The CSO Week is the largest gathering of civil society organizations in Tanzania. The annual event offers an opportunity to engage with multi-sectoral actors for the purpose of enhancing partnerships in the interest of steering the national development agenda forward. That year’s event was the fifth in a series of similar events held in 2018, 2019, and 2021, with this year taking place from October 23 to 27, 2023, at Arusha International Conference Center (AICC) in Arusha. The event is the third for Tech & Media Convergency (TMC) to fully participate, and acknowledgedly the best when it comes to the overarching theme which was “Tech x Society: Then, Now and Beyond”. The event brought together civil society organizations, policymakers, technologists, and stakeholders to exchange ideas, experiences, and knowledge on leveraging technology for positive societal impact in Tanzania.
TMC launched our flagship product, the CSA Digital Tool this year, which can be accessed directly at (https://csa.co.tz/) – our focus was advocating for Statutory and Technology Compliance. Our CEO, Asha D. Abinallah was part of the panelists that included Mr. Nicholas Lekule – the Project specialist at the Foundation for Civil Societies (FCS), Mr. Linus Kahendaguza -President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government Tanzania (PO-RALG) and Mr. Charles Mpaka the representative of the Ministry of Community Development, Gender, and Children.
During a panel discussion at the event, TMC’s CEO, Asha D. Abinallah, shared insights about the CSA tool alongside esteemed panelists, including Mr. Nicholas Lekule of the Foundation for Civil Societies (FCS), Mr. Linus Kahendaguza from the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government Tanzania (PO-RALG), and Mr. Charles Mpaka, the representative of the Ministry of Community Development, Gender, and Children.
Linus Kahendaguza shed light on a critical pain point affecting many CSOs—the cumbersome and manual process of obtaining approvals from TAMISEMI for project implementation. He emphasized the ongoing efforts to streamline this process, acknowledging its time-consuming nature and the need for internal procedures to be more efficient.
Nicholas Lekule, representing FCS, highlighted their commitment to supporting CSOs in becoming compliant, sustainable, and up-to-date. He revealed ongoing discussions with TAMISEMI to explore collaborative measures aimed at alleviating the challenges faced by CSOs.
Charles Mpaka delved into the role of the NGO’s Information System, emphasizing recent enhancements to better cater to the evolving needs of organizations. He outlined new features such as mapping, analytics, and search functionalities, underscoring the continuous efforts to adapt and improve systems to support the ever-changing landscape of civil society.
The panel also highlighted the role of CSOs in today’s tech-driven society and how they are leveraging digital solutions to advance both statutory and technological compliance.
The Evolving Landscape of Compliance
The digital transformation has ushered in a new era, where businesses are increasingly reliant on technology to drive their operations. This dependence, however, brings forth a multitude of challenges related to security, privacy, and regulatory compliance. CSOs are no longer solely concerned with physical security; they must also safeguard digital assets and ensure that their organizations adhere to a complex web of statutory requirements.
Statutory Compliance in the Digital Age
The legal landscape is constantly evolving, with new regulations emerging to address the challenges posed by technology. CSOs must stay abreast of these changes to ensure that their organizations remain compliant. This involves not only understanding existing laws but also anticipating future regulatory developments. Digital solutions, such as advanced analytics and artificial intelligence, empower CSOs to proactively monitor and analyze the regulatory landscape. Automated compliance tracking systems can provide real-time updates on changes in legislation, allowing CSOs to adapt their security protocols accordingly. This proactive approach not only ensures compliance but also positions organizations to mitigate potential risks before they escalate.
Technology Compliance – Navigating the Cybersecurity Maze
The rise of cyber threats has made technology compliance a critical aspect of a CSO’s role. With the increasing frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks, CSOs must implement robust cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive data and maintain the integrity of digital systems.
Digital solutions such as intrusion detection systems, threat intelligence platforms, and security information and event management (SIEM) tools empower CSOs to stay one step ahead of cyber threats. These technologies enable real-time monitoring of network activities, rapid threat detection, and automated response mechanisms. By leveraging these digital tools, CSOs can fortify their organizations against cyber threats while ensuring compliance with industry standards and regulations.
Integrated Approaches to Compliance
In a modern, tech-driven society, CSOs are recognizing the need for an integrated approach to compliance that addresses both statutory and technological requirements. This involves breaking down silos between legal and IT departments, fostering collaboration, and implementing comprehensive strategies that encompass the entire spectrum of compliance challenges. For an organization to be able to understand the gaps, the CSA tool comes in place through the “Technology Health Index” kit that can be used to measure the digital health of an organization. By adopting an integrated approach, organizations can create a culture of compliance that permeates every aspect of their operations.
All in all, CSO Week in Tanzania serves as a dynamic crucible where CSOs, policymakers, and technologists converge to address the challenges and opportunities arising from the intersection of technology and society. TMC’s active participation, coupled with the launch of the CSA Digital Tool, exemplifies the commitment of organizations to advancing statutory and technological compliance in the pursuit of positive societal impact. As the digital era unfolds, the role of CSOs in leveraging technology for social good has never been more critical, and events like CSO Week provide a vital platform for collaboration and advocacy in the pursuit of a technologically compliant and socially impactful future.
To learn more about Tech & Media Convergency’s (TMC) previous involvement at CSO Week, see below:-
- Propelling for Digital Adaptation and Transformation at the CSO Week 2022
- Clinic Session: Media Engagement and Digital Advocacy for Social Impact
- Emerging Technologies to promote Civic and Community Engagement for Social Impact: What needs to be done?
- Digital NGO: Advocating for Digital Adoption and Digital Transformation for NGOs in Tanzania