Understanding the Make-Up of Community in Basic Service Delivery Projects: Retrospective Analysis of a Coproduction in Dar es Salaam

Wilbard ]. Kombe, Alphonce C. Kyessi, and Tatu M. Limbumba


African cities are chronically short of infrastructure of all types. The over 70% of the population living in informal settlements in urban Africa are the most affected due to gross under-provision of basic services. While the annual requirement for basic infrastructure services have been estimated at around $90 billion per annum, actual spending is less than two-thirds of this (Foster & Briceno-Garmendia, 2010). In most Sub-Saharan countries, governments are unable to provide basic services to cope with the rapidly growing urban population.

In 2012, Tanzania’s population was 45 million people, out of which 29% lived in urban areas (URT, 2013). By 2019, the total population had reached 58.5 million, out of which 36.2% lived in urban areas (Worldometer, 2018). Rapid urban population growth has generally gone hand in hand with an increase of informal settlements that accommodates about 80% of the urban population. In Dar es Salaam city, the number of major informal settlements increased from four in 1957 to more than 150 in 2012 (URT, 2013) and over 200 in 2017 (Kombe, 2017). The capacity of the local governments to cope with the timely delivery of infrastructure services is severely constrained.

For example, the density of paved roads in Africa is less than one-quarter of that in other low-income regions (Foster & Briceno-Garmendia, 2010). In many sub-Saharan African cities, roads constitute only about 10% of the built-up area, whereas they constitute about 30% in well-connected large cities (Kyessi, McGranahan, Osman, & Steel, 2019).

Access to clean water supply increased from 68% in 1999 to 86% in 2015, benefiting particularly inner areas of urban centres. Flowever, most of the peri-urban areas still lack public piped water systems (Msigwa, 2013). Connection to sewerage networks in urban areas was only 20% in 2012 (URT, 2013). In 2015 about 41.5% of urban households in Tanzania had open ditches and only 13.3% used closed ditches for storm water drainage; the rest (45.2%), had no access to storm water drains.

The Community Development Policy of Tanzania (URT, 1996, p. 4) proposes that in older to achieve development, people must be enabled to develop their capacity, to identify their problems, and to plan ways to solve them. In addition, they must be helped enhance their desire to participate in decision-making related to greater social and economic development.

Overall, community involvement fosters local development activities. However, public services delivery projects in the Global South, rarely consider the social composition of local communities. Generally, traditional infrastructure improvement projects have been driven by the target to improve services based on the generalisation that communities in project areas are homogenous entities. This is particularly the case in large and medium size provider and enabler model projects,1 such as the sites and services and squatter upgrading (SSSU) projects that took place from the 1960s up to the 1980s and in the community infrastructure upgrading programmes (CIUPs) of the 1990s. As a result, the interventions, such as the CIUPs and SSSU comprised project-based actions with the public sector, i.e. central government taking the lead in the initiation, design, and implementation of projects limiting the use of social and economic opportunities accrued by local communities.

In the 1990s, the need to reduce poverty, strengthen governance and build the capacity of the local governments, the communities and civil societies became a key concern internationally that led to infrastructure improvement projects in African cities supported by the World Bank (Stren, 2014). Engagement with the local communities in design, implementation, and maintenance of basic infrastructure services, inter alia, aimed to enhance ownership and make improvements of basic services responsive to the needs of the beneficiary users (ibid).

However, in line with the new liberal economic policies of the 1980s and 1990s emphasis was also given to the engagement of the private contractors in the execution of infrastructure projects. As a result, most of the cash benefits from project implementation activities did not profit the most needy community members, such as the unemployed women, men, and youths. Most infrastructure improvement projects were undertaken without understanding the community composition attributes, such as local institutions and capacity (Paul, 1987; Fekade, 1994, p. 51 referring to Uphoff, 1986, p. 8; and Kyessi, 2011, p. 92), local resources potentials (Kyessi, 2011, p. 92); socio-cultural and political structures (Kyessi, 2011, p. 102; UNCHS, 1994) or cross-sectoral and multi-level partnerships and networks (Liickenkotter, Fieger, & Roger, 1994; Esman & Uphoff, 1984). Natakun (2013) underscores the importance of genuine engagement of communities in local development activities, noting that genuine engagement only occurs when a community is empowered to take charge of the development activities.

Community composition matters, including the heterogeneity and homogeneity of most communities and their implication on the delivery of common goods (Thomson & Freudenberger, 1997). The heterogeneity or homogeneity of a community is both a potential and a constraint. This, inter alia, depends on the informed understanding of the nature of heterogeneity or homogeneity and other characteristics of communities to include socio-cultural, institutional, and partnership attributes. The provision of selective incentives to community or social groups within communities may also motivate individuals or groups to participate (Olson, 1971).

This chapter argues that appreciating and understanding the attributes that make-up local communities and their organizations are two critical entry points to address the limitations of conventional participatory approaches and their inability to benefit the most needy.

