What UNICEF is doing
Investing in children is not only a moral imperative, it also yields positive benefits to economies and societies by breaking the cycle of poverty, hunger, disease and ignorance that result in preventable morbidity and premature deaths, and deny children their rights to survival, protection and development.
To ensure sustainable outcomes for Tanzania’s children, UNICEF’s Social Policy team focuses on:
Promoting evidence and knowledge on the situation of children
UNICEF works with the national statistical office and line ministries to improve the collection of information on the situation of children and women through routine data systems, regular surveys and the national census 2012.
By supporting the implementation of national surveys like the 2010 Tanzania Demographic Health Survey, the 2011/12 Household Budget Survey and the 2011/12 HIV/AIDS Malaria Indicator Survey, UNICEF enables the government to track progress towards the realisation of national and global targets as expressed in the MDGs.
To disseminate information for planning and policy making, UNICEF supports the Tanzania Socio-Economic Database (TSED), which enables storage and dissemination of data from national surveys and routine data collected by various social sectors. TSED is a tool that facilitates planning and monitoring of human development by improving the availability and use of statistical information on key socioeconomic and demographic trends.
Additional funding will enable UNICEF to support the design and implementation of the community questionnaire of the 2012 Census, which will provide detailed data on the geographic location, staffing, equipment and supplies of all schools and health facilities around the country for the first time. Another priority for funding involves the development and piloting of a comprehensive nutrition management information system to inform the scale-up of nutrition interventions in Tanzania.
UNICEF also supports analytical studies to improve the design, implementation and monitoring of child and women-friendly policies. The studies supported by UNICEF on Childhood Poverty and on Women and Children in Tanzania helped to inform policy priorities in national documents such as the poverty reduction strategies 2010–2015 for both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.
UNICEF’s current research on children with disabilities, urban children and adolescents will likewise inform the national policy agenda for children in coming years – as will a study on the prevalence and burden of undernutrition among children, which seeks to establish the key determinants of inequalities in nutritional status in Tanzania.
Analytical studies do not automatically yield tangible results for children, but they can go a long way to help leverage policy, programme and funding decisions that will. Seed funding for policy research, therefore, has the potential for delivering high returns on a relatively small investment.
Tracking public spending and expanding fiscal space for children
For UNICEF’s work on budgets, the key question is whether children are receiving an adequate and fair share of public resources, and if not, how can more be made available and used effectively to enhance their impact on child well-being, particularly among the most disadvantaged.
To inform budget decisions in favour of children, UNICEF regularly undertakes an analysis of budget performance in the sectors with the greatest impact on child well-being. This analysis not only seeks to gauge if resources devoted to programmes benefiting children are sufficient, target the areas of greatest priority and are spent effectively and equitably; it also seeks to identify the main entry points in the budget cycle for leveraging resources for those programmes. Budget trends are examined for key sectors, such as health and nutrition, education, water and sanitation, and child protection. The analysis provides benchmarks of Tanzania’s performance vis-à-vis comparable countries as well as its own national development priorities.
UNICEF is supporting several Ministries in tracking disbursements from the centre and expenditures by local authorities in services aimed at preventing and responding to child abuse, neglect and exploitation. UNICEF also supports implementation of the government’s commitment to establish a budget for nutrition to increase the resources for critical interventions targeting malnourished mothers and their children. In Zanzibar assistance is geared to the introduction of performance-based budgeting and the inclusion of child concerns in the new devolution policy.
Apart from tracking short and medium term budget allocations and advocating for more resources to be invested in the social sectors, UNICEF is exploring new and innovative ways of utilizing Tanzania’s rich natural resource base for the long term development of its people. Funding is being sought for this initiative, to conduct a mapping and feasibility study that will provide a platform for champions from government, civil society, the private sector and the development community to explore the potential of child-sensitive social transfers as a way of distributing the rent and revenues from natural resources to Tanzanian citizens.
Building a child-sensitive social protection system
As Co-chair on behalf of Tanzania’s development partners of the Joint Social Protection Working Group, chaired by the Ministry of Finance, UNICEF plays a lead role in the national policy dialogue on social protection. In this capacity, UNICEF endeavours to enhance coordination among development partners in support of government priorities for children.
Analytical work is commissioned to inform policy choice. Areas considered of highest priority include a mapping of social protection interventions on Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar (to identify gaps in coverage and benefits), benchmarking on- and off-budget allocations to social protection, identifying fiscal space and financing mechanisms for its expansion, and costing a social protection system.
Advocacy, sensitisation and capacity strengthening of key policy makers is another area of support—through missions to countries with working social protection programmes in the region, in-country workshops and training. In the absence of sufficient progress in approving an overarching policy framework, UNICEF and other UN agencies have joined the World Bank and DfID in supporting government efforts to expand TASAF (Tanzania Social Action Fund) and turn it into the cornerstone of a national social safety net programme that will target poor and food-insecure families with pregnant women and children.
TASAF’s Productive Social Safety Net will start in 2012, with initial funding pledges of around US$ 300 million in its first four years. UNICEF is promoting greater convergence between PSSN and other programmes focusing on Tanzania’s most vulnerable children. UNICEF also focuses on strengthening local government capacity for service provision and improving coordination between TASAF’s demand-side interventions (cash support to poor families conditioned on school attendance by their school-age children and regular health check-ups by pregnant women, infants and young children) and the supply of quality services by schools and health facilities in communities targeted by the programme. Of particular relevance are UNICEF’s efforts to strengthen the evidence base for programme scale-up through a timely and efficient monitoring and evaluation system – a critical area where a funding gap currently exists.