Empowering Entrepreneurs and Strengthening Community-Government Ties: A Transformative Visit to Dar es Salaam’s Federation Groups

In a momentous effort to bolster economic growth, foster community development, and enhance collaboration between local entrepreneurs and the government, the Region office, through the Business Officer of Dar es Salaam joined hands with the development officers from Kinondoni District, Temeke, and Ilala, alongside the esteemed Center for Community Initiatives (CCI), in a significant visit to the Federation groups within the region of Dar es Salaam.

The primary objective of this visit was two-fold: to elevate the status and potential of the entrepreneurial groups that form part of the Tanzania Federation of Urban Poor (TFUP) and to establish stronger bonds between these groups and the government. Recognising the vital role these enterprising individuals play in the socioeconomic fabric of Dar es Salaam, the collaborative effort aimed to empower them further, providing opportunities for growth, and amplifying their voices in policy-making decisions.

The delegation embarked on a comprehensive journey across the bustling neighborhoods of Dar es Salaam, engaging with a diverse array of Federation groups. The entrepreneurs showcased their innovative ventures, from local market stalls selling handmade crafts to emerging tech start-ups with a vision to revolutionise the digital landscape. The passion and dedication of these entrepreneurs left an indelible impression on the visiting officials and reaffirmed the significance of their mission.

Through interactive workshops and town-hall discussions, the government representatives and CCI professionals shed light on various support programs, funding opportunities, and business development resources available to Federation members. These initiatives aimed to equip entrepreneurs with the necessary tools to strengthen their enterprises and drive sustainable economic growth within their communities.

Moreover, the visit emphasised the importance of collaboration and communication between the government and the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The participating officials pledged to streamline bureaucratic processes, facilitate access to capital, and implement policies that fostered a favourable business environment for the Federation groups.

As the delegation immersed themselves in the vibrant tapestry of Dar es Salaam’s entrepreneurial spirit, they also took the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and aspirations of the local communities. Listening intently to the stories and experiences shared, the officials vowed to address the socio-economic disparities and work towards a more inclusive and equitable future.

Simplified Sewer System in Dar es Salaam



As of 2017, the Tanzanian Urban Poor Federation (TUPF) has organized 735 groups in 8 cities and towns. Community-led profiling in Dar es Salaam consistently identifies sanitation as a primary concern for informal settlement communities and the affordability of solutions as a principle barrier to scalable solutions. In 2013, the community in Vinguguti began to organize around this critical issue in an effort to find innovative sanitation solutions. Through a participatory design process that involved the whole community, a flexible sewer design emerged. Savings groups mobilized their members to contribute towards the costs of upgrading family toilets for connection to the micro-sewer.


To arrive at the design, the Vingunguti community together with the Tanzania SDI Alliance, Ardhi University, and the local municipality conducted a joint feasibility study. The gathering of various actors and organizations allowed for a constant exchange of ideas, knowledge, and planning strategies. The agreed upon technological approach uses pipes with a smaller diameter, an adjustment that allows them to be installed at a shallower depth and a flatter gradient than the conventional sewer system. This approach is far less labor intensive, disruptive, or expensive than conventional sewer systems. During the pilot phase, 230 people (44 households) were connected.


With the pilot phase complete, a strong demand from other households emerged. The municipality has recognized the simplified sewerage system as a viable option for the Kombo settlement area and officials at Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Authority are in agreement that communities within the simplified sewerage area should be charged a minimal tariff. This agreement must still be formalized with the Energy and Water Utility Regulatory Agency (EWURA). Community technicians have been equipped with skills related to trench excavation, installation of sewer pipes, and construction of manholes. In addition, communities have been trained in low-cost bio digester toilet construction and have begun upgrading or replacing their latrines. The utility company is providing oversight and quality assurance. The learnings from this project will feed into a planned World Bank investment in the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Corporation (DAWASCO) for decentralized wastewater treatments and simplified sewerage systems in the city.

The Tanzania slum dweller federation efforts contribute to improved city resilience by reducing human vulnerability via improved access to sanitation, building skills in construction and planning in urban poor communities, and demonstrating effective multi-stakeholder collaboration.