148 Wilbard ). Kombe, Alphonce C. Kyessi, and Tatu M. Limbumba

The Approach

The paper draws data from larger studies carried out on the coproduction of basic infrastructure delivery in Hanna Nassif, an informal settlement in Dar es Salaam City. A case study approach, focusing on qualitative methods, was applied and a review of available quantitative data was carried out. Basic infrastructure services delivered 25 years ago through coproduction methodologies included construction of murrain access roads and storm water drains, water supply, and solid water collection systems. Overall, the project succeeded in improving the physical and socio-economic wellbeing of the inhabitants.

Location and Selection of Hanna Nassif

Hanna Nassif is located four kilometres from the Dar es Salaam City Centre. Most migrants settled in the area in the 1970s, mainly in order to access low-skilled employment opportunities within and around the central business district (CBD) area such as the Kariakoo market and the commercial-residential area, the port, the railway station, and the up market residential areas of Kinondoni, Oysterbay, and Regent Estate (Figure 11.1). According to the Tanzania National Census (2012), Hanna Nassif had a population of about 37,115 (17,978 males and 19,137 females) and a household size of about 3.7 (URT, 2013). In 1994 there were about 19,000 people and by 2000 the population had risen to 22,000 (Kombe & Kreibich, 2000). Continued population growth has exerted increasing pressure on land, increasing flooding incidences on the low lying southern area of the settlement, putting the life of many inhabitants at the risk of floods.

Hanna Nassif was deemed an appropriate case study because the nature of participatory processes applied to deliver basic infrastructure services depicted many features of co-

Location of Hanna Nassif in Dar es Salaam City Source

FIGURE 11.1 Location of Hanna Nassif in Dar es Salaam City Source: Google Map — Openstreet Map 2020

production. These include the establishment of a consortium of partners from the public, private, and popular sector who came together to coproduce the basic infrastructure services with the community; extensive capacity of building and empowerment activities to enable the local community to play an active role in decision-making matters of the project; and the existence of multiple stakeholders platforms for negotiating, dialoguing, and mobilisation. Multiple platforms facilitated social learning for local and external partners, including the project steering meetings, the meeting of the various committees of the Hanna Nassif HNCDA, community assembly meetings, the joint meeting involving the technical support team (TST) and HNCDA leaders, and the various training and on-site learning. Hanna Nassif is the first urban settlement in the country where labour-intensive construction technologies were successfully applied to co-improve the basic infrastructure and overall socio-economic wellbeing of the community. The composition of the population in the settlement was highly heterogeneous, accommodating people of varying socio-cultural backgrounds. Because of the proximity to the city centre, for decades it has received a lot of immigrants from other regions. The heterogeneity added much value to the selection of the areas.

Data Collection and Analysis

In order to obtain data and information, a documentary review covered past and on-going development in the settlement. Documentary sources included the evaluation report and other published materials on the original Hanna Nassif project. The aforementioned reports and publications were complemented by: (i) face-to-face interviews with community-based organization (CBO) members and project technical staff - engineers, planners, animators, and environmentalists, especially those who were involved in the projects during the implementation - in total 24 persons were interviewed; (ii) Focus Group Discussion (FGD) purposefully selected women (5) and men (5); local ward leaders, and opinion leaders (7). These possessed lived experiences about the area and helpful information on how the co-production process was executed, including roles played by the different actors. FGDs questions focused on individual and collective perceptions on socio-cultural attributes, including norms and values (individual or group) that facilitated or impeded the coproduction of basic infrastructure sendees in the area. Respondents were also asked about the local assets and knowledge brought into or leamt from the project. One of the authors of this chapter was also an active participant in the original project. This offered a unique methodological opportunity to participate in the critical retrospective analysis of the coproduction of basic services in the settlement. Interviews carried out with the persons who were involved in the implementation of the project both community members and technical staff provided first-hand information and experience. In order to enhance attribution, a triangulation was done using these data sources and the documentary materials. The research technical advisory team (six members) comprising engineers, planners, animators, and Mtaa and Ward leaders also helped to verify the findings.

Conceptual Framing

Despite their varying socio-economic status, communities possess resources, including material and non-material attributes or assets such as their labour; health; (local) knowledge and skills; networks and access to natural resources (Rakodi & Lloyd-Jones, 2002). These influence successes and failures among communities involved in basic infrastructure services delivery and other local development initiatives. Such attributes differentiate communities and make a difference if adequately understood. Individuals, families, groups, and communities in general, draw and bank on these assets to access their individual or collective needs (Ellis, 2000). Local formal and informal institutions include local organizational structures, civil society organizations (i.e. VICOBA and UPATU associations that exist in many urban communities in Tanzania), as well as CBOs.2 These institutions are instrumental in fragile informal settlements that are growing rapidly and in unregulated fashion (Kombe & Kreibich, 2006). Research has shown that such institutions can improve the general wellbeing of communities by putting in place norms and values replicated through social regulatory processes. Institutions at the grassroots level are instrumental to galvanise the social capital required to improve infrastructure services (ibid.) and to promote the meaningful deployment of local resources and potentials.

