Making Parliament work for WASH in Tanzania

WaterAid Tanzania’s advocacy work paid off last month, as members of parliament (MPs) united to demand an increase in the national water budget.

21 Jun 2013

The Ministry of Water had planned to decrease the 2013/14 water sector budget to 398 billion Tanzanian Shillings (TZS) –190 billion TZS less than the previous year. However, MPs put political differences aside to reject the proposal, stating that the budget was insignificant compared to the magnitude of the sector’s problems.

The opposition party in particular emphasised the need for increased funding of the nation’s rural water supply programme, where it is needed most. The Parliamentary Committee for Agriculture, Livestock and Water highlighted that the proposed budget cut would make meeting the national water coverage target of 65% by 2015 highly unlikely. To increase access in rural areas, the committee advised that an additional 184.5 billion TZS would be needed.

On May 29 the Tanzanian Government showed its commitment to the cause, with the Ministry of Finance granting the additional 184.5 billion TZS to the water budget. It also announced that an additional 65 billion TZS will be injected into the rural water programme, bringing the total water sector budget for Tanzania to 582 billion TZS.

Advocacy work

Engagement with Parliament is key to WaterAid Tanzania’s strategy. In collaboration with Tanzania Water and Sanitation Network and Tanzanian education organisation TEN/MET, we work with the government to inform and influence MPs on the need for political action to improve water, sanitation and hygiene services.

We have been working with a range of parliamentary groups for two years, advising four parliamentary groups on water and sanitation issues.

What next?

After promising these extra funds for the water sector, the budget needs to be realised. The Committee for Agriculture, Livestock and Water has lead the way, already requesting expenditure monitoring of the budget as it is passed to local governments.

WaterAid Tanzania is also advocating access to water, sanitation and improved hygiene in all schools in Tanzania to the Ministry of Education and Health, who will shortly announce their budget.