This post is part of a series of case studies from our 2017 Annual Report titled ‘The Road to Resilience.’ Emerging from the field of ecology,  ‘resilience’  describes the capacity of a system to maintain or recover from disruption or disturbance. Cities are also complex systems and a resilience framework addresses the inter- connectedness of formal and informal city futures. Moreover, it enables a nuanced reflection on the nature of shocks and chronic stressors – recognising that the latter are particularly acute in slum dweller communities and that this critically undermines the entire city’s economic, social, political, and environmental resilience.As with personal resilience, city resilience demands awareness, acknowledgment of reality, and a capacity to move beyond reactivity to responses that are proactive, thoughtful, and beneficial to the whole. The most enlightened individuals and cities will be those that understand their responsibility to the most vulnerable and to the planet. Our 2017 Annual Report showcases some of SDI’s achievements over the past year on the road to resilience. Click here for the full report. 

Evictions Continue to Wreak Havoc in Dar es Salaam

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On the 17th December 2015, demolitions began. By the time they were halted by a court injunction in the first week of January, 1,412 houses in six sub-wards had been destroyed and an estimated 9,900 people made homeless. The government agency gave no warning. People were phoned at work by their neighbours to be told that their homes were being taken down. Tenants and resident land owners had their belongings crushed with the buildings. Food, clothes, documents… were all destroyed.  Those on the site tried to protest but their words were not heard. Even those with formal responsibilities such as the chairperson of the sub-ward was not been notified of the demolitions.

The demolitions took place in neighbourhoods next to the Msimbazi river. Some residents dispersed, relocating outside of the neighbourhood or finding space with their extended family who lived in neighbouring areas. However, some residents have no alternative. These families moved away from the area in the day but returned at night and slept among the rubble. The difficulties are immense. Some families have suffered further. One man died from stress as he watched his house being torn down. A women was forced to sleep out with her two month child who subsequently died. Since the injunction was secured, some families have built corrugated iron shacks in the wasteland that the government has created.

The National Environment Agency (under the Ministry of Environment) ordered the demolitions arguing that this was an area that regularly flooded and the houses were built illegally. Each year, they argued, the government had to take responsibility for temporarily housing residents of flooded dwellings. In 2011, they had relocated some people by the government but few had stayed in part because the neighbourhood was remote and far from work and services.

After clearing the ground, the officials returned to install a sign that informed people they were not allowed to live in the area.

The households were told that the government was clearing the land 60 metres on either side of the river. However, this stipulation has not been followed. In some cases, dwellings have been cleared for distances in excess of 60 metres; sometimes more than 100 metres. At the same time, a public hospital adjacent to the river remains standing.

These neighbourhoods have been in place for decades with many of the evicted residents have lived there for a considerable time. While the government argues that the housing is informal, these are people who have formal water services and who have been first surveyed and secondly charged for property taxes. Recently some organized groups have been cleaning the river but they lack the equipment to clear the outlet to the sea due to a build up of waste against the mangrove swamps.

The court injunction is now in place for another two months.

The Tanzania Federation of the Urban Poor has begun to mobilize residents in the area. The Federation encourages residents, particularly women, to join savings groups. Eighteen savings groups are working to increase the options faced by this group of displaced people. Residents are willing to vacate the area immediately adjacent to the river but are asking that the government provide accommodation on the remaining portion of the site. However many people live “hand-to-mouth”; it is not clear that people can afford to repay.


A Lesson for All: Orangi Pilot Project Visits Tanzania Federation


Orangi Pilot Project is one of the most successful community-based upgrading projects in the world. Over 750,000 slum-based households in this Karachi neighbourhood have contributed directly to the material improvement of their sanitation situation. Through their sustained practical action they have forced the authorities to respond and the Orangi process is now being rolled out in other parts of Pakistan.

The SDI Secretariat has had links with OPP since 1991. When the Secretariat secured funds for a health and sanitation project they factored in direct interaction and horizontal learning between OPP and the participating Federations (Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe).

