Community engagement is at the heart of dLab’s theory of change and Strategic Plan 2019 – 2023. In the context of dLab; Community consists of all players(individuals,private and public institutions, and non-state actors) at all levels (international, regional, national and sub-national) who are engaged in data and innovation ecosystems and are committed to bring the changes needed in the society through data and innovation in Tanzania and in Africa as a whole.
Our approach towards community engagement seeks to empower community members to engage effectively and efficiently in data and innovation ecosystems and as a result strengthen the ecosystems. We seek to increase the generation, sharing and usage of data to make evidence-based decisions aiming at improving the lives of the people, tackling of the challenges that exist through innovation and contribute meaningfully in the social and economic development processes.
The overall goal of community engagement is to promote frequent and effective use of data at all levels by making sure both supply and demand sides of data are met by empowering different members of the ecosystem to play their roles as data producers and users.
Local Government Authorities (LGAs) are responsible to provide different public goods and services such as roads, health care, and education. In order to do that, they have to make sure that during planning and budgeting process they have enough evidence to make informed decisions, prioritization and budget allocations.
Limited availability of disaggregated data relevant to the community problems is one of the major challenges facing most developing countries including Tanzania. Most official data sets are aggregated at the regional level in Tanzania and there is a weak connection and some discrepancies between local government data and national data reported by government ministries, departments, and agencies. There are also discrepancies in data produced by ministries, departments and agencies due to lack of alignment in data poduction. This shows the need for strengthening the data coordination which will facilitate standarisation and alignment between sub- national and national level data. This has huge potential to address the existing data discrepancies
Non-state actors including CSOs, CBOs, and citizen movements have been collecting data at the sub-national and national level, however most of the data collected is mainly used for donor reporting. Due to favious reasons the actual use of the data collected locally is extremely low.
The main strategic objective of the Community Engagement is to contribute in strengthening data ecosystem that empowers the community to own, generate and use data. The expected strategic objectives will only be achieved when both national and sub-national data ecosystem are enhanced.