Trust and perceptions of water governance in urban Tanzania

How water is managed and how we ensure universal access to it, is in increasingly important question for cities around the world. Research shows the need for an adaptive and integrative approach to water governance in urban areas in response to uncertainties from natural and political causes.

Increasing commodification of water has led to injustice in water provision, whereas governance has concentrated on ensuring payment of bills rather than access and quality of water provided to the community. Interdisciplinary work at the University of Glasgow, in partnership with colleagues from the University of Dar Es Salaam, has looked into public trust and how water governance is perceived by local communities.

In summer 2021, researchers worked with Water Witness International and local NGO Shahidi wa Maji to organise a four day symposium with invited speakers from Scotland and Tanzania. The event was aimed at a core audience of NGOs active in the water sector across Africa and other parts of the developing world. Discussions centred around how people perceive water governance in Dar Es Salaam, local policy context for Tanzania, overall trends in solutions for universal access to water sanitation and hygiene, and how we answer questions about community dynamics more broadly.

The team also commissioned a series of four short films with interviews with residents and street-level (community officials), to provide broader context for each of the ssions. You can find out more by reading these summary slides, or watching the commisioned films.

The symposium and the short film series were supported by the Capacity Development and Acceleration Fund from the Centre for Sustainable, Health and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods

More recently, the team have received ESRC Impact Acceleration Funding for a follow on project: Inspiring social accountability for water provision in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

The project will publicise and propose solutions to problems of public trust in the water utility, DAWASA, in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. A policy research officer based at Shahidi wa Maji, our local NGO partner, will work in collaboration with researchers to produce policy briefs providing positive suggestions for change in the policies and practices of the water utility. The team will also engage a nationally famous political cartoonist, Masoud Kipanya to produce a series of four cartoons for publication in the Mwananchi newspaper and to host a discussion with DAWASA on his highly regarded and popular PowerBreakfast radio show.

First published: 11 April 2022