Social Accountability Monitoring (SAM) or Public Expenditure Tracking System (PETS) is a process of constructive engagement between organized citizens and government in checking the conduct and performance of public services as they use public resources to deliver such services, improve community welfare, and protect people’s rights.
Through SAM/PETS processes, smallholder farmers are connected to their government. The process sustains their meaningful participation in decision-making that affects their most immediate needs, especially in agriculture, health, education and community infrastructure (water, electricity common markets).
To build understanding of advocacy skills to smallholder farmers and members of MVIWATA through SAM/PETS, Mtandao wa Vikundi vya Wakulima Tanzania – MVIWATA organised a four days trainings in five districts in mid-August 2020. The trainings were conducted in Kongwa Dodoma region, Mbozi in Songwe Region, Momba in Songwe region, Kalambo in Rukwa region and Songea rural in Ruvuma region.
The trainings had more than 250 smallholder farmers’ members of MVIWATA as participants as well as government officers including District Commissioners (DCs), District Agriculture, Irrigation and Cooperative Officers (DAICOs), District Planning Officers (DPOs) and village leaders.
The SAM/PETS trainings were facilitated by MVIWATA Staffs and members in one side and Government Officers on the other side. The trainings featured theoretical understanding of the principles of SAM/PETS, Its processes, constitutional basis of doing SAM/PETS and budget analysis of respective districts in agriculture sector.
In the practical aspects, participants of the trainings identified projects to be tracked, held meetings with village/ward leaders, went through SAM/PETS processes of the projects identified in collaboration with village and ward leaders in the respective villages and wards.
Projects identified and tracked were those in agriculture sector (irrigation, common markets, seeds and extension services and warehouses), health sector, community infrastructures (roads, water, electricity) and education sector. Upon completion of the trainings and tracking of projects exercises, consultative meetings were held in respective district council offices for feedback and recommendations provision.
Trainings on SAM/PETS by MVIWATA contributes to advancing smallholder farmers welfare—that is, the improvement of more than just the lives of individuals farmers and families but that of the entire community, and ultimately, the nation at large. In the same way, SAM/PETS trainings as an advocacy tool for smallholder farmers reinforces basic human rights as per Tanzania constitution, that is the right to be heard, the right to expression, the right to association, and, the right to negotiate for change.
Smallholder farmers who constitute more than 70 percent in Tanzania have a direct stake in the allocation and use of public resources, and thus are inherently motivated to participate in the government’s decision-making processes.
MVIWATA’s mission is to unite smallholder farmers in groups and networks in order to protect their interests through capacity development, facilitating communication and advocacy on policies and systems. Its strategic goal number 2 aims to capacitate small scale farmers to have control of sustainable production system. In line with this goal SAM/PETS trainings as an advocacy tool to smallholder farmers is part of advocacy strategies of MVIWATA in achieving the strategic goal number two and its mission.
“THE DEFENDER OF THE FARMER IS A FARMER”