poverty Monitoring Secretariat,
hosted by the Vice President’s Office and consisting of staff from VPO, Ministry
of Finance and President’s Office – Planning and Privatisation. The Secretariat
is also tasked with meeting the communication and coordination needs of the
system as a whole. The operationalization of the system depends on the
functioning of four Technical Working Groups (TWGs) involving a wide range of
stakeholders from government, non-government groups as well as development
partners. These are expected to do the substantial work on poverty monitoring.
The framework requires the TWGs to communicate to the Poverty Monitoring
Steering Committee through the PRS Technical Committee.

The four TWGs are following:

       A Surveys and Census Working Group coordinates the implementation
        of a multi-year survey programme, under the leadership of the National
        Bureau of Statistics.
       A Routine Data Systems Working Group, coordinated by the
        President’s Office – Regional Administration and Local Government, is
        responsible for coordination of routine data sources, to ensure that they
        produce timely and reliable estimates of poverty indicators.
       A Research and Analysis Working Group is responsible for the
        coordination of a research and analysis work programme that will

Monitoring Poverty in Tanzania – Dr S.B. Likwelile                             6
         investigate the reasons behind poverty trends, assess questions of
         causality and impact, and test the assumptions underlying the PRSP. This
         group is coordinated by the President’s Office – Planning and
         Privatisation, with Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA) performing
         the secretariat function.
        A Dissemination, Sensitisation and Advocacy Working Group,
         coordinated by the Vice-President’s Office, which is responsible for the
         coordination of a programme that will ensure that the key findings
         emerging from the poverty monitoring system will reach the appropriate
         stakeholders in the appropriate format.

Once the institutional framework was agreed upon, the TWGs were tasked with
developing work programmes and capacity building plans, which would serve as
inputs to the Poverty Monitoring Master Plan. The time span covered is 2001/02
to 2003/04. The Surveys and Censuses group drew on the work of consultants
to develop a multi-year survey programme.8 The Research and Analysis working
group used a consultancy to develop a research framework.9 All groups
produced their work programmes by June 2001. After this, the Poverty
Monitoring Secretariat compiled a first draft of the Poverty Monitoring Master
Plan, which was reviewed and discussed by stakeholders on various occasions.
The Poverty Monitoring Steering Committee and the Committee of Ministers
discussed and approved the draft Master Plan in November 2001. It was printed
and distributed as an official GOT document by the VPO. The completed Master
Plan was instrumental in Tanzania reaching completion point in the HIPC
process that same month.

Main features of Tanzania’s Poverty Monitoring System
Key elements of the poverty monitoring system include the following:
 Definition of information needs: A core set of indicators, as well as agreement
   on the priorities for gathering information which cannot be captured in pre-
   determined indicators.
 Institutional framework: A national poverty monitoring steering committee and
   four technical working groups.
 Data collection instruments: These are grouped into two categories. One
   contains household surveys and the census.
 Research priorities: Research questions will guide the generation of
   information not adequately covered by surveys, census and routine data
   sources. This will address qualitative information needs and evaluation
 Dissemination plan: This describes the main users of the data and information
   generated by the poverty monitoring system and the channels through which
   information can best be made available to them. Important dissemination

  P Wingfield-Digby & J. Semboja; Developing a Multi-Year Survey Programme at the National Bureau of
Statistics for Poverty Monitoring in Tanzania. Dar es Salaam: OPM/REPOA, January 2001
  Y. Tsikata & M. Mbilinyi; Towards a research framework for poverty monitoring in Tanzania. Dar es
Salaam: ESRF/IDS, June 2001.