These norms and values may lead to social and cultural exclusion. For example, they may deny groups within communities access to some rights, goods, and services. They may disable group members in a community, for example, preventing women from collaborating and participating in activities that promote individual and collective well-being (Levitas, 2006). Norms and values can segregate groups within local communities from participating in decision-making matters (Bitti, 1992). In sum, socio-cultural, and other resources in a community can both impede and facilitate coproduction of basic infrastructure services in low income settlements. Collectively, these attributes define power relations among the local actors as well as show how and why some individuals, groups or communities are successful while others may not be successful in addressing challenges, including those which have implications on livelihoods and urban inequalities (Kombe, Kyessi, & Limbumba, 2020).

Human communities operate as multi-layered systems of interconnected social, organizational, and cultural attributes. Such attributes shape the capacities and networks within and outside communities and, thus, have an important role in addressing community felt problems, such as the delivery of basic infrastructure services.

The Make-Up of Hanna Nassif Community

Environmental and infrastructure challenges in Hanna Nassif included frequent floods; lack of basic infrastructure services, such as roads and storm water drains, solid waste management systems, and poor sources of livelihoods among most households. These challenges motivated the community leaders to seek support and initiate a collective action necessary to address the problems threatening the liveability of the community.

A coproduction process was adopted to facilitate the mobilisation of stakeholders and resources. Four community composition attributes informed the coproduction process:

  • • tapping local resources and exploring external potentials;
  • • recognizing social-cultural structures;
  • • building local and institutional capacity; and
  • • engendering partnerships and networks.

Tapping Local Resources and Exploring External Potentials

The delivery of public services inevitably requires mobilisation of a variety of resources, including finances, human, equipment, etc. The type of resources depends on the project context, i.e. how, where and to whom the required services have to be delivered. This includes the type of services required by the community and the needs and interests of the partners.

The Hanna Nassif project mobilised and used human and financial resources available both within and outside the community. Unlike many conventional infrastructure development or improvement projects, the idea was not to collaborate with the women and the men in the community as “recipients of services” but as active partners with wide range of rights and responsibilities, who contributed in-kind and in-cash (i.e. finances, unpaid labour contribution of leadership, local knowledge and skills). Kyessi (2011, p. 53) states that the project was built on the assumption that basic infrastructure could not be provided by relying on external resources only.

The Hanna Nassif community made a significant in-kind contribution that included land (unquantified) and labour required to improve basic infrastructure services. Each person, both men and women, employed in the project execution was required to contribute 20% of their daily wage of TShs 1500 (USD2.60 in 1998) to the project. Other non-monetary contributions included work by unpaid community leaders, labour by the HNCDA; and the work of other community members who volunteered to carry out non-construction activities, such as mobilisation and sensitisation activities. Local authorities’ contribution was largely in kind, for example, participation in various committees and technical support.

The external partners were the International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Ford Foundation. They contributed a substantial financial amount3 in comparison to the local partners (Figure 11.2). It could not be ascertained in this study whether or not the relatively large external financial input in the form of a grant (relative to local) was one of the causes of the failures to mobilise internal cash contribution particularly after the implementation of the project. Suffice to note that the low-income communities deprived of basic services deserved the external support necessary to improve the basic infrastructure services. One cannot, however, downplay the adverse effect this might have had. Past social policies and experiences in the country, when basic services such as education, health, and water supply were freely provided by the state, proved unsustainable primarily because local communities often do not see justification to contribute in cases where cost for infrastructure services have been fully covered by government or development partners. This has also been reported in the community infrastructure projects undertaken in informal settlements in Dar es Salaam (Kyessi, 2011). If a portion of the cost

Contribution by external partners Source

FIGURE 11.2 Contribution by external partners Source: Field study 2019

for community infrastructure improvement was converted into a loan payable over a long tenn period, this might have created an environment for the beneficiaries to feel obliged to continue contributing in cash or in-kind.

Another important point to underpin is that HNCDA developed and maintained strong and institutionalised networks and linkages with the international development agencies, especially UNDP, ILO, and Ford Foundation as well as with the Ardhi University. Weaker networks were developed with supra-public institutions including the Dar es Salaam City Council (DC'C) and the Kinondoni Municipal Councils (KMC'). However, networks and collaboration with local institutions operating as NGOs that support deliver)' of basic infrastructure services in low income communities, such as the Centre for Community Initiatives (CCI), or the WAT-Human Settlements (WAT-HS) were particularly underdeveloped. Lack of strong horizontal linkages with these and similar local institutions was an oversight. Such connections would have supported important learning platforms to uncover lived experiences on the intricacies and strategies of sustaining contributions from the local communities during the post-implementation period. Figure 11.3 summarises the networks between the Hanna Nassif community (HNCDA) and the other stakeholders. Most notably, networks were strongest with the international institutions and weakest with local NGOs.

