Annual Review Meeting (ARM) participants in a joint picture immediately after the meeting ended. The ARM was between Sida, UTPC and invited guests from Pemba Press Club.
Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) has described project – related activities, carried out so far by Union of Tanzania Press Clubs (UTPC) through its member Press Clubs scattered across the country, as an achievement of great praise.
The remark was made in the recent past by Sida’s two officials at a project – evaluation meeting, held in Chake Chake, headquarters of an Indian Ocean Island of Pemba.
Speaking in front of UTPC Secretariat’s staff, Pemba Press Club (PPC) office – bearers and a handful of Pemba – based media stakeholders who were in attendance at the annual working gathering, they acknowledged that after having listened to the media stakeholders’ positive views, they were more impressed with development strides made on Pemba the Island, as a direct result of UTPC’s contribution, through Sida – funded Press Clubs Project.
Talking one after the other, Mr. Stephen Chimalo and Ms Mary Bange, the Sida officials, simply showered UTPC with praise saying, for the first time, they are conviced that it is a truly umbrella Organization, which is now fully grown and well established in Tanzania.
At the meeting, UTPC official, Mr Victor Maleko hinted that result areas in relation to activities carried out in 2016 include ‘’Women journalists acquiring professional and leadership Capacity’’, ‘’Journalists’ working and living conditions improved’’, ‘’Public/Investigative Journalism catalyzing participation in development’’ and ‘’UTPC and Press Clubs operating efficiently and effectively’’
For her side, Ms Hilda Kileo also from UTPC Secretariat mentioned achievements registeredduring the year under review as Press Clubs’ capacity to generate income of their own and good governance as exhibited by Press Clubs’ ability to fulfill obligations as per respective Constitutions.
Others are Press Clubs’ capacity to oversee both donor – funded projects and the ones implemented with own resources, payment of Press Clubs members’ fees and subscriptions, Press Clubs’ ability to acquire plots for construction of offices of their own and media stakeholders’ increasing confidence in Press Clubs to a point that they even support them financially and materially
A brief account of PPC’s achievemnets equally suggests that, among other things, the Club has been able to oversee training and ‘’Media and Audience Survey’’ carried out with Tanzania Media Foundation (TMF) support, aimed at establishing usefulness of Micheweni and Mkoani Community Radios.
In the long list of achievements, PPC office – bearers were exposed to training in leadership skills with UTPC funding, modern equipment provided by UTPC are in place, manuals for Club leadership’s use are available and existence of a Community Centre which offers stationeries and secretarial services.
Others include PPC’s active involvement in imparting knowledge to the media stakeholders and government officials on the importance of press freedom and individual’s freedom of expression, PPC’s capacity to prepare project write – up proposals like the ones submitted to LASF and Voice of Tanzania Organizations for soliciting Radio studio equipment, an ‘’Efficiency Auditing’’ was done with funding from USAID and media stakeholders have confidence in PPC
Speaking at the gathering earlier on, media stakeholders expressed deep gratitude to both Sida and UTPC for making PPC what it is today.
Mr. Abubakar Ali from ZACPO, for instance, introduced himself as being one of the pioneers who had worked closely with the Club right from its infancy till now.
For her side, Ms Fatma Hemed from ZLSC said she has been working in close partnership with the Club for quite a long time, facilitating training in human rights, organized for PPC members.
She said equally, during familiarization tours of such law- enforcement sectors such as Prisons and Zanzibar Legal Services Centre (ZLSC), she is accompanied by the PPC members for them to be able to inform the public about what has exactly transpired.
According to Mr. Idrissa Hamis Vuai from ZLSC, being one of beneficieries, through the Club – organized training gatherings, the general public has gained self confidence to an extent that he, for instance, is now capable of expressing his views and speak in defence of others without fear.
Due to that, he said, he once parsued three – week studies at Zanzibar – based Democracy College, an opportunity which has enabled him to easily rectify discrepancies appearing in various reports and fight for peoples rights to have access to a properly drilled bore hole, as water source in his home village.
Giving an account of how she started working closely with PPC, Ms Laila Hemed from MO Education said, as an activist under “Sauti Yangu Mtaji Wangu” project, she once actively recorded programmes in Micheweni and Mkanyageni areas.
But to her astonishment, she narrated, when the programmes were finally aired live on the radio, she was so amazed at how the general public received the question / answer part of the programmes with untold enthusiasm.
She paid glowing tribute to PPC for giving some media stakeholders a helping hand right from scratch, through its training, to a point where they are now able to parsue further studies both at certificate and masters levels.
Last but not least, Ms Leila mentioned lack of means of communication and a newsletter as the most drawbacks causing PPC members a splitting headache. This is because they are now unable to publicise fully Panza, Fundo and Makoongwe rural areas in particular and Pemba Island at large.