Monitoring Poverty in Tanzania – Dr S.B. Likwelile                                                7
    channels include the Tanzania Socio-Economic Database (TSED) and
    Tanzania Online.
   Capacity building: plans for enhancing the capacity of key actors in poverty
   Costings
   A joint funding mechanism

Key outputs of the poverty monitoring system will include:
 An Annual Report on Poverty and Human Development – providing an
  overview of progress towards the PRSP targets and presenting the findings of
  the research and analysis programme, indicating causes behind the observed
  trends in the indicators
 A popular version of the Annual Report on Poverty and Human Development
 Reports on surveys, studies and analyses, in publications and electronically
  through Tanzania Online
 Updates of TSED, the Tanzania Socio-Economic Database and the online
  library Tanzania Online
 Policy Briefings: specific issue papers emerging from the evidence generated
  by the system

What have we learnt so far?
Although the Tanzanian poverty monitoring system has only just become
operational, even at this early stage some lessons can be drawn which may be of
use in other countries. First of all, the Tanzanian case shows the importance of
reaching consensus about the institutional framework for poverty monitoring
early on in the design of the system. In Tanzania, this was particularly important
as both the mandates and the capacities for poverty monitoring are vested in a
range of different institutions. It was crucial, for the long-term viability and
success of the system, to ensure that all these players were involved in a way
that maximises the use of their relevant advantages. In Tanzania, key players
included the Vice President’s Office, the Ministry of Finance, the President’s
Office – Planning and Privatisation (PO-PP), the President’s Office – Regional
Administration and Local Government (PORALG), the National Bureau of
Statistics (NBS), research and academic institutions and civil society
organisations (CSOs). All of these players have activities related to poverty
monitoring written into their mandate and all of them have some capacities to
offer in this field. In Tanzania, a conscious decision was taken to involve all of
them in the institutional framework.

As a result, the institutional framework for poverty monitoring that has emerged in
Tanzania reflects a true multi-stakeholder approach to poverty monitoring.
There are many advantages linked to this approach. First and foremost among
them is that involving a wide range of stakeholders increases the sense of
ownership of the system. In addition, involving all these stakeholders ensures
that any debates about the reliability of data and the policy implications of
evidence produced can be discussed within the institutional framework. It is

Monitoring Poverty in Tanzania – Dr S.B. Likwelile                               8
hoped that this will ensure an in-built dynamic in the system, with stakeholders of
different views and opinions engaging with each other in a productive way.

A specific aspect of the multi-stakeholder approach is that there are
institutionalised interfaces between producers and users of data. In the
technical working groups for poverty monitoring, user and producer groups
interact at least monthly and work together to jointly coordinate the
implementation of the Poverty Monitoring Master Plan. Higher-level policy
makers meet data producers in the PRS Technical Committee and the Poverty
Monitoring Steering Committee. There is ample evidence now that a good
interface between users and produces of data in all stages of poverty monitoring
and research on poverty greatly improves the relevance of data generated. The
lack of such interface is seen as one of the major reasons for the weaknesses of
poverty-related research and analysis in Tanzania. It is our conviction that other
countries would also benefit from institutionalising user-producer interfaces.

The involvement of a wide range of stakeholders has also brought about
consensus that there is need to use a variety of methodologies, including
quantitative and qualitative. Thus, the Tanzanian poverty monitoring system
includes traditional quantitative methods to assess the level of poverty, such as
the Household Budget Survey, but it also incorporates qualitative assessments,
such as a Participatory Poverty Assessment to explore the different
manifestations of vulnerability in the country. Routine and administrative data
sources are used alongside household surveys and sentinel site systems. There
is already some evidence of the benefits of interaction between the practitioners
traditionally associated with these various methodologies. All too often, these
practitioners are working in isolation of each other. We are expecting that the
meeting of paradigms we are bringing about will lead to a better articulation of
their comparative advantages and to a more comprehensive understanding of
trends in poverty and why they are occurring.

In the design of the Tanzanian poverty monitoring system, efforts had been taken
to ensure that national information needs and monitoring capacity are taken
as a starting point. In the past, poverty-related research and analysis has been
externally driven, taking into account interests of funding partners. The surveys
carried out by the National Bureau of Statistics were in the past
disproportionately guided by the agencies funding them. The availability of
funding would to a large extent determine which surveys were carried out at what
time and the methodology to be used for those surveys. The newly established
poverty monitoring system breaks with this practice as the information needs
were determined in close consultation with a wide range of Tanzanian
stakeholders and the monitoring tools, frequency of data collection and level of
disaggregation were chosen to fit these priorities.