Recognising Socio-Cultural Structures

There is a significant relationship between the social stratification of a community and its participation in local development initiatives and decision-making matters (Crothers, 2012). Socio-cultural norms are local resource inputs for service delivery projects.

In the Hanna Nassif settlement, women and men were assigned different project tasks. However, the distribution of competences was less than clear. For instance, during the FGDs women reported that “We were also involved in tasks that were traditionally considered to

Web linkages between HNCDA and other partners Note

FIGURE 11.3 Web linkages between HNCDA and other partners Note: Scale: 1 = weakest link and 7 = highest link Source: Author’s construct be for men, for instance mixing concrete, carrying the mixture to the site on our heads”. The division of labour between men and women was not clearly delineated in practice.

Socio-cultural aspects of gender in many African communities carry with them norms and values that may restrain women from active participation in local development activities and decision-making concerning a community as a whole. Moreover, married spouses may be forbidden, by their husbands, from working outdoors alongside other men or at construction sites. Single female adults may be free from such restrictions but this will depend on the open-mindedness among individuals’ attitudes and beliefs.

During a FGD with influential community members (both men and women), participants recalled resistance from a number of male heads of households to allow their spouses to participate in construction activities. The quotes below illustrate this:

  • (...) a number of men were saying that if they allowed their wives to participate in construction activities, then who would do the cooking? Who would take care of the home? For example, do you expect a Mpemba man to allow his wife to work outside the home?
  • (Male respondent)

Adherence to cultural norms and attitudes were often cited as an excuse and only those women who had self-confidence or were poor, who joined in the construction-labour work.

  • (...) Some people and family members discouraged me because it was deemed inappropriate to engage in physical jobs like that; they said what kind of a job is that? There are not many women in it because they will face separation or divorce from their male partners. I was single then, so I did not care and I needed the money.
  • (Female respondent)
  • (...) there was no equality for some of us, because our men were “jealous” and did not want us to work and earn money; they thought we may become big-headed in the house.
  • (Female respondent)

These cultural norms and values and socio-economic factors cannot be generalised. For example, the social values of a group of women (Makonde ethnic group) hailing from southern Tanzania in the Hanna Nassif project, did not to constitute a barrier for their engagement in the construction activities. To the surprise of many, including the project executing team (TST) and the local community, a group of four Makonde women turned out to seek employment from the beginning of the construction activities. The quote below explains the socio-cultural differences among these ethnic groups:

  • (...) the Makonde and Yao from southern Tanzania did not have fears about working as labourers in the project. Unlike the coastal non-migrant community, which was conservative, the migrants from the south, i.e. Mtwara, were used to working in the sisal plantations in (Dar es Salaam) and their women seemed more aggressive than our Swahili women.
  • (Male respondent, ex-ward leader)

The Makonde are a matrilineal rather than patrilineal society, which may explain the women’s self-determination and argument to defy traditions. The decision-making ability of women among matrilineal societies is reported to be stronger than that of women in patrilineal societies (Lowes, 2016). While women may face similar societal restraints, including discrimination, varying identities (religious, cultural, or ethnicity) may influence the effect such impediments may have on them. The quotes below suggest that the households economic hardships among, particularly, the urban poor coupled with the readiness of the Makonde women group to join work at the construction sites, invigorated poor households headed by women. Single unmarried women (both young and old) from the local community sought employment in the project, despite the restraining socio-cultural environment.

Meeting basic household needs, such as meals, was a challenge to some households; some reported that they survived on one meal per day. Narrating her story a woman respondent noted, “(...) my children had to drink Uji (plain porridge) for dinner since at times we didn’t have enough money to buy vegetables or meat”. She went on to add:

  • (...) I depended on my husband for most of the basic needs even for personal toiletries, so when the project came I was ready to work even in tough manual jobs. After all I saw two or three women already working. But my husband was not supportive at first; even other community members had a negative attitude, thinking the women would be “loose” if they work alongside men. But when my husband saw that I was also able to contribute to paying school fees, he became supportive
  • (48 year-old female, employed as labourer during the project implementation)

Young girls who had completed secondary school also reported during the FGDs to face personal challenges due to family poverty:

Since my family was poor it was difficult for me to get sanitary products, so my mother encouraged me to find work in the project so that I could get a few cents to buy sanitary products. It’s embarrassing to always ask your parents money for this when you know that they cannot give.