Given the challenges associated with travelling in Pakistan it was decided that OPP leadership would visit Tanzania instead and that other affiliates would also attend. The exchange programme took place between the 23rd and 30th August, 2015.   The participants from Orangi were  Salim Alimuddin Karimi (Director of OPP) and Javed Ali (community technical team)


OPP team outside the Federation offices in Vingunguti, Dar-es-Salaam


This report provides insights and analysis into Orangi Pilot Projects (OPP’s) exchange visit to Tanzania to assist with the social and technical development of a simplified sewerage project in Vingunguti settlement, Dar-es- Salaam. It was hoped that with OPP’s support the project could incorporate ideas that would allow it to scale up, affordably, to 1000 households. To date 42 houses have been connected and a detailed feasibility study is underway to determine the possibilities for expansion. The exchange, which took place between 23rd and 30th August and also included delegations from Kenya and Zimbabwe, was hence well timed in that the project is still in a formative phase with many dimensions of its scaling up yet to be decided on.

Insights and Analysis



The exchange clearly highlighted the single biggest challenge facing the project – the lack of an organized, saving federation in Vingunguti. During the exchange it emerged that the Federation in Vingunguti was very new and had not, as yet fully grasped the SDI rituals. As Joe Muturi (member of the SDI management team who was present on the exchange) correctly pointed out, “ It is very difficult to mobilize a Federation through a project”. He emphasized how women’s savings collectives versed in the rituals of the Federation should be the basic project building block, meeting to outline their needs, learning slowly and then, when ready committing financially to supporting projects to improve their lives. This level of community cohesion and co-ordination, the most vital cog in the project continuum, is not present in Vingunguti. Rather it is the project, and what it promises to deliver, which is mobilizing a community that does not have a substantive history of savings and collective action. Unless serious investments are made in building the base, significant problems may emerge down the line.

Discussions during the exchange indicated an expectation that the project would be for free – in no small part related to the Tanzanian Alliances provision of the first system as a grant and not a loan (recent correspondence indicates that the Alliance is now requested loan repayments for the system but there may be challenges because of its high capital costs). Over the course of the exchange the team from OPP, supported by the SDI Management Committee, worked extremely hard to emphasis to the community that they needed to contribute financially towards the sewerage system. OPP illustrated this point by describing, in detail, how residents in each lane in Orangi had been able to pay for their entire primary sewerage infrastructure. By the final day of the exchange some progress had been made with community members indicating that they would be prepared to pay for infrastructure themselves.

An important social (and financial) aspect related to the project will be negotiations between structure owners and tenants. This relates not only to building collective action to implement and manage the project but also to negotiating project finance (see finance section). The Tanzanian alliance does have experience with mediating landlord/tenant relationships around shared sanitation – drawing in local councilors. These experiences should be applied to this project.

A further point that warrants debate is the ability of the Tanzanian federations leadership to mobilize the Vingunguti settlement. The Federation in Tanzania is not yet strong and it was noticeable during the exchange that the NGO often fills this space where the Federation should be.  It remains to be seen whether the Tanzanian Federation has the capacity to mobilize this community in order to conduct a project of this scale – and if they do what other priorities may suffer.


Discussing roles, responsibilities and finance with the Vingunguti Federation



i) Subsidies

A number of extensive discussions took place around financing during the exchange. As noted previously, the first phase of the project was a grant. The OPP team noted that providing a subsidy for phase 1 of the project and then expecting residents to finance phase 2 would be extremely difficult – as a precedent for non-payment for the system had already been set. While the Tanzanian Alliance now does require those who received the system in the first phase to repay the loan – this was done retrospectively. Also the conditions and terms of said loan repayment were not debated before construction began.

The team from OPP shared how the simplified sewerage system in Orangi was financed fully by the community, one lane at a time. It was strongly emphasized that the community felt ownership of the system because they had to pay for it – financially and through sweat equity. Construction would not begin before the community had saved all the necessary funds and those who refused to pay would be covered and then later charged double when they wished to connect to the system.  The Tanzanian Alliance were keen to follow the OPP approach by working land-by-lane to mobilize as many houses as possible along the proposed sewerage line (the more houses which connect the less the capital costs) and encouraging them to save collectively for the system. Lane-by-lane technical capacities can be built and new technical skills to reduce costs can then be deployed. Salim from OPP noted that the first lane was the hardest to organize – taking over 6 months for the community to resolve issues and come up with finance. Time and effort must be invested in working incrementally, lane-by-lane, in Vingunguti to build a model which is scalable and affordable.

