Focus on collaborative research: Risk in Informal Settlements Community Knowledge and Policy Action in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Emmanuel Osuteye's picture

In June 2017 a collaboration was initiated between the AXA Research funded project “Risk in Informal Settlements - Community Knowledge and Policy Action” and Urban ARK's Work Package 3 (led by Mark Pelling and Hayley Leck, King’s College London) to facilitate a strategic action planning process in the light of research findings. The AXA project is led by Urban ARK consortium members Cassidy Johnson and Emmanuel Osuteye, Development Planning Unit at University College London.  

The AXA research was conducted in partnership with the Centre for Community Initiatives Tanzania (CCI) and the Ardhi University, Tanzania, to investigate the impacts of environmental risks on people living in informal settlements and how to get policy and community action on addressing these risks.

The project recognizes that in order to promote risk reduction and inclusive and accountable planning, local institutions need to have a better understanding of risks and vulnerabilities to which the population in their jurisdiction are exposed to such as every-day and small-scale disasters, such as water-borne illnesses.

Under the Axa programme data was collected from two informal settlements in the city of Dar es Salaam’s, Bonde La Mpunga (in the Msasani Ward) and Mtambani (in the  Vingunguti ward), working closely with community residents, the leadership at the sub-ward (“Mtaa”) and the  Federation of the Urban Poor that are active in both areas.

At the end of June 2017, a 3-day Action Planning workshop was organized to bring together the researchers from CCI and Ardhi University, community leaders and residents, as well as external stakeholders from the Department of Disaster Management, World Bank Tanzania Office, Municipal officials and other technical experts. Here, Urban ARK colleagues contributed insights from fieldwork findings to date regarding governance of disaster risk in Dar es Salaam and additional relevant findings.

The workshop was useful to discuss the findings from the data collection which was done using the GNDR ‘Action at the Frontline” methodology, which Urban ARK has also been engaging with. This confirmed the range of threats that community residents are exposed to, as well as highlighting coping mechanisms and what has already been done (by both the community and external support agencies), and ranking the community priorities for outstanding actions that are needed.

The workshops created lively discussion, and led to the development of a list of short-term and long-term priority action points about what measurements should be used to show the realities of risks low-income people face in a way that is practical and straightforward so policy-makers can take action.  Communication channels (both existing and new innovative channels) that have potential for leveraging community voices to be fed into policy formulation were also discussed.

This project is solely funded by the AXA Research Fund ( )