In this brief, Lucas Katera looks at the barriers Tanzanian citizens and other nonstate actors face in trying to make the state listen to their voices. He focused his research on the design and implementation of primary education policies and programmes in Tanzania since the beginning of multiparty democracy in 1995. He analysed the content of various publications on primary education policies, looking for the voices of nonstate actors in government publications. He complemented this by interviewing key individuals, including government officials in the education sector, retired government officials who were in office during the design and implementation of post-1995 policies and programmes, as well as researchers and civil society actors working in the education sector. The research concludes that policymaking is a top-down affair in Tanzania, where there is an antagonistic relationship between state and non-state actors. Despite acknowledging, of late, the importance of non-state actors in guiding government education policies, the government often thinks of competition instead of cooperation when it interacts with non-state actors. Whereas part of this mistrust comes from a sensitive state, non-state actors at times do not help the situation with critical and confrontational advocacy efforts.