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Tanzania: Public Opinion on MDGs And Development Priorities
By Gayatri Murthy, AudienceScapes Project
Tanzanian Public Opinion on MDGs Reflects Progress in Education Made In Last Decade
The survey results from the 2010 AudienceScapes survey in Tanzania helps shed light on the countries progress on key Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as viewed by its citizens. Opinions differ between urban and rural residents, and between genders.
When Tanzanians were asked about the degree of progress made by their country in reaching six key MDG criteria (which are supposed to be met by 2015), close to 80 percent of all respondents said that “some” or “a lot” of progress was made on goals related to hunger, education, maternal and infant health, gender empowerment and sanitation facilities (see Figure 1).
According to the figures released in the Tanzania MDGs 2008 Mid-Way Assessment, actual progress made by the year 2008 falls short of the expected targets in the areas of maternal health, infant health, sanitation, hunger and poverty (Figure 2).
The only exception was the primary school net enrollment rate which, in 2008 was better than expectations. In fact the net enrollment rate grew 40 percentage points between 2000 and 2008 (from 58.7 to 97.2).
Although, for many goals, actual progress has failed to meet expected goals, some progress was made between 2000 and 2008 in reducing infant and under-5 mortality rates, increasing births attended by skilled personnel (increased 1.8 times) and access to potable water for rural populations (Figure 2).
Figure 3 highlights the substantial gap between urban and rural residents in their perceptions of progress on the MDGs. In general, urban respondents were more likely to say that there has been “some” or “a lot of progress” made on MDGs over the past four or five years. This might not be surprising, given that urbanites tend to have better access to such services as education and health, and generally have higher incomes than rural dwellers.
Economic Development Is A Priority, Rural Tanzanians Want Greater Access To Basic Services
The AudienceScapes 2010 Tanzania survey also asked respondents to assess the level of urgency of various development issues (Figure 4). Jobs top the list, followed by cost of living and corruption.
Rural‐urban differences on development priorities reflected differences in access to amenities. Figure 4 highlights the proportion of respondents who cited an issue as a development priority. Differences between urban and rural respondents are highlighted in red.
According to the AudienceScapes survey, urban Tanzanians were three times more likely to have access to electricity than their rural counterparts. In fact, urban Tanzanians are six times more likely than rural ones to receive electricity in their households via the main electricity grid. Rural Tanzanians are much more likely to depend on unconventional sources such as car batteries and solar power. Similar disparities between urban and rural respondents were observed for access to clean drinking water and sanitary services. Urban respondents were more likely to have a drinking water tap within their households than rural respondents (23 percent versus 3 percent) and rural respondents largely depended on communal taps that were active for limited periods during the day.
It is no surprise than that 67 percent of rural Tanzanians cited availability of electricity as a key development issue. Similarly rural respondents were more likely than their urban counterparts to cite availability of clean drinking water as a development priority.
On the other hand, urban respondents are more likely to cite drug abuse, corruption, crime and violence as a serious development issue.
However, there is general agreement that the most serious problems facing the country involve unemployment, corruption and the cost of living.
The survey findings can thus assist development organizations and policymakers to understand MDG perceptions at the grassroots level, as an aid in planning priorities for action.