October 17 is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Sweden's development cooperation with Tanzania aims to contribute to the eradication of poverty in several ways.
Extreme poverty is an increasing problem in Sub-Saharan Africa; while the percentage has decreased from 55.7% in 1990 to 40.1% in 2018, high population growth has resulted in more people living in extreme poverty.The objective of Swedish development cooperation is "to create preconditions for better living conditions for people living in poverty and under oppression." Achieving this requires understanding who is living in poverty, how it is experienced and the underlying causes of this poverty.
That is why we have a multidimensional view of poverty; implying that poverty not only means lack of material resources, but also lack of power and voice and respect for human rights, lack of opportunities and choice, and/or lack of human security. In a rapidly changing world, the work to recognise and understand the various faces of poverty is and will always be ongoing. A multidimensional approach to poverty provides us with the bigger picture and an understanding of all parts of the context that require improvement in order to achieve real, sustainable change.
A person suffering from resource poverty neither owns nor has access to or power over the necessary resources to improve their own situation. Productive Social Safety Net (PSSN) is one of the largest programmes Sweden supports in Tanzania and has a strong focus on the resource dimension of multidimensional poverty. It is a way to reach the most vulnerable, contributing to social protection for people living in poverty. The key element of the programme is the Productive Household Support with an integrated package of benefits and services, including Cash Transfers and Public Works activities, complemented with Livelihoods Support activities. An evaluation from 2019 demonstrates great results for the 1 million +poor households that have participated. The programme has improved families’ access to income generating activities, use of health and education services as well as food intake.
Persons who are poor in the dimension power and voice are deprived of the opportunity to articulate their concerns, needs and rights and to participate in decisions related to matters that concern them. Sweden supports Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), working for all Tanzanians’ access to information and justice. LHRC offers legal assistance and training of human right defenders across the nation to strengthen the power and voice of marginalised groups. Last year they offered legal support to over 12,000 people and engaged in 28 strategic litigation procedures. LHRC not only supports the rights holders in society. Duty bearers are also supported, for example via six legal policy reviews undertaken in 2020. Constitutional litigation of the exclusion of pregnant girls from school is also one strategic case LHRC have taken on in their efforts for equal access to justice. LHRC co-lead the joint work of 228 civil society organisations around a shadow report on the human rights situation in Tanzania connected to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process and shared this with the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva in March 2021. Critical action to advance the human rights reporting in the country as well as to increase transparency and collaboration within civil society.
A person who is poor in the dimension of human security finds their individual opportunities to exercise their human rights and escape poverty constrained by violence and insecurity. Sweden supports the United Nations Development Assistance Plan II in Tanzania since 2017 with a total of 355 MSEK. As part of this, several UN Agencies collaborate in the outcome group “Addressing Violence against Women and Children” that has enabled more women and children to have access to- and be better served by- a national protection system that prevents and responds to all forms of violence and harmful practices. For example, more than 4,500 schools on mainland and Zanzibar now have programming to address violence against children. Through scaling up protection services, the number of women and children with access to services for experiences of violence has greatly increased: at least 13,300 women and 19,700 children in mainland and 995 women and +4,700 children in Zanzibar.
Someone who lives in poverty in the dimension of opportunities and choice has limited opportunities to develop, or to use, their resources to escape poverty. Education Program for Results (EPforR) in Tanzania is a results based program that since 2015 has been working to improve Tanzania’s education sector. Sweden has supported the program from the beginning. Since free primary education was introduced on mainland Tanzania in 2016, one million more children are in the school system. The vast majority of these children are from the poorest families, who now get access to education. Other results of EPforR include a stronger results focus, data driven decision making, on-time payments to schools and more equal distribution of teachers’ resources. An inclusive and equitable education system is generally considered one of the most important tools to empower the most vulnerable and foster inclusive and peaceful societies.
The work to recognise and understand the various faces of poverty is and will always be ongoing. Sweden encourages a strengthened multidimensional poverty measurement with rigorous, applied research on measures and their use for policy making. Since a few years back we support Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), aiming to build and develop a more systematic methodological framework for understanding and measuring multidimensional poverty encompassing economic well-being, education and health dimensions in a global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI).
Since 2018 Sweden has contributed 1.2 MSEK to support the development of a National MPI for Tanzania. OPHI works to strengthen the capacity of the Tanzanian National Bureau of Statistics to implement the National MPI, collecting data on who is poor, and how they are poor, to create a comprehensive picture of people living in poverty.
OPHI’s global MPI 2021 report shows that:
The National MPI is to be used as an analytical tool to identify the most vulnerable people and reveal poverty patterns over time, enabling policy makers to target resources and design policies more effectively. Understanding who is living in poverty, how that poverty is experienced and the underlying causes is integral for Swedish development cooperation and our work to create preconditions for better living conditions for people living in poverty and under oppression and eradicate poverty in all its dimensions.
For information about how to analyse mutlidimensional poverty, click here.