Dear ANSAF members and supporters,
Happy New Year. It is a great pleasure for me to write to you for the first time as the chairman of the steering committee.
For those of you I have not had the pleasure of meeting, my name is Justin Morgan, and I work with Oxfam as the Associate Country Director here in Tanzania. As I start, I would like to acknowledge and thank the great work of Charles Ogutu, the current outgoing chairman and Juma Shamte, the former outgoing chairman. Over the last 2 years under the chairmanship of Charles and Juma ANSAF has been able to grow its role in the advocacy space for agriculture issues in Tanzania, increase learning between us members, and also get recognition of this role from government and donors alike. This has been evidenced with staff from secretariat and ANSAF members often been called upon by the government to make comment on policy or review documents. Additionally, the donors have increased their interest in ANSAF and the likes of SDC and Irish Aid have backed up this interest with financial support, allowing the secretariat to grow so as to be better support its members. Sincerely, thank you Charles and Juma for your work on getting ANSAF to this place, and I look forward to the support of Charles over the coming year to help me carry forward his great work.
ANSAF has come a great distance since its start. As a forum, or space, for non-state individuals and organisations who are working in the agriculture sector to be able to openly and critically look at the policy and practices that affect their livelihoods, we are providing the opportunity for cross learning and to identify areas of common interest to advocate for. It would be amiss of me not to acknowledge at this point the contribution of Concern in the support of ANSAF delivering to these goals. As managing agent, they have hosted the secretariat, members meetings as well as provided continued guidance to the secretariat staff to keep things on track.
ANSAF has gained increased membership, interest and resources, and with this comes increased responsibility. As members of ANSAF we each have our own interests in why we are members and what are our expectations of our fellow members and the secretariat. For me, what makes ANSAF so special is the unique position in which we take, being a membership organisation for both civil society organisations and private sector organisations. Our membership is diverse, but this makes the opportunity for learning between each of us all the more richer. It also gives weight to our arguments, for when the members of ANSAF collective stand behind a policy or practice change, we are representing a broad spectrum interests making our position stronger.
Over the coming year, I look forward to providing support to the secretariat to carry out the learning and communication aspects of their role. Being able to do this as a secretariat, but also to support the facilitation of members learning events is an important role. The work of Charles, Juma and staff in the secretariat has ensured that we have secured financial
support to deliver this. Additionally, I look forward to strengthening the role of the private sector within ANSAF, increasing the membership numbers and their voice. Making sure that the forums that we have, be that our members meetings, our website , our magazine or other forms of space to share and learn are not only of a social interest, but also provide an economic interest to our members.
In using this space, I would like to thank staff of the secretariat for their great work over the past year, and welcome a few new additions. We all know Audax Rukonge, ANSAF’s Executive Secretary. Over the past year he has done a great job in raising the profile of ANSAF through his networking, representation at strategic meetings and liaising with government, development partners and parliamentarians. Additionally, Regina Mongi, a stalwart of ANSAF, being with us since 2007. As Administration coordinator she has kept the meetings happening and the secretariat operating. Thanks to both of you for your service.
Joining the secretariat in September 2011, Alawiya Mohamed is our Advocacy and Communication officer. Alawiya is responsible for communicating key messages to stakeholders, advocating/ amplifying the voices of relevant stakeholders including government and development partners. And the very new, Philip Mbega joined this month from PCCB where he was working as Research and M&E Officer. Phillip is Joining ANSAF as Senior Officer Advocacy and Communication. He will organize reports, produce summaries, policy briefs and organize press releases/press conferences. Both Alawiya and Philip are responsible for Ulimwengu wa Mkulima Magazine. And lastly, but by no means least, George Mboje also joined this month from East African Grain Council. George is working in the capacity of Coordinator Budget and Policy Analyst. He is responsible for identifying key/relevant policies, articulating their implications in a simple language to stakeholder’s members (in particular and smallholder farmers through members). He will also be supporting members in budget and policy analysis skills development.
I am looking forward to seeing you all at the upcoming members meeting, and getting to know you, your work and your positions on agriculture policy and practice better over the coming year.
Chairman – ANSAF Steering Committee
11 January 2012