(Female young adult during the project)

Due to the gradual increase of women who were seeking casual employment, the project executors (TST) repacked activities to accommodate them. Despite receiving equal wages, men and women tasks were distinct. Women were mainly assigned lighter work packages or tasks such as carrying sand, gravel, aggregates, and watering newly constructed drains; whereas men were involved in digging trenches, concreting, and bending iron-bars. Most respondents asserted that participation by women in the project activities was reported to have been sometimes limited by other reproductive activities that women had to engage in, such as caring for the home or school-going children. Furthermore, some of the women who had completed basic secondary education were trained to take leadership roles in their respective groups, for example, in leading work packages assigned to women. Others became leaders in the administration of economic enterprises, such as the micro-credit facility and the solid waste management group. Few were entrusted the responsibility of selling water at the public kiosks owned by HNCDA. Hirshmann (1992) notes that educated women, if identified, accessed, and induced appropriately can help empower other women. The recognition and proper use of social and cultural potentials of the actors in a community can provide important entry and inputs in public infrastructure delivery projects.

The decision made by the TST to recognise the varying social and cultural potentials, and accordingly assign job and work-packages, was central to effective utilisation of local potentials. TST also recognised the need to reach out to marginalized groups especially women and youth groups, and this was instituted in the operations of the micro-credit support facility and the solid waste collection service. These considerations moved towards enhanced social integration and gender parity in accessing income and employment generated in the coproduction of public services in the settlement. Women also established two associations to support the management of their enterprises: the Kinondoni Women Development Association (KIMWODA) for the solid waste group, and the micro-credit facility. These turned out to be important platforms where women and members from varying socio-cultural backgrounds interacted and learnt from one another as explained in the excerpt below:

  • (...) it was quite common for us to work together and form groups like Upatu4 to help us address our household hardships. Furthennore, the spirit of Ujamaa and self-reliance during those days inspired us to be self-reliant, and associate in groups, especially women like us who were bold and had inspiration and leadership skills. So it was easy for me to join in the formation of associations likes KIMWODA and the GDC micro-credit facility; and I was able to further raise awareness and mobilise other women who had already gained confidence from working in the project activities.
  • (Female respondent, a community leader and member of CDC)

Many women who were actively involved in these income generation activities or in the construction activities experienced improvement in their sources of livelihood. They earned regular incomes and gradually improved their households wellbeing. The initiatives taken by the project to reach out and mobilise the various social groups in the Hanna Nassif community and provide spaces for them to participate, negotiate, and transform underline an important observation that the delivery of public services, unlike other goods, inevitably requires recognition and engagement with a variety of users of the services (See also Ostrom, 1996); it is also in the recognition and utilisation of the inherent potentials in the community composition. Of particular significance is the acknowledgement and building on the heterogeneous socio-cultural composition of the community. This is a unique feature that ought to be underlined as it seems to have strengthened the coproduction of the basic public services in the settlement; however, it challenges the conventional wisdom that overlooks socio-cultural concerns in urban infrastructure deliver)' projects. Cruz-Saco (2008) argues that societies are better off if they adopt inclusive policies that reduce economic inequality and poverty.

Access to economic opportunities among social groups in a community is highly dependent on socio-cultural norms, particularly gender norms. In Hanna Nassif, some of the sociocultural norms were overridden out of necessity to meet livelihoods. While all members acknowledged the need for an improved environment, female contributions to the production of public services seems to have largely come out of economic pressure rather than on conventional participatory claims. In any case, their participation changed the dynamics of inclusion, cultural (ex)change and access to livelihood opportunities among the marginalized groups in the settlement.

Building Local and Institution Capacity

From the very beginning, the project expended enormous resources, including time building, the capacity, and empowering the community actors to actively engage/partner with the local and the external partners. ILO trained and imparted technical skills and knowledge skills to technocrats, such as the engineers, environmental and community development officers, and town planners. The focus of the training was on labour-intensive approaches required to deliver basic infrastructure services as well as on the skills needed to partner and work with low-income communities. The training was done at the planning, design, and up to implementation stages. Also several community members and municipal council staff were given opportunities and facilitated to visit similar projects in the neighbouring countries, such as Kenya and Mozambique.

According to the interviews with members of the TST), TST spent at least 20% of the time in capacity building activities during the first year of the project and continued its capacity building activities in the subsequent years. Two officers (a man and a woman) were engaged to support animation and capacity building activities among the local community leaders, members of the women micro-enterprises and members of the sub-committees of HNCDA. The main areas of training included leadership (norms and values) entrepreneur- ship, bookkeeping, organising and running meetings, and mobilising and managing resources (Table 11.1).