The willingness of the community to contribute is the crux of the project’s financial challenge. In a grant atmosphere where other role-players (and even the Tanzanian Alliance) provide services for free changing attitudes towards payment will be absolutely vital. In addition SDI has already provided significant capital and technical support to the project (Project capital for the pilot through SHARE, funding for the preparation of a feasibility report and the funding of the OPP exchange). SDI cannot continue to fund a project in which the community does not contribute financially.

ii) Affordability

 There is little doubt that the existing model is not affordable for the poorest tenants in Vingunguti. For a variety of reasons (discussed in the technical analysis below) capital costs are much too high when compared to incomes from the preliminary findings of the feasibility report. Rebuilding dilapidated latrines to then connect to the system has added additional costs that increase the total.  Measures to reduce these costs are discussed in the technical section below.

Joseph Muturi, from the management Committee, upon discussions with the Tanzanian Federation, noted that most of those present at the meeting (and those who have accessed the system to date) are landlords who, he feels, can afford to pay to connect to the system. He noted that if landlords can be mobilized to pay, and costs come down due to technical interventions, then the system could be affordable.   He stressed that intensive negotiations between landlords and tenants need to take place to ensure that rents are not then increased to unaffordable levels to cover costs- leading to evictions. Issues of absentee landlords and those who do not wish to participate also need to be considered.

In the existing pilot not all the houses along the sewer line are connected to the system. Simply put more connections equal a division of costs between more households – with each household paying less. OPP and all the visiting delegations agreed that the Tanzanian Federation needs to work to mobilize as many households along the sewer lines as possible – and that their maps should show all the houses not just the houses connected.


The OPP team was able to provide the young, but enthusiastic CCI staff with a number of very practical suggestions to reduce the cost of the sewerage system. These are listed below and taken from the exchange report:

  • Pipe work: Tanzania has been using Class B PVS pipes while OPP use concrete pipes. The Tanzanian team needs to investigate concrete or cheaper pipes.
  • Manholes: Two to three connections can easily be connected to a manhole. For turns/twist elbow bends could be used. This reduces the cost of connecting each connection to a manhole. Also the manholes are made with C.C blocks, which require technical skills of Masonry and plastering on both sides. The cost of M.H casting may considerably be reduced by in-situ casting, using steel formwork.
  • T–Chamber: The use of the T-chamber will help both in controlling the blockages in the system by tracking any object/garbage before entering into the system.
  • Construction by using local material: The need to use the local available materials which are cheaper as well as encouraging beneficiaries to provide building material that they might have. The use of the community technicians and youth within the communities reduce the costs of constructions.
  • Attaching the toilets to wall of the house: Attaching the toilet to an existing wall of the house reduces costs.

During the exchange it was noted that the system would remain expensive if, for each connection, the existing latrine is rebuilt (through an existing programme of sanitation loans). A variety of technical suggestions were made by OPP as to how it would be possible to repair and rehabilitate, rather then rebuild, existing latrines so that they can be connected to the system. Ideas included concrete rings to re-enforce collapsing pits and focusing on fixing the slab only and not financing an elaborate and expensive superstructure. Once repaired latrines are connected to the system the social and technical expertise should exist within the community to incrementally upgrade toilets that’s are in poor condition.


Javed inspecting a manhole that forms part of the simplified sewerage system


The team tracing possible future sewerage lanes



The OPP exchange challenged the Tanzanian Alliances position that they had to consider access to tertiary sewerage treatment facilities before starting the construction of primary sewerage systems, lane-by-lane. OPP argued that if the community was able to fund and build their own system, and sewerage from that system leaked into the open (or flowed unregulated into the existing ponds in Vingunguti) it would provide a direct challenge to government to link the system to secondary and trunk sewers. This type of practical action would challenge authorities to act, rather then the common approach in which communities sit back and expect services to be delivered.

