“Animation” as an approach, is built on notion that Tanzanians shall realize their innate potential for improving their lives through inclusive and participatory democracy where a collective action is a result of involvement of all members of a community.
“We work with Community animators!” These are individuals who are active citizens who use knowledge and skills in dealing critically with issues related to social justice, they facilitate the process of discovering how individuals and community groups can be part of transformation process. Animators are positioned to strengthen the demand side of accountability, they seek the public to hold local governments to account, enhance justice and local voice and democracy. They challenge “fear” in communities, they ask questions about resource allocations, leadership practices and service delivery processes. They serve as examples by monitoring village resources, actively participate in village meetings, raise questions about village finances, they stimulate thinking about quality and equity in public service provision.
The approach is implemented in 170 villages of the eight districts of Kishapu, Shinyanga rural, Kahama, Bukombe, Mbogwe, Maswa, Itilima and Bariadi where ADLG works with a network of 75 community animators (mainly smallholder farmers, teachers, and religious leaders). Over the past two years, the animation approach has managed to support communities to take collective actions on issues related to land grabbing, village development plans and finances, women’s health and income, livestock, gender based violence and domestic violence, large scale investments and corporate social responsibility, compensation, access to water and education, elections and corruption.
Through mentoring and coaching, animators have also been at a forefront actively supporting rural communities to engage and monitor the constitution-making process. In each district they facilitated the formation of constitution baraza collecting views regarding the draft constitution
This approach is largely influenced by the readings of Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the oppressed” that consider “conscientization” shall develop through a process of community discussions, reflection and finally they (community members) shall be taking actions.