There was also a choice to take the existing capacity for poverty monitoring
into consideration when planning the poverty monitoring system. A

Monitoring Poverty in Tanzania – Dr S.B. Likwelile                               9
decision was made to build on the capacity that is already in place, rather than
developing new, parallel systems. This is reflected, for example, in the choice not
to introduce a new ‘poverty monitoring survey’ as part of the NBS work plan, but
to enhance the NBS multi-year survey programme to ensure that it provides all
the estimates required according to national information needs. Wherever foreign
technical assistance is required for poverty monitoring, partnering with local
institutions and building local capacity has been emphasized. The ‘quick fix’
approach is therefore very much resisted in this case. The lesson here would be
that if a poverty monitoring system is to be sustainable in the longer term, it
needs to be planned with the reality of existing domestic capacity in mind.

The approach leading to the formulation of the Tanzania Assistance Strategy
(TAS) where reliance was to base the poverty monitoring system on national
information needs and national monitoring capacity has been one of the key
aspects in the PMS development process. In the spirit of the TAS, the way is to
support Government leadership and reduce transaction costs of external
assistance for poverty monitoring. Thus the Poverty Monitoring Master Plan is a
government document, informed by consultations with many stakeholders. It
provides a comprehensive framework and it is expected that all contributions of
development partners in the field of poverty research and analysis will stay within
this framework. The entire budget for poverty monitoring has been integrated into
the Government budget from the 2002/03 financial year. This means that
development partners can contribute to the cost of poverty monitoring through
the government budget process. Lessons in this case is that any poverty
monitoring plan should incorporate a funding strategy which aims at supporting
government ownership and reducing transaction costs.

A final lesson identified early on in the development of the Tanzanian poverty
monitoring system is the need to give focus to the system by agreeing on a core
set of indicators. In Tanzania, this task was simplified by the earlier exercise
that developed a core list of poverty and welfare monitoring indicators, as
described above. This list was used as a basis for the choice of indicators in the
PRSP and the poverty monitoring system. Early agreement on the indicators to
be covered enabled us to focus on the bottom line deliverables of the system.
But this does not mean that the system will only provide estimates for these
indicators. In fact, the system will deliver a lot more. But the core list keeps it

Challenges ahead
Tanzania’s poverty monitoring system is still very young, but already a number of
challenges for the system are becoming apparent. This is only natural in a
system as comprehensive and ambitious as this one. The poverty monitoring
system is seen as a dynamic one to be assessed at regular intervals to
determine which parts of it work better and which parts work less well. The
challenges outlined below should be seen as part of the learning process the
country is going through.

Monitoring Poverty in Tanzania – Dr S.B. Likwelile                              10
It is suggested in literature10 that five main areas are of potential importance to
PRSP monitoring, these are:
      Input monitoring (budget reforms and expenditure tracking)
      Timely monitoring of implementation processes (by established and
        innovative means)
      Measuring of poverty-related outcomes and impacts (by surveys and
        participatory assessments)
      Measures to enable PRSP stakeholders to have and use information
      Steps to enhance the use of available data for analytical purposes.

In the case of Tanzania one of the most important challenges is related to the
fact that the poverty monitoring system emphasises monitoring at the impact and
outcome level, not addressing in much more detail the other components of PRS
monitoring, such as implementation, resource allocation and budget execution.
The challenge then is to link across different levels of monitoring much more
vividly. The impact and outcome indicators are relatively slow moving and will by
themselves not provide sufficient information for key decision makers to adjust
the PRS in the shorter term. Monitoring of actual PRS implementation takes
place mostly in the sector ministries. There, activities and outputs are tracked.
Monitoring of inputs takes place as part of the PER and MTEF processes. A
comprehensive assessment of the success of the PRS will need to take all these
levels into account. There are opportunities to promote linkages between these
three processes. One place where they all come together is in the PRS Technical
Committee, which is charged with the drafting of the annual PRS Progress
Report. More interaction has to be sought between the key actors in the different
monitoring processes, particularly between the Research and Analysis Working
Group and the PER group on the one hand and between the Routine Data Group
and the sector level monitoring processes on the other. There are also
opportunities to promote interaction by streamlining some of the consultations
under these various processes, for example by merging the annual consultation
on the PER and on the Poverty and Human Development Report.