Given the previous commitment of authorities to fund 500 of the 1000 connections the Tanzanian Alliance needs to make sure government is 1) reminded of this commitment and 2) informed at as many levels as possible about the project (A precise synopsis of the feasibility document /project plan should be developed to do so) 3) Begin to think through the necessary institutional tapestry that will enable the project to scale up.

In addition CCI needs to retain and foster the connection with OPP – through correspondence and perhaps at a later stage exchanges.


The wastewater ponds that border Vingunguti


Discussing the Sanitation Challenges faced by Vingunguti


An attempt has been made to order these in terms of current priorities. However it is expected that many actions will run concurrently:

  1. Mobilization and building a strong Federation base, in the settlement (through savings) should be the number one priority in Vingunguti. The Tanzanian Federation may not be strong enough to do this alone and the LME team should monitor progress in conjunction with the Management Committee, providing support when needed.
  1. SDI should not invest any more capital into the project at this time. Based on recommendation number 1, the community needs to demonstrate a willingness to make a significant financial contribution to the project. It is simply not sustainable or scalable for SDI to keep investing funds in Vingunguti until the community takes ownership of the project.
  1. The OPP model of working lane-by-lane should be followed, in context, to allow for manageable project units to develop. Even if it takes 6 months to a year the community process needs to develop to a point where a single lane in Vingunguti is saving, mobilized and ready to install a technically affordable sewer system. Technical and social support needs to be provided to the Tanzanians to ensure they retain this focus.
  1. The Tanzanian Alliance needs to clarify issues of loan repayment around the project’s first phase as a priority. This needs to be negotiated retroactively but clearly articulated going forward. It is vital for the first recipients of the system to set an example by contributing financially towards the system.
  1. CCI’s technical team needs to follow up on OPP’s suggestions and report to the SDI projects team on progress – as well an pursue an active engagement with their OPP colleagues. At a later stage this may lead to an exchange for said professionals to OPP but this should not happen until it is clear that the community are ready to finance and drive the project.
  1. The Roles and Responsibilities for the project (listed below) as devised by all those on the exchange should become a guiding document that all parties refer to.

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  1. The Feasibility Study that is being deveoped by the Tanzanians should be critically assessed with the above points in mind.

Scaling up Shared Latrine Options: Karakata settlement, Dar-es-Salaam

By Tim Ndezi, Director Centre for Community Initiatives (CCI), Tanzania & Noah Schermbucker, SDI Secretariat 

Dar-es-Salaam, Karakata informal settlement


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.

Karakata Settlement, Dar-es-Salaam

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). 

Karakata Settlement, Dar-es-Salaam

A compound in Karakata settlement 

TZ toilet plans

Latrine designs 

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 

Dar-es-Salaam, Karakata informal settlement

The compound in which the above toilet was constructed

Community action:

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).

Dar-es-Salaam, Karakata informal settlement

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.   




Citywide Sanitation Projects in Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe & Tanzania Report on Successes of First Year

*Cross-posted from SHARE Research website*

SHARE partners Shack/Slum Dwellers (SDI), together with their affiliates and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), have just published four policy briefs documenting the first year of the SHARE-funded City-Wide Sanitation Project.

The purpose of this research project is to develop inclusive, sustainable sanitation strategies. In practice this involves creating a scalable, bottom-up model for the development and realisation of pro-poor citywide sanitation, in which the residents of informal settlements engage with their local authority to identify new ways forward. The four cities where this model is being developed are Blantyre (Malawi)Dar es Salaam (Tanzania)Kitwe (Zambia), and Chinhoyi (Zimbabwe)

The first year was focused on data collection, including community mapping and profiling. Here are some of the findings: 

• The study in the City of Blantyre found that 9 in 10 residents of information settlements use unimproved latrines, and that the majority of residents have experienced a collapse in these latrines during the rainy season. Most cannot afford the sanitary draining of latrines, opting instead to dig new pits every two years. 

