DIGNITY Kwanza - Human Dignity and Inclusive Development
The history of DIGNITY Kwanza began with the sad but inevitable decision to close Asylum Access – Refugee Solutions Tanzania (AATZ), an NGO that was mandated to make refugee rights a reality in Tanzania. AATZ was an affiliate office of Asylum Access (AA), a US-based refugee rights organization. Following financial challenges, AA decided to close some national affiliate offices, including AATZ, in June 2018. To fill in the vacuum that would be created by the AATZ closure, the then AATZ team formed DIGNITY Kwanza in July 2018 to take over the work of AATZ.
All relevant stakeholders of AATZ welcomed the transition to DIGNITY Kwanza and supported the process generously. The people who were the reason for the existence of AATZ, our clients, continued to flock DIGNITY Kwanza’s office to get services. Asylum Access offered the initial material support. Partners such as the Government, UNHCR, donors, and like-minded organizations continued to work closely with DIGNITY Kwanza and ensured that projects, discussions, and plans that were pending at the time of AATZ’s closure were able to continue smoothly under DIGNITY Kwanza.
The founders of DIGNITY Kwanza took advantage of the opportunity to rebrand from AATZ to DIGNITY Kwanza to expand its mandate. AATZ was advocating for refugees to be treated as people with rights, not just people with needs, and believed that once refugee rights are realized, they will be able to meet their needs and contribute to the host country’s development. DIGNITY Kwanza applies the same philosophy but extends it to other marginalized and vulnerable populations in Tanzania.
DIGNITY Kwanza had several achievements, including:
To contribute to the creation of conditions and opportunities for our clients to enjoy rights, live with dignity, attain social and economic growth and participate in the search for lasting solutions to their needs and the overall nation-building.
The geographical focus for the next 5 years includes seven regions, namely, Dar es Salaam, Pwani, Lindi, Mtwara, Kigoma, Katavi, and Tabora. Specific districts in those regions will be decided according to needs. This list of locations is not exhaustive. Where the need arises to add another geographical location, the same will be done.The geographical locations have been chosen after careful consultation with various actors, including government authorities, CSOs, and clients/potential clients. The criteria for selecting those regions were the presence of our intended clients and the existence of the needs that fall under our key focus areas.
DIGNITY Kwanza has committed founding members, well qualified and devoted staff, and a diverse, qualified, and supportive Board of Directors who aspire to see DIGNITY Kwanza excelling in achieving its mission. DIGNITY Kwanza possesses basic office equipment, good record keeping, strong systems, and structures; office policies, and regulations which also cater to ways to ensure accountability, transparency, and sustainability of the organization. DIGNITY Kwanza has a good track record (built from the times of AATZ) which builds the confidence of clients and partners. DIGNITY Kwanza is also a member of different like-minded networks national, regional, and international, including, the Tanzania Refugee and Migrants Network (TAREMINET), Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC), Tanzania Network of Legal Aid Providers (TANLAP), MKUKI coalition. Internationally, DIGNITY Kwanza is a member of Local Engagement on Refugee Research Network (LERRN), part of a research consortium on Transfiguration of Displacement (TRAFIG), Right to a Nationality Coalition, Southern Africa Nationality Network (SANN). DIGNITY Kwanza is also in a process of joining the International Council of Voluntary Agencies and the Immigration Detention Coalition (IDC)