Another major challenge is to ensure that the evidence produced by the
poverty monitoring system is actually used by decision makers. The
evidence-based decision making paradigm more or less assumes that once good
quality evidence is made available to decision makers in a timely manner and in
a format that they appreciate, they will use that evidence. But there are reasons
to believe that this assumption is not quite correct. An evidence-based
management culture is something that needs to be advocated for and nurtured
and it will not come about by producing good evidence alone. This is an issue
that the dissemination, sensitisation and advocacy working group will have to pay
a lot of attention to.

  Booth and Lucas (2001), Initial Review of PRSP Documentation, Report for DFID, Overseas
Development Institute (ODI).

Monitoring Poverty in Tanzania – Dr S.B. Likwelile                                    11
A third challenge which is emerging is that the Poverty Monitoring Master Plan
is not a statistical master plan as such. There is no statistical master plan for
Tanzania and some of the consequences of this are beginning to show. For
example, the multi-year survey programme developed by the National Bureau of
Statistics focuses only on those surveys which are relevant to poverty monitoring.
It doesn’t cover, for example, the economic statistics work of the Bureau. As a
result, we still do not have a comprehensive picture of the many competing
demands on the Bureau and realistic work planning is still problematic.
Developing a statistical master plan, which incorporates the poverty monitoring
master plan but goes beyond it, is one of the next steps for Tanzania.

A more immediate challenge is to ensure that all parts of the institutional
framework remain operational and that there is sufficient communication
between the various working groups and committees to ensure tat they pull
towards the same direction. This is not easy, as the members of these groups
and committees are often highly committed people, with many competing
demands. There is an important role here for the Poverty Monitoring Secretariat,
which is hosted by the Vice President’s Office. The Secretariat acts as the ‘glue’
of the poverty monitoring system, ensuring that all constituent parts are moving in
the same direction and at the same speed. They can also do any troubleshooting
that needs to be done.

Another challenge is to promote a more active participation of CSOs in the
system. At the moment, some CSOs are represented on the technical working
groups and on the steering committee. However, there is need to ensure
consistency in their participation. CSOs on the other hand feel that they are not
properly represented. Rather than increasing the number of CSO representatives
on the working groups and committees, it might be necessary to promote better
communication between the representatives and various CSO networks.

Perhaps in the medium to longer term, serious attention has to be paid to
strengthening the participatory and qualitative aspects of the poverty
monitoring system. At the moment, the Participatory Poverty Assessments are
the only truly participatory element of the system. However, they are more about
policy research and less about monitoring. Also, their coverage is very limited.
More ways should be sought in which the poor themselves can contribute to
monitoring poverty and poverty reduction efforts.

The paper attempted to highlight some of the key steps in the process of
preparing the PMS for Tanzania while spelling out the institutional framework,
main features and outputs expected out of the system. This is my perspective,
from the Government side. We note though that it is still early days for the
Tanzanian poverty monitoring system and any firm judgements about its relative
strengths and weaknesses are bound to be premature. In a system as complex
and ambitious as ours, no doubt some elements will be implemented less

Monitoring Poverty in Tanzania – Dr S.B. Likwelile                              12
successfully than others and some may turn out not to be viable at all. This is
why we will continuously re-assess the poverty monitoring system to make it
more relevant and effective. The Tanzanian government is hopeful and
determined to make the system a vehicle for the promotion of evidence-based
poverty reduction. There is a strong conviction that the system can make a
major difference to the way in which pro-poor policies are made. It is our hope
that some of the early lessons we have learnt to date will be of use in other
countries and we are looking forward to continue sharing experiences as our
systems develops further. Experiences from other countries are also welcome
so we all at the end of the day come up with an approach with can take care of
our concerns much more effectively.

Monitoring Poverty in Tanzania – Dr S.B. Likwelile                          13

To top