• In the City of Dar es Salaam, the study concluded that the sewerage system only reaches 10% of the urban population, while less than 10% of public funding for sanitation is directed towards onsite sanitation services, which the majority of the population relies on.

• In the City of Kitwe, the study found that over three quarters of households in informal settlements use traditional pit latrines, due in particular to the high cost of installing sanitation facilities. 

• In the City of Chinhoyi, 70% of people in the profiled settlements rely on improvised water sources such as shallow wells and other unhygienic sources, which greatly affects their sanitation options. 82% of dwellings do not have regular rubbish collection. 

In all three cities, the vital importance of the relationship between tenants and landlords was highlighted. Tenants make up the majority of households in informal settlements, and are therefore unlikely to invest in improved water and sanitation facilities. On the other hand, the incentives for landlords to make this important investment are not always eviden

The community-led approach to understanding the water and sanitation situation in these four cities has not only made residents and Federation leaders better informed, but it has also already greatly improved the relationship of these residents and Federation leaders with the City Councils. In Blantyre, for example, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the City Council, SDI partner CCODE and the Federation committing them to work together in the housing, water and sanitation sectors. The council has also set up the Informal Settlement Unit to work directly with the informal settlements in the city, demonstrating its commitment to scaling up action to address needs in these areas. In Kitwe, the City Council has agreed to establish a multi-stakeholder sub-committee on the upgrading on informal settlements, which will include SDI affiliate members along councillors and utility providers. In Chinhoyi, following an MoU in 2012, the communities of two of the profiled informal settlements – Mupata and Shackleton – have now begun to explore strategies for moving forward on the issues of sanitation in collaboration with the city authorities. 

The project is now in its second year, where, building on firm knowledge of the situation in each locality and the stronger collaboration that the first year has enabled, precedents will be developed to exemplify new and effective sanitation solutions. The third and final year will be dedicated to planning to expand provision to those in the city without adequate sanitation. It is anticipated that this final year will develop a city-wide strategy for inclusive sanitation and include agreements with local government that can help provide the foundations for such a strategy.

Read the full Policy Briefing for Blantyre, Malawi

Read the full Policy Briefing for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Read the full Policy Briefing for Kitwe, Zambia

Read the full Policy Briefing for Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe

Landlords & Tenants Relationship in Improving Sanitation in Dar es Salaam

Landlord & Tenants Improve Sanitation

By Ariana K. MacPherson, SDI Secretariat & Stella Steven, CCI Tanzania

One of the key challenges for improving sanitation in slums is the issue of land, and structure, ownership. During a study conducted by Tanzania Urban Poor Federation and Centre for Community Initiatives (CCI) in 2012, community members from Keko Machungwa settlement in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania highlighted the relationship between tenants and landlords as paramount to the success of efforts to improve sanitation in their settlement. 

Most houses in informal settlements in Tanzania are owned by individual landlords and rented to people within the settlements. The landlord and tenants’ relationship is critical in addressing sanitation in urban informal settlements because decision making regarding latrine choice and improvement is made by landlords who are also responsible for investment costs. Despite these responsibilities most landlords have not paid much attention to the improvement and construction of good toilets within their houses.

This report, prepared by the Centre for Community Initatives in Dar es Salaam, looks at the case of Zaituini Mohamed, a tenant, and Secilia Selamani Mbwana, a landlord, to explore the different roles and responsibilities of each party in improving sanitiaton in the settlement. Tenants can provide information regarding available loans and finance for improving sanitation within their respective households, while landlords can ensure that toilets are maintained and that rents do not increase once these facilities are improved. 

For more information on the Tanzania SDI Alliance’s efforts to build relationships between tenants and landlords to improve sanitation at scale, read the full report here


Slum Dweller Federation of Tanzania Leads Construction of Public Toilet

Toilet construction

By Noah Schermbrucker, SDI Secretariat

This is the story of a public toilet built and managed by a slum dweller community in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. What is important about this story is not just the physical infrastructure provided but the socially embedded community processes that allowed for the toilets construction and that will ensure its sustainability. These processes, cemented around female-led savings group, are the backbone of the SDI network and create community “layers” that support infrastructure investments.

