Haki Maendeleo was founded in 2017 and registered in Tanzania in 2019 as a national level Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO). Throughout its existence, the core agenda of Haki Maendeleo has been campaigning for the entrenchment of human rights, good governance and democratic culture in Tanzania. Its founders and staff are among the foremost leaders and activists in struggles for human rights, good governance and democratic reforms in Tanzania.

In our formative years (2017-2018), we focused on advocacy, documenting and publicizing violations of human rights and good governance principles. In this phase, we established ourselves as a vibrant advocate for civil and political rights in Tanzania in schools and others venues, through direct action as well as we have and offering support for redress to victims and survivors of human rights violations.

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Our vision to have vulnerable societies who realize their social, economic and political rights

From 2018, we expanded our advocacy strategy to include social, culture and economic rights. We made a radical shift in approach in this phase that led us to begin developing capabilities of those affected by human rights problems to advocate for their rights. To do this, we invested in community based Human Rights Education (HRE) and shifted our advocacy approach from ‘reactive, ad-hoc, one-off’ activism to more nuanced processes, with more strategic design, participation of those affected by specific human rights violations and targeting reforms at policy and legislative levels.

We plan to develop competencies at community level for citizens to identify and deal with human rights and good governance violations, without depending on our previous interventionist orientation. We defined our role in this period as a facilitator of community struggles. Capacity building in HRE, monitoring and documentation of human rights violations and human rights advocacy were the main tools to realise the goal.

Our Strategic Plan focus on strategies and actions aimed at enhancing community driven human rights advocacy, through building of the capacities of citizens to deal with their immediate human rights concerns as well as engage in strategic actions to transform structures responsible for human rights violations. Human rights-centred governance was the overriding theme of this strategic plan, under the banner of rooting human rights in communities.

Haki Maendeleo intends to engage in “neo-rights” programming focusing on trade, business, investment, natural resources, labour rights and reproductive health rights. From inception, we have engaged in grassroots and national level organising for human rights and democratic governance. We have been facilitating local community struggles to national and international spaces, with clear analyses and actions identifying and targeting local to global structural sources of the violations. Struggles for labour rights and fair trade practices, land rights struggle by indigenous communities and campaigns against impunity are examples of areas where we have realised local to national and national to international linkages

In the coming years, we will continue to consolidate our experiences and successes to expand the impact of our work and play an active role in procuring citizen-led reforms towards a more just, democratic and human rights-respecting Tanzania society.