How TCAS Commemorated WCRD-15th.March.2010

Tanzania for the third time in history (2008, 2009 and 2010) has joined the global consumer movement through a strong coordination of Consumers International (CI) to commemorate WCRD-2010 by having Consumer week from 7th.March.2010 to 15th. March 2010 with full of events portraying the theme ‘’our money; Our rights’’ with much focus to youth. The youth were exposed to challenges facing Tanzania consumers in different sectors where consumers spend their money on goods and services, however specific attention was given on financial. In general this years events have provided a wide exchange of information and experiences among consumers, service providers and suppliers.

In 2008 when Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS) commemorated WCRD-for the first time by its self it was like a one man show, this time around WCRD-2010 has attracted many players, we joined in a consortium of ‘’Tanzania Consumer Forum’’ with the following team players;- ‘’Fair Competition Commission’’, ‘’Fair Competition Tribunal’’, ‘’National Consumer Advocacy Council’’ (NCAC), ‘’Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority’’-SUMATRA-Consumer Consultative Council (CCC), ‘’Energy and Water Utility Regulatory Authority’’-EWURA-CCC, ‘’Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority’’-TCRA-CCC, ‘’Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority’’-TCAA-CCC and TCAS

On 7th.March.2010 we had a press conference with media for three hours enlightening to journalists on plans to have a ‘’consumer week’’ full of events aiming to educate consumers. To make the ball rolling there had been media briefing on this year theme “Our Money Our Rights’’ and plans, more so we issued a ‘’press release’’ through three reputable newspapers, national radio and TV station depicting this year’s theme and plans ahead us.

The journalists were allowed to ask question, we believe through this forum essential issues were covered and challenges were discuss including plans to reduce current financial problems faced by consumers. More so to accommodate interests of other members forming “Tanzania Consumer Forum” we had intensive discussion on issues of Consumers rights’ violation and Value for Money reflecting different sectors presented in the press conference for instance value for money acquired/received by consumers when using /purchasing telecommunication, transport and utility services.
Out of this press conference about 27 articles were published in Swahili and English languages. National and local radios and TVs covered events and message-spots showing issues discussed during press conference.

One day seminar was conducted at Starlight Hotel, secondary schools’ and colleges’ students were invited. These include students from;- Dar es Salaam Secondary School (50 students), Benjamin Mkapa Sec (50 students), College of Business Education 20, Institute of Finance Management 30, University of Dar es Salaam (50 students), 20 teachers and tutors from invited schools and colleges (20), journalist (30) and five members of each member forming the consortium.
Two papers were presented; one by Dr. Ringo Tenga, the Chairman of National Consumer Advocacy Council, the paper covered the topic on ‘’Tanzania Consumers; Value for Money, Our Money Our Rights’’

The second paper presented by Miss. Happiness Mhina, the board member of TCAS. The paper covered topic on ‘’The Quality of Financial Services - A Critique From A Consumer Perspective”.

Participatory approach was used by the two presenters as students were allowed to ask as many questions as possible, about 21 questions and some few relevant comments were asked/given and good explanations were produced by the panelist of staff forming a consortium; important challenges were taken and the way forward obtained.

From13th to 15th March.2010 there had been consumer exhibitions whereby all the members forming the consortium participated, during these exhibition consumer education was given, brochures were distributed, TCAS advised different cluster of consumers from youth, old, men and women, we also distributed about 600 pieces of brochures with tips on ‘’rights and obligations of consumer’’ and ‘’tips to consider when shopping for financial products’’. About 1500 consumers visited this exhibition during these three days.

On the climax day we had one and half kilometer street rally from Kidongo Chekundu to Mnazi Mmoja grounds with about 450 consumers participating, led by JKT brass band, youth and the general public. There had been several placards depicting this year’s messages and theme. The rally received maximum media coverage to our satisfaction. Rally reception was done by Dr. Shaban Mwinjaka, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of trade on behalf of the Prime Minister of United Republic of Tanzania, Hon Mizengo Pinda who was busy with other issues of national importance.

During the climax day the guest of honor launched our newly established ‘’Consumers Voice Magazine; it will be produced four times per year, in Swahili language and it will be given to consumers for fre
Youth were the centre of attention in this year WCRD-2010.