News Column

TASAF Sets Poverty Reduction Targets

May 2, 2014

Orton Kiishweko

THE Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF) has rolled out its third phase with the view to reduce poverty levels by half in December next year.

TASAF Executive Director, Ladislaus Mwamanga said on Wednesday evening that the fund also aims at cutting rural poverty tremendously in the next decade, in collaboration with a number of development partners in 161 districts effective March, next year.

He was addressing a visiting delegation of World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) network of Parliamentarians, who visited TASAF projects in Bagamoyo. The first phase of the 10- year initiative will focus on the 6.2 million people living below the poverty datum line, he said.

Rural food poverty stands at 16 per cent of the population and that the objective of the ambitious programme was to reduce the number.

He said the first phase has targeted about 1.2 million households which is being supported to increase the number of meals per day.

According to Mr Mwamanga, each of the 161 districts would have to identify the targeted people to enable the programme to reach them.

At Mlingotini and Kerege villages in Bagamoyo, he said they give out funds to small business groups to help impact on their households.

TASAF has implemented a total of 129 sub projects as well as CB-CCT jointly with donors including the World Bank and the World Food Programme (WFP).

The pilot project is implemented in 43 villages. Mr Mwamanga said the World Bank chose Tanzania together with Ghana and Sierra Leone to benefit from a special fund channeled through poverty alleviation following great achievements recorded in TASAF projects.

The TASAF III is basically poverty alleviation project carried out through the Community- Based Conditional Cash Transfer (CB-CCT) whereby poor households largely children and the elderly are being assisted in order to access social services.

At Kerege village, Beatrice Lyimo, a mother of two is a happy entrepreneur, who has benefitted from her agriculture project and currently building a permanent house for her family, thanks to a loan she got from her Mshikamano group supported by TASAF.

Beatrice, at first, intended to acquire a 'small' loan from her group, to buy school uniforms for her children.

But then, when she realised she was able to pay back her first loan of 80,000/- early this year, she decided to take up another loan of 300,000/- for another personal project.

To her, it is this 300,000/- that turned her from a house wife with no income to the entrepreneur she is today, who gets over a million shillings annual profit from her agriculture business.

"For the 300,000/- I bought an acre of land where I cultivate maize and cassava twice a year," she says. She described her agriculture project as a business venture that has guaranteed her improved income.

Beatrice is one such individual whose life has been transformed by village microfinance schemes. In 1990, over 40 per cent of people lived in extreme poverty, but latest figures in the President's Planning Commission show that the number has now gone down to 31 per cent.

Vision 2025, a government blueprint for bringing about better life, aims at reducing it further to 10 per cent in the next 15 years. Absolute poverty fell from 38.6 per cent in 1990 to 33.3 per cent in 2007 at national average.

The criterion for being above the abject poverty line, according to Household Budget Surveys, is for an individual to be able to spend 641/- or more per day in Dar es Salaam, 532/- in smaller towns and 469/- or more in villages.

For more stories on investments and markets, please see HispanicBusiness' Finance Channel

Source: AllAfrica