History and Context:

Keko Machungwa settlement is located in Miburani ward in Temeke Municipality, Dar-es-Salaam city, Tanzania. It is the home of more than 18,000 people and 5500 households who are living in overcrowded conditions. The settlement has a community market with about 50 stands providing business and entrepreneurship opportunities to members of the community.

The Tanzanian SDI Federation started working in Keko Machungwa in 2008 where 4 female led savings groups were established. These groups have savings of more than 15 million Tanzanian Shillings (USD $ 8,824) and have initiated various income generating activities such as soap making; development activities such as community household’s toilets, community water schemes and a public toilet at the market.

Women are the backbone of the SDI process; they know what is happening in their communities, have the best interests of their children at heart and work horizontally to share experiences, ideas, save small amounts daily and become involved in mapping and designing the interventions in their settlements.

Through an community-led enumeration it was found that although the market had a toilet it was poorly constructed with only one pit latrine and one hole for the whole market. The walls also had cracks meaning that the structure could have collapsed. Discussions between the community at the market place and the SDI Federation indicated that building a proper toilet was a priority. This process involved:

  • Identifying the owner of the land, which turned out to be the Tupendane SACCOS, formed by the traders within the market.
  • Taking the idea to the local government authority, who called the meeting between the landowner and the developer (federation).
  • Conducting a feasibility study to determine whether the project was viable or not.
  • Preparation of a memorandum of understanding which stated how the facility will be managed and how the loan will be repaid.

Another layer to this story is drawing in the local government and including them in the planning process. This dialogue allows for resources and expertise to be leveraged from the state. More importantly the state comes to see slum dwellers as more than capable of planning and managing improvements to their own settlements. The groundwork for future projects and a working relationship with the state is now possible.

Toilet construction Toilet construction

Technical Design and Construction:

We do what we can, with what we have, where we are.

The community and the Federation, with support from architects, completed the technical design of the public toilet. The Federation’s community technicians constructed the public toilet while the Temeke Municipality provided technical support. The technologies applied and building materials used are all locally available and affordable.

The foundation has two parts; namely the strip and pad foundation. A 100mm thick concrete slab follows three courses of the strip foundation. The pad foundation contains four columns that have been installed for supporting the concrete roof portion that carries the water storage tank. The superstructure was constructed using sand, cement blocks and mortar and is plastered both on the interior and exterior. The roof is divided into two parts: an iron sheet and a reinforced concrete slab. Below the roof there are the four reinforced columns that form part of the foundation and support the structure

The public toilet facility consists of three toilet cubicles (one for men and two for women), two bathroom cubicles and two urinal seats for males. The whole area of the project site is unplanned and contains no sewerage system so a septic tank was connected to deal with the waste. The effluent from the septic tank is discharged into a soak away pit.

The Federations role during the construction was to identify 4 Federation members to supervise the purchasing of materials, to negotiate with stall owners with regards to the toilets location and support the actual construction of the toilet. When communities are included in the design, construction and management of a project they will take ownership of the project ensuring its longevity.

Financing and Maintenance:

The total construction cost for the facility was USD $6,090 which was accessed through a loan from the Tanzanian Urban Poor Fund. The toilet attendant is paid USD $29 per month. An additional USD $6 per month is used to purchase detergents, soap and water. Anybody in the community who wishes to use the toilet has to pay a small fee.

The Keko Machungwa Federation is responsible for operating and maintaining the facility; this will be done for the whole period of probation and loan recovery. They report to the Market, local government and Regional Federation. The toilet was officially opened on 1 January 2012. It was agreed that the first three months of operation would be used as a learning period on how much can really be collected and compared to the initial estimates during the feasibility study.

The story of a toilet in Tanzania told the SDI way is a story of layers; layers of community cohesion and process on top of which infrastructure can be successfully built and sustained. Development projects and literatures are littered with “quick fix” technical solutions to urban poverty, but how can any technology work if it is not build on a participatory community process? The SDI rituals create an ongoing social movement that has the capacity to support infrastructure developments – it is the social backdrop against which technological interventions take place that is far more important than the nature of the interventions themselves.