JET with AYP
JET was opportune to get funding from Care International through Our Land Rights Program which focuses on advocating for land rights to small holder farmers while holding accountable the duty bearers in the land sector. JET project is implemented in Kilwa, Rufiji, Kilolo, Mufindi and Mbarali districts.
In 2014 Care International conducted capacity assessment to all the three partners for the purpose of identifying capacity gaps in their systems or structures. Through this participatory assessment as organisation, we were able to discover our weaknesses and strength. In fact, a number of gaps were identified within JET financial , human resource and administration systems which required immediate action to address each to ensure compliance, transparency and accountability within the organisation.
All of these capacity gaps demanded financial and technical resources to be addressed, and this posed a serious challenge to the organisation since we had scarce resource to intervene the situation. But through financial and technical support from Care International through the AYP we were able to establish and implement our capacity improvement plan. Not only that but also training conducted by the AYP team such as financial and human resources helped us in reshaping our systems.
Some of the gaps identified includes; lack of manuals such financial regulation manual, human resource manual and procurement policy. There was also weakness in our M&E system where it was not clear the kind of results the project is too achieve and the project indicators were not smart. In the course of addressing these capacity gaps, we observed progressive changes in our organisation, these changes are as narrated in the paragraphs below.
A shift from old to new accounting package
Charles Pallangyo has been working as JET accountant for close to ten years but he has only enjoyed working in his post in 2014, this is because for all past years JET was using an outdated accounting package the excel system lacking accuracy as it miss most of the key accounting features compared with the latest ones, this situation raised queries on records and other finance issues during auditing. This situation brought doubt on the authenticity of the accounts records to other donors.
“But when we started working with AYP in 2014, I was introduced to the Quickbook Accounting software which is simple, efficient and accurate. We also adopted new posting, recording and imprest systems as well as moving to cheque payments instead of cash payments,” says Pallagyo, adding that now he is comfortable with his work as his books of accountsare credible, acceptable by JET partners and there are almost no audit queries.
Chales Pallangyo operating QuickBook Accounting software
Financial manual is now in place and operational
Previously JET had no financial manuals and procurement manual and so procedures for managing institution finances were not clear, compliance threatened organization health and survival in the face of government regulatory authorities including Tanzania revenue authority.
Procurements of goods were just done by simple decision of few board members. Staffs were just paid allowance through cash hence no revenue was paid to the government, and no social funds were paid for staff. These issues disappointed staffs and slowed down working morale. Now, JET pays salaries, also making statutory deductions for social security fund contributions such as NSSF, and pay revenues to government which formerly we did not.
But through AYP funding we were able to hire a consultant who technically developed our procurement manual which was approved by the board in 2015. Now, all procurement procedures are transparent and adhered as the result staff working morale has increased something which is critical in terms of overall performance of the organization.
JET follows right procedures for purchasing of goods, consultants and training facilitators, but mostly significant outcome under this is the credibility that JET gets from other potential donor. The resent due diligence conducted by Strategic Connecting Nairobi Kenya Company forthe extractive industry funding program has commended for JET organizational development efforts after comparing the recent and previous assessment findings.
Front Cover of JET's new Financial Regulation Manual
Outstanding project results from strong M&E system
On his part, Augustino Munuma who is the M&E officer says that JET did not have such a system although it had been implementing many projects with various partners. This, to a great extent affected the performance of the organisation in terms of results reporting in its donor funded projects.
“CARE International in Tanzania helped us to establish the system and since 2014 when the system was introduced we have recorded tremendous success in implementing our projects because we are able to monitor and evaluate our activities and take corrective measures whenever the need arises,” he says.
Mr. Munuma explains further that besides establishing JET M&E system, JET has gained other learning benefits from its partnership with CARE International in Tanzania including adopting few best practices from Care such as holding of monthly feedback meetings within the organisation, the usual practice was that rarely staff shared field or activity reports but now all staff regularly meet to discuss a range of issues including proposal, work plans, activity feedbacks to mention a few.
Participants of Focus Group Discussion conducted by JET M& E officer in Mbarali with CBOs network Clear cut of roles and responsibilities amongst staff
JET is now operating under developed human resource manual which requires each staff to have contract with job description in it which shows individual staff roles and responsibilities. Unlike before where JET operated with weak contracts unfriendly to workers and the employers in the face of legal procedures.
Also there is no doubt that working with CARE has improved our internal communication and sharing of duties and responsibilities. Formerly it was like one-man-does-all type of administration in the sense that the responsibility of running the affairs of the association rested on the executive director and the office secretary. But now these responsibilities are spread between the executive director, the M&E officer, the communications officer, the finance and admin officer and the office secretary.
JET office secretary Rebecca Hingi, said that since working with CARE she has been carrying a lighter burden because of the distribution of duties and responsibilities among the staff members.
“Sharing of information among the staff has also improved because people who attend meetings, workshops or seminars, call a meeting of all staff members when they come back during which they give feedback on what has transpired during those meetings. As a result, we have become more aware and more knowledgeable about issues related to the organisation’s activities with our partners” she says, adding that this was not formerly the case.
On his part, JET executive director says that as an institution, working with CARE International has taken JET to a higher level in terms of performance and networking with other partners.JET's new human resource manual
Increased Local, Regional and international networking
In partnership with CARE International in Tanzania, JET has managed to link up and work with pastoralist and farmers groups, a relationship that has also brought about tangible results. Through training and professional support, JET has strengthened its relationship with regional press clubs in Mbeya, Iringa, Lindi and Coast regions. Mr. John Chikomo, who is executive director, said that JET has worked very closely with district councils and some village governments in Mbeya, Iringa, Lindi and Pwani regions as a result of the partnership with CARE.
“For the first time we have been able to participate in a joint review of the Universal Periodic Review, something which we had not done before and would not be without the partnership with CARE,” he stressed.
Also during three years of partnership, JET experience slight increase number of members joining JET each year. Example in 2014 JET received 47 new members of which 9 women and 5 men and in 2015 JET received 14 new member of which 5 men and 9 women.
He adds that the partnership with CARE International in Tanzania has also strengthened JET’s networking capacity and earned recognition from other partners. This is evidenced by the numerous invitations that JET gets from various local and international organizations to take part in events and important meetings.
Some of JET staffs and board member in a group picture
More funding opportunities
Now we have in place and making good use of the Human Resources Manual, Communication Strategy, Procurement Manual, Anti-fraud Policy and finance system software, all of which are not used by JET and CARE but also accepted by other international partners and potential donors. JET is now eligible to most of funding opportunity due to the developed manuals. This is indeed a milestone in JET’s operations that would not have been recorded without the partnership with CARE. Example, JET has been able to work in women networking project funded by REPOA (Policy Research for Development Institute of Tanzania) the fund channeled by CARE Tanzania as a result of JET aptitude in working with vulnerable women at district level.
Theproject targets to promote women economic and social well being through strengthening networking among poor women. The project has provided mobile phone to 160 women 60 in Kilwa and 100 Rufiji and has 240 more to be facilitated this year (2016).
All in all JET is now eligible to donors’ condition, and several proposals are in reviews such as conservation education and planting of multipurpose tree species for sustainable environmental conservation and poverty alleviation in Tanga district- potential donor is friend of Tanzania. The legend challenge fund on land management, National sanitation Campaign project directed to Minnie Hildebrand South Africa.