Foreign Aid Grassroots Participation and Poverty Alleviation in Tanzania: The HESAWA Fiasco

"The study set to examine foreign aid effectiveness in the poverty alleviation in rural Tanzania. More specifically, it sought to investigate the impact of the Health through Sanitation and Water (HESAWA)program among the rural population of Mwanza and Kagera Regions. Twelve villages were studied. HESAWA is an aid-supported program through SIDA and Sweden. The Government of Tanzania contributes marginally through annual budgetary allocations. Although the program's core objectives did not directly target poverty alleviation, its very emphasis on economic growth and social development among the rural poor presupposes poverty alleviation as an indirect final objective.The study found that the program was, on the whole, a failure. Its philosophical orientation which emphasized people's participation in drawing up the program's objectives, plans and strategies seem to have been hijacked from the very start by the HESAWA bureaucracy as well as some vested national functionaries and powerful local interests. Behind the smokescreen of peasant participation, these interests tended to enjoy most of the program's benefits."