Discussion Review : Understanding NGOs Information management system (NIS) in Tanzania

Tech & Media Convergency (TMC), an advocate for digital transformation and adaption, was invited to the Annual Forum of Non-Governmental Organizations, which took part from 3rd to 4th October 2022 in the capital city of Dodoma, Tanzania, with the theme, “Sustainability of Non-governmental Organizations: Stakeholders should be Accountable.” Tech & Media Convergency (TMC) is implementing its major project the Digital NGO in partnership with META with the aim to showcase the value of digital platforms, explore challenges and opportunities which come with digital adaption, and influence the mindset and action on absolute digitization.

The Annual Forum for NGOs brought together the government, the National Council of NGOs, representatives of the Community, non-governmental organizations, Bank representatives, ambassadors, and other stakeholders.  As part of the released report by THRDC, titled Effectiveness Challenges and Recommendation of the web-based NGOs Information Management System in Tanzania,”

Through the released report, the provision of information, and the online registration system will be improved to offer a solution for those who won’t be able to register in Dodoma. which is prepared by the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) and the Ministries of NACONGO.

The panel discussion held by the Annual Forum for NGOs at Dodoma, Tanzania

Asha D. Abinallah, the Chief Executive Officer of Tech & Media Convergency (TMC), was part of a panel discussion conducted with the thematic topic “Digital Adaption for NGOs and the need to embrace technology.” The other four speakers included Ms. Emilia Nyarufunjo, Mr. Singo Elienea, Mr. Onesmo Olenguruma, and Mr. Rodgers Fungo; the session was covered by various questions addressed to the panel.
“People see Information Communication and Technology (ICT) as optional since they perceive activities without any constraints, which hinders them from holding on to ICT. Underprivileged of knowing the world is transforming digitally with high speed, and we have closed our doors not knowing what goes around the globe. Since we are in the 4th Industrial revolution, we cannot leave the technology behind.” Says Asha D. Abinallah.

Mr. Onesmo Olenguruma, the National Coordinator of THRDC, delivered his annotations on the panel regarding the NGOs Information Management System,”The system has its success, challenges, and recommendations. The NIS system started two years before to transfer NGOs’ physical operations to digital systems. Tanzania is the only country in Africa that implements this digital system NIS; most countries still use the system of Brela. The NGOs information System (NIS) system has four main areas: the registration of NGOs, the transformation of NGOs system into digital space, the provision of information, and contracts presentation.”

He added that the area that performed well in the last two years is the registration of the NGOs, “Before the NIS, only 200 to 400 NGOs registered annually; however, after the NIS, over 700 to 1500 NGOs have been registered annually. Nevertheless, the system has diverse challenges, among are lack of access to the internet to other NGOs, Lack of awareness on how to use the system among the NGOs, and no Mechanism for educating the use of the system was given before the operation of the system, After the technical assessment the system was found out it has low capacity, the system has no data segregation and Language barrier the system is only based on the English language.”

Mr. Singo Elinea, the ICT Officer from the Ministry of Health, Community Development Gender, Elderly, and Children, responded to a question that was posed to him on why the report only shows 5000 NGOs have been registered, “It is known that there are 8000 NGOs that have been registered the system however only supports the 5000 NGOs, the 3000 NGOs are missing due to the infrastructure barrier of the NGOs, Lack of access of information concerning the system and NGOs there are not active in submitting of reports and payment of required fees.”

Representatives of non-profits organisations from all over Tanzania listening to the session which went upto 21:00hrs at the NOCONGO Annual 2022 Conference

The panel proceeded, and Ms. Emiliana Nyarufunjo, ICT Officer from the Ministry of Health, Community Development Gender, Elderly, and Children, articulated her views on why the NGOs disprove change perspectives on embracing digital adaptation; “In reducing the paperwork issues, digital transformation is desirable the NIS has plans of giving out directions on how to use the systems through audio-visual elements using both Swahili and English language in social media and websites.

Furthermore, ICT companies should collaborate with NGOs to encourage digital consciousness.”
The fourth panelist, Mr. Rodgers Fungo, Head of Programs SHERIA POA and Youth Representative NaCoNGO, delivered his remarks; he insisted that the NGOs should have ICT personnel that possibly will help in the mobilization of work and the usage of the system. “There is no system that lacks challenges; however, the system is improved regarding how it implements works. The system has been a big help in increasing the deployment of work to the NGO.”

Digital tools are an advantage for solidarity and the actions of NGOs. NGOs have an opportunity in Digital Transformation since they can sensitize, raise awareness and mobilize potential followers through digital marketing campaigns. The different digital tools, such as social networks, give a voice to people who want to express their opinion and express their will for social transformation, people who are otherwise anonymous and unable to express their ideas and thoughts. While these to some can seem as obvious aspects, drawing it from the local Tanzanian context, we have a long way to go; it is on that note that Tech & Media Convergency (TMC) has made Technological Adaptation and Transformation for NGOs it’s top agenda.

To know more about Innovation and Technology applied by NGOs in Tanzania, download our Digital NGO report “An overview of the Digital Ecosystem, Emerging and Applied Technologies of NGOs in Tanzania”. It gives great insight into applicability, showcases the gaps, and presents a modal for adaptation. For further information visit this link on our Digital NGO Project.