The coproduction of public services in low-income communities cannot be accomplished by training and imparting skills only without having partners willing to cooperate, to create networks and to contribute resources. Appropriate local institutions can forge collective understanding and spearhead communal needs and interests. In this regard, capacity building took into account the need to transform the existing CBO (Community Development Association — CD A) into a community-level institution. This was done by first supporting

TABLE 11.1 Summary of the capacity building areas and the actors involved


Capacity built


Community of Hanna Nassif Community leaders

  • • Awareness creation (public and zonal meetings)
  • • Local (tacit) knowledge
  • • Leadership skills
  • • Organisational skills
  • • Community management skills
  • • Community animators
  • • Ardhi University
  • • ILO
  • • Kisii College Nairobi

Local government staff

• Working with communities (labour intensive technology LIT)

  • • ILO
  • • Ardhi University

Work package leaders HNCDA leaders Local artisans

  • • Bookkeeping
  • • Supervision of WPs
  • • Construction skills (basics of reading/ understanding drawings)
  • • Kisii/ILO
  • • ARU
  • • ILO/ARU

Women - VIKOBA and other local groups

• Entrepreneurship, bookkeeping

• Ardhi University

All stakeholders

• LIT operations leadership and working with local communities

• Kisii/ILO

Source: Field studies 2019/2020 and project report the CDA leaders to understand and appreciate the benefits of transforming the CDA into a community-wide institution with a constitutional mandate and legitimacy drawn from collective interests and needs of the Hanna Nassif community. After extensive discussion with the CDA leaders and consultations with the representatives of the community from the housing clusters, a new organization, namely the HNCDA was formed and registered. According to the discussion with the fonner leader of the CDA, before transforming the CDA into an institution (HNCDA), the CDA was generally a weak entity without capacity and mandate to enter into negotiations with internal and external organizations on behalf of the Hanna Nassif community. The CDA had only 12 members when it was founded, but by the end of the implementation of the project in 1998/1999, the HNCDA had over 600 members. “(...) initially, we were only 12 members, but following the transfonnation of the CDA into a community level organization, particularly after the establishment of the microcredit financing facility the number of members rose sharply” (Discussion with former HNCDA chairperson, Mr. Nestory and treasurer, Ms. Hatima, March 2020).

Over the project period, the HNCDA evolved and grew to become the flagship of the Hanna Nassif community and a grassroots organization playing multiple roles to include educating, mobilising, and representing voices of the community. The HNCDA was particularly instrumental in enhancing participation of the community and empowering members to play active role in the project. This was achieved through sessions, such as local workshops, briefings, and community assembly meetings.

Despite the efforts and resources expended to build local capacity, both human and institutional, the Hanna Nassif community did not change into one homogeneous whole. Like other communities elsewhere, it remained an assembly of persons and groups with varying socio-cultural background, economic aspirations, and interests. This became apparent during the implementation of the coproduction project. For instance, the conflicts which emerged, including those that were resolved by the Court were related to differing interests among the community members, i.e. selfish interests among some of the local elites (relatively affluent persons) who saw the project funds granted by the development partners as opportunities for them to get subcontracts and earning incomes. Some community members wanted the Kinondoni District Commissioner to dissolve the NHC'DA, and project leadership was essentially a struggle to access power, resources, and optimise personal gains.’ This is not the story of the foundation of an entirely harmonious NHCDA, but rather, the history of a project’s institutional development that succeeded at times in delivering public services for the community.

These conflicts underscore the challenges of sustaining developmental grassroots institutions and the need for institutional mechanisms to intervene and serve as intermediaries when conflicting interests or differences emerge within and among parties involved in local development initiatives. The project mobilisation officers and TST managed and resolved internal conflicts through collaboration with the Municipal Council.

Confronted with the question of how HNCDA could survive the attacks and assaults from seemingly fairly powerful persons with vested interests or internal struggles to access resources, the fonner HNCDA chairperson noted:

(...) you will recall that I was at times being asked by some rival groups in the community to dissolve HNCDA and step down. Other members of Hanna Nassif were spreading rumours and trying to destabilise us, accusing us (HNCDA leadership) and you

(TST) of embezzling the project funds. This was not true (laughing); the auditors proved them wrong. I knew we had support of the larger community because the results of our work were visible on the ground. Persons with vested interests wanted us to kick out the TST, claiming that thereafter, they would assist us to execute the work at lower costs, and in so doing would optimise local financial benefits. We resisted. We knew that one of them (mentioning the name), a private contractor, had different interests. He had contacted me several times, wanting to get a subcontract. It was not easy to be community leader in Hanna Nassif; but we made it6

The continuity of grassroots institutions depended on several factors, chief among them being the legitimacy of the institution as a statutory local representative of the community with mandate and capacity to address and deliver community needs.

Engendering Partnerships and Networks

The essence of partnerships is the recognition of the critical success factors in public services delivery, such as financial, equipment, technical resources and other potentials, including tacit knowledge, know-how and the lived experiences of individuals. This has made partnerships increasingly an important strategy for со-planning and co-implement- ing public services delivery' projects (Kombe et al., 2020). Partnerships are particularly crucial in low income settlements where local resources, especially in-cash contributions, are often quite limited. In Hanna Nassif, several partners, including international organizations, local institutions and grassroots organizations were mobilised, each with specific roles and inputs. Partnership was sought and initiated by the local community through the leaders of the former CDA. The latter sought technical and financial support from the Kinondoni Municipal Council to address the environmental problems, especially flooding, in the settlement. The main partners and their contribution and roles are summarised in Table 11.2.

Whilst the contribution by the partners included administrative, technical, financial resources, as well as political support; the quarterly and monthly meetings held among the key actors were crucial in consolidating partnership, especially during the project implementation period. Other critical factors that shaped partnerships include:

  • • efforts taken to impart knowledge and create awareness among partners, including roles and positions held by individuals. This was done by organising stakeholders training sessions and meetings (fonnal and informal) and through role play training conducted by the animators during the sensitisation and the training sessions;
  • • inter and intra group meetings and sharing experiences, between for instance, TST/ILO and HNCDA leadership or HNCDA leadership and other social groups, such as the micro-credit and solid waste management group; and
  • • use of a variety of stakeholder platforms - for coordinating and networking within and
  • 7

across groups.

The partners ensured that the priority activities carried out by the project focused on the needs of the local community. Asked about this experience regarding the activities executed by the various partners in the project, one of the key informant noted:

TABLE 11.2 Partners and their roles in the coproduction of basic infrastructure

Actors /Partners

Role played in the project


Residents of Hanna Nassif

  • • Contribution to the project i.e. in-cash and in-kind
  • • Actual execution of construction and maintenance works

• Beneficiary and users of the public services, micro- credit, solid waste collection and so on.

The Community Development Association (CDA) registered and renamed the Hanna Nassif Community

  • • Overseer of the implementation of the WPs and execution of other day to day project activities
  • • Mobilisation of resources
  • • Link between community and the external collaborators
  • • Representative of conunu-

Development Association (HNCDA)

  • • Mobilisation & sensitisation of HN community
  • • Expected to be responsible for operation and maintenance

nity in the various political platfonns and in coproduction processes.

• Champion socio-cultural changes/transformation

Dar es Salaam City Council (DCC), Kinondoni Municipality, and District Council/ Commissioner

  • • Provision of technical personnel to support capacity building of the HNCDA.
  • • Coordination of partners - chair of the project steering committee
  • • Expected to adapt experience from Hanna Nassif project to other unplanned settlements.
  • • Chair to the Steering Committee platform
  • • Conflict resolution
  • • Political support

International Labour Organization (ILO)

  • • Executing agent for phase I and Associated Agency for Phase II. Responsible for promotion of employment creation and participatory strategies in public infrastructure delivery works,
  • • Imparting skills and training on building materials and small-scale enterprise development
  • • Member to the steering committee platfonn
  • • Champion socio-cultural transformation

National income Generation Programme (NIGP)

• Overseer technical and financial management

  • • Member of project steering committee
  • • Champion socio-cultural changes

Ardhi University, then University College of Lands and Architectural Studies (UCLAS)

  • • Baseline study HN
  • • Imparting skills and training of local community members in construction and project management
  • • Execution of project
  • • Monitoring quality of outputs from community contracts
  • • Consultant and executor of Phase II
  • • Member of various stakeholders platfonns
  • • Champion socio-cultural change


• Trunk water supply

• Bulk water supplier


• Associated agency supporting the local government with particular attention on participatory and environmental planning and management in Dar es Salaam

• Member of various political platforms


TABLE 11.2 (Com.)

Actors /Partners

Role played in the project


Foret Foundation, European Development Fund (EDF) Micro Projects and LIFE (Local Initiative Facility for Urban Environment)

Financial support

• Part of the external collaborators

Private firms (Cowi- Consult)

• Provision of consultancy services - со design of infrastructure services

• Consultants

The Project Steering Committee (TST)

• Main project executing agency and coordinator of project activities carried out by various organizations

  • • Overseer and reporting of the project execution
  • • Members of the project steering committee

Source: Field studies in 2019/2020 and project reports

We are very thankful to the Ardhi University, ILO, especially the engineer Kasure and the other technical staff. They trained us well on many issues, and made sure we got practical skills to execute the assigned work (construction) packages. They did this repeatedly until we met the expected level. When we made mistakes, they checked and showed us how to correct them; also when we complained, i.e., that the work package given was too big (compared to time and budget), they listened to us, discussed, and ultimately agreed to adjust. Also they gave women special attention and lighter tasks; although we received equal payments; this did not raise complaints among most of us.

Asked what changes were observed among the community members involved in the construction activities over time, he added:

Before the project started many of us found it quite difficult to meet livelihood basics in our households such as food and school fees. Over time those involved in the project were able to meet their needs. Before, I had no skills or confidence to carry out construction activities. Later, I was not worried. I even trained others by doing. Some women who were involved in the project became breadwinners and they were more confident too, because they had been able to earn own income by working on their own in the construction activities.

The quote above underlines an important observation that shows that the delivery of community infrastructure sendees can make a difference beyond improved accessibility to infrastructure services. That is if the make-up of communities, particularly the varying social groups and implied needs, are understood and adequately articulated in the infrastructure delivery projects such endeavours can contribute towards addressing income poverty and inequality in low income communities in cities of the Global South.

Conclusion and the Way Forward

As noted earlier, over the last five decades, the improvement of basic infrastructure services in low-income informal settlements in Tanzania has adopted several pathways, including the provider and the enabler approaches. Several studies have analysed the nature and extent of community participation but little has been done to understand the heterogeneous nature of low income communities and its implications on the public services delivery.

This chapter has mapped how differences within the Hanna Nassif community shaped the coproduction of basic infrastructure services. One of the main arguments is that local communities are rich in their diversity. Diversity, however, can also constitute a barrier and or an opportunity for collectively addressing severe deficits in basic infrastructure services and the widening inequalities in low income informal settlements, such as Hanna Nassif. Interventions that aim to address the challenges associated with the delivery of basic infrastructure services in low income settlements improve when they acknowledge the diverse assets within local communities to include social, cultural, and organizational assets. Local resources, external opportunities, partnerships, and network potentials that local communities may explore in their endeavour to address common and individual needs may all contribute to the project. Understanding the barriers that are inherent in community composition including those that are specific to certain social groups is a potential entry point towards equality, the optimal utilisation of opportunities, and the improved wellbeing of low income communities. But understanding community diversity is also dependent on a complex process that requires appreciating the wider-community needs and interests that are systematically articulated and placed at the centre of the partnership endeavour. It also requires that space is created for partners to freely dialogue, negotiate, and ultimately agree to collectively address common problems.

Despite the extensive capacity building efforts and unanimity of the vision of the Hanna Nassif community as manifested by their collective spirit to coproduce basic infrastructure services and enhance socio-economic wellbeing, the community remained a heterogeneous entity. This is an important lesson that shows that certain attributes of local communities that are often taken for granted, such as varying interests and targets in local development initiatives, hardly change. Others, such as socio-cultural norms and values are context specific and thus take a long time to transform. These observations underline the need for continued appreciation and reflection upon community composition as one of cardinal principles of successful local development. The study of coproduction of basic services in Hanna Nassif further underlines the significance of local capacity building activities that targeted the marginalized, such as the micro-credit saving scheme and the solid waste management enterprises operated by the women’s groups. These were instrumental in enhancing political participation and most importantly, empowering the marginalized groups and bringing to the fore their specific concerns that are often overlooked. While we appreciate that women may face multiple challenges aside from their gender, the targeted interventions that addressed barriers to active engagement either of women or other marginalized social groups were catalysts to socio-cultural transformation and eventually economic empowerment. More studies are however necessary to critically unpack the complex challenges faced by women.

The findings from this case demonstrate the significance that contextual factors play in public services delivery, including socio-cultural, economic and institutional attributes, in addressing needs and interests among low-income communities in cities of the Global South. Failures to unpack community composition, assets, and inherent challenges is probably one among the most overlooked issues that have limited the impact that the improvement of basic urban infrastructure has had on urban inequalities and poverty in low income communities. In laying open the internal composition of communities in low income informal settlements we sought to point out the latent factors that accentuate inequalities and poverty in the everyday life among the urban poor. The problems that produce and reproduce inequality and exclusion in local communities and their solutions inevitably require understanding the community and re-orienting the development initiatives towards the demands and needs of the communities. An important question that calls for more search for more knowledge is how partnerships can be maintained and communities deployed to sustain local infrastructure in low income settlements.


  • 1 Provider model refers to public services delivery approach adopted starting from the late 1970s throughout the 1980s; whereas the public sector played an active and leading role in the delivery of basic public services, later in the 1990s the government adopted an enabling approach. In this case, it mainly facilitated delivery of basic services through creating a support environment with the stakeholders including beneficiary local communities taking the lead.
  • 2 VICOBA and UPATU are local credit rotating groups that establish a common fund where members make a contribution monthly or weekly. At the same time, one is allowed to borrow more than what he/she has contributed.
  • 3 External partners contributed a total of USD1,656,000 largely in the form of grants.
  • 4 UPATU is rotating savings and credit group; in urban Tanzania, this is more common among women than men.
  • 5 Discussions with former TST members and HNCDA leaders, in October 2019/March 2020.
  • 6 Discussion with Mr. Nestory, the HNCDA leaders in February 2020.
  • 7 Stakeholders’ platfonns refer to the structures, including the variety of the committees that brought together the various stakeholders; these included project steering committees; technical team committees; micro-credit committee; solid waste management committee; or the committees of HNCDA. These were established to guide/provide leadership to the specific sector/issue of the project.


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