Client: Voluntary Service Oversea (VSO) / CUSO International
Project:Tanzania Local Enterprises Development (T LED) Project
Assignment: Assessment of Health, Safety and Environmental Gaps/Challenges for Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Lake, Southern and Southern Highland Zones.
Project Coverage: Regions of Mwanza, Shinyanga, Iringa, Njombe, Mtwara and Lindi.
Description of Project/Assignment
Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) is an international development organization that works to reduce world poverty through volunteering. In Tanzania, VSO runs several projects in the areas of Education, Health and Secure Livelihoods with the mission of bringing people together to fight poverty. Among the approaches used by VSO to fight poverty is to support Tanzanian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), to help them develop and promote their products and services to access opportunities in various sectors of the economy.
Adlana Co. Ltd was commissioned to provide a consultancy service on assessment of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) gaps/challenges to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in three zones that is, Southern Zone (Mtwara and Lindi Regions), Southern Highlands Zone (Iringa and Njombe regions) and Lake Zone (Mwanza and Shinyanga regions). These regions have great potentials in sectors of oil and gas, agribusiness and mining, which when harnessed by SMEs may increase local employment, enhance local economies and contribute to the reduction of poverty in the community.
The main objectives of the consultancy work was to assess the existing gaps and challenges on management of health, safety and environment per Value Chain/Sector and to design management plans and sustainable approaches for managing the identified gaps and enhancing positive impacts. It has been known that one of the key challenges facing the local SMEs is lack of incorporation of Environmental, Health and Safety Systems in their businesses, thus affecting SMEs potentials to access growth markets, acquire contracts with larger corporation/companies and consequently prohibits their business growth.
During the assessment processes, other partners like Tanzania Women Chamber of Commerce (TWCC), Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (TCCIA), Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO), Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA) and National Environmental Management Council (NEMC) were visited so as obtain high level opinion and strategies of their roles and interactions with aforementioned SMEs. Data collected through questionnaire survey, key informants interviews and field observations were analysed using both qualitative and quantitative methods.
From the study, it was found that Health, Safety and Environmental issues remain important parameters to be included into SME business so as to mitigate unforeseen business risks. Health of the employees is very important to be monitored so as to alleviate the health associated risks which in turn might affect the efficiency of SMEs productivity. Safety of the people, equipment/assets and the products also have to be actively monitored and all identified hazards are addressed and continuously improved. Environmental aspect is also key factor to be integrated into business so as to sustainably improve the business and ensure protection of environment and natural resources. When HSE is integrated into SME business, then productivity increases by proactively addressing the HSE barriers associated with costs such as loss of life, permanent disability to employees, retraining of new employees, damages to properties, damage to the reputation of the organization, diseases and pollution/degradation of environment and natural resources. Further, the incorporation of HSE is important not only for legislative requirements, but also in management of risks associated with businesses that may spill over the work places. Lack of policies, plans, procedures and expertise on HSE has made SMEs conduct their activities based on general local practices.
In addressing the identified challenges, Adlana Co. Ltd had to develop HSE Management System including development of tools and management plans, and conduct trainings for every Value Chain/Sectors to ensure HSE is incorporated in operations of targeted SMEs.