Dar es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania, is a rapidly developing urban area facing a wide range of challenges including access to drinking water; undernourishment; energy scarcity; sanitation and waste management. These challenges are exacerbated by extreme population growth – Dar es Salaam is the ninth fastest growing city in the world – which has put further pressure on local policy makers. Traditional responses to these challenges were largely fragmented, with sectors being addressed separately both by the city council and international development projects.
Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), supported by the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), launched a programme to link water, energy and food resource management in schools in Dar es Salaam. The project was implemented in partnership the Kinondoni Municipal Council (KMC), providing support in the form of financial commitment and human resource capacity. The local implementing partner was the Environmental Engineering and Pollution Control Organisation (EEPCO), who worked closely with the municipality and community.
The programme followed the Urban NEXUS approach which provides integrated solutions to interconnected challenges, in this case water, energy and food security. In order to define appropriate interventions which the project could carry out, workshops were held to gather input and ideas from the community. Based on this ICLEI and EEPCO presented possible actions, which were voted on by the local stakeholders.
The project made a number of improvements to the school infrastructure, including:
- Rainwater harvesting system;
- Vertical food gardens;
- Drip irrigation pipes for watering gardens;
- Upgrade of cooking stove;
- Repair of existing leaking water supply system
These improvements helped to increase security across the three focus resources of water (improved water cycle management resulting in greater availability and reduced losses), energy (more efficient stove requiring less fuel) and food (on site vegetable production for school kitchen or income generation).
The Urban NEXUS approach aims to overcome the barrier of ‘silos’ in thinking and action that exist between different sectors – in this case water, energy and food. Promoting information sharing and collaboration between the sectors can maximise the impact of policies and optimise resource management.
In Dar es Salaam, rather than bringing in a pre-conceived idea of what to implement, the project followed a process to facilitate joint decision-making by the community. This kind of co-creation helps ensure the suitability of solutions and the buy-in of local stakeholders. Still the project relied on favourable political circumstances whereby relevant officials are actively promoting sustainable practices and willