By Tim Ndezi, Director Centre for Community Initiatives (CCI), Tanzania & Noah Schermbucker, SDI Secretariat
Provision of sanitation services to informal settlements is a challenging task for city authorities and practioners in developing countries. In Tanzania, a situational assessment report (Part of the SHARE -Sanitation and Hygiene Applied Research for Equity, project) revealed a number of factors that affect the improvement of sanitation in informal areas. These factors include lack of finance, lack of appropriate technologies and poor institutional and policy arrangements. Following data collection and assessment, precedent setting solutions are being implemented in three informal settlements in Dar-es-Salaam, namely Karakata, Keko Machungwa and Vingunguti (Located in Ilala and Temeke Municipalities).
This short piece describes the experiences of shared latrines in KaraKata with specific emphasis on technical options, tenant–landlord relationships, community action, co-production and maintenance. It argues that shared latrines are an important solution in Dar’s informal settlements. Karakata is presented as a case study aimed at fostering deeper discussion around the issues presented.
Karakata informal settlement is located in Kipawa Ward in Ilala Municipality, Dar-es-Salaam city, Tanzania. It has a population of approximately 34,228 people of which 18,434 are Women and 15,794 are men. It is about 11km from the city centre and close to the Dar-es-Salaam International Airport. The settlement comprises approximately 7,000 households that are occupied by both landlords and tenants. The majority of residents are tenants.
The Tanzania Federation in collaboration with the Centre for Community Initiatives (CCI) started to mobilize the community in Karakata to join Federation processes in 2011. About 10 savings groups are currently established and have saved more than Tshs 20 millions (USD $ 12,500). A solid waste management program and income generating activities have been established. Like many other informal settlements Karakata lacks improved sanitation and sewerage disposal facilities leading to diseases such as cholera. Improvements of latrines have traditionally been left in the hands of individuals with little thought given to the impact of poor sanitation on the entire community. In consequence action research is now being implemented with the aim of developing and testing an approach to pro-poor city wide sanitation strategies that can be adopted and driven by federations of community organizations, and supported by public authorities and private providers. The research and subsequent precedents explore the concept of community action and co-production as essential ingredients for scaling up sanitation in informal settlements.
Federation Solid Waste collection project in Karakata
Characteristics of households in Karakata:
Private landlords own most of the land in Karakata. The plots were initially purchased from landlords who owned huge tracts of land. Over time the buying and selling of land led to increased density in the settlement. The average household has 6 members but a maximum of 20 has been recorded. As a way to optimize income most landlords construct as many rooms for rent as possible. Renting is the most common businesses within Karakata. Most shared houses are constructed as a compound with multiple small rooms of approximately 9 square meters each under a common roof (see image below). The rooms are often constructed back to back around a central, exterior courtyard. A single room is generally occupied by one household (approximately 5 people). Hence the number of people in a compound varies from 15 to 100 depending on the number of rooms. Construction and improvement of latrines is normally the responsibility of the landlord, however most latrines at Karakata are in very poor condition. Interviews with landlords indicate that lack of finance, lack of knowledge about affordable technologies and negligence are key reasons for not improving latrines. The presence of tenants within a compound can place pressure on landlords to improve the condition of latrines within the compound.
Construction of shared latrines in Karakata:
The construction of the shared toilets at Karakata started with the identification of 9 dedicated Federation technicians. This team consisted of 5 women and 4 men and received “peer-to-peer” training from Federation members from Dodoma and Dar-es-Salaam. Training focused on the toilet construction process. The Karakata team also continuously engaged other federation teams within Dar-es-Salaam.
Pour-flush toilets with trapezoidal blocks being used to line the substructure were the technology accepted by the Karakata community. This selection was based on the technology’s affordability to the majority of beneficiaries. During the construction phase roles and responsibilities among different actors were developed. Tenants were involved in the planning process, expressing their desires with regards to the type of latrines to be constructed. However the landlord, who is responsible for the cash and material contribution in order to reduce costs, took the final decision. In a situation of an absentee landlord, he/she could appoint a representative among the tenants to act on his behalf. The current costs of latrines at Karakata varies according to affordability levels and ranges between USD $ 300 – 600. The operation and maintenance costs for a household latrine is about USD $ 10 – 20 per month. At the time of writing 18 latrines have been built under the SHARE project (7 in Karakata). These 18 latrines are providing services to approximately 550 – 1000 people in 3 settlements (Karakata, Keko Machungwa and Vingunguti).
A compound in Karakata settlement
Technical design of the pour flush toilet:
One of the key challenges in latrine improvement is the lack of affordable technologies. The majority of people who attempt to build use conventional methods that are expensive. For nearly 5 years the Federation Technical Team (FTF) has used trapezoidal blocks to line pits. The approach uses only 4 bags of cement as compared to the conventional methods which can use up to 10 bags of cement, reinforcement bars and aggregates.
Karakata community toilet construction team standing in front of a toilet serving 12 households
The compound in which the above toilet was constructed
The construction of shared latrines at Karakata has involved a number of actors. These include landlords, tenants, and local government leaders who play different roles in the improvement of latrines within the settlement. Most tenants, particularly women, were available during the baseline data collection to share information that was crucial in the planning and designing of the scheme. Their inputs were important in determining the types and costs of latrines to be built. Tenants are the ones responsible for the operation and maintenance of latrines while landlords are responsible for guaranteeing the capital finance used for latrine construction. As owners of the asset, landlords take loans from the Federation urban fund and ensure repayment of the money borrowed.The Karakata Federation has ensured that local government officials are involved at all stages. These include planning, implementation, operation and maintenance and the recovery of loans.
Co-production is a political strategy for the community to improve relationships with, and support from, local government. Since undertaking an enumeration and sanitation mapping exercise in Karakata settlement the community has gained considerable confidence in terms of interacting with government officials. The community has established an advocacy team of 6 federation members who have met with officials thrice to discuss areas in which the Municipality could support the Federation’s work. There is growing awareness and recognition of the federation’s sanitation work amongst municipal officials. This has resulted in municipal health officers agreeing to use the federation construction team in other settlements to train further groups in latrine construction.
Discussions indicate that in order for the Municipality to provide finance to a community sanitation project there is a need to closely involve the settlement councilor. The councilor can then carry the demands of the community to the full ward council. In addition there is a need to register the Federation groups in the Ilala municipality to allow for proper recognition by the authorities. However all these are formal procedures which require flexibility during co-production processes. While the federation appreciates the conventional arrangements for engaging the Municipality they also wish to strengthen their advocacy role through informal forums and Memorandums of Understanding (MoU’s).
Outside the federation office in Karakata
Conclusion and recommendation:
Within the context of increased urbanization and population growth the lack of conventional sanitation services in informal settlements will continue to be a critical, and expanding, challenge. Shared latrines will continue to be an important option for informal residents in Dar-es-Salaam. Key lessons that are emerging from this precedent include: The need to sharpen the relationship between landlords, tenants and local government –outlining clear roles and responsibilities & empowering community technicians with skills to support other sanitation technical challenges such as pit emptying and decentralized waste water treatment systems (DEWATS). Finally there is a need to strengthen federation advocacy teams, developing skills that will assist in engaging Municipalities and lobbying for financial and technical support. Precedents have made some progress in addressing Karakata’s sanitation demand but the establishment of a sanitation revolving fund supported by Local Government Authorities and Ward and Municipal officials would be an important step in lending financial longevity and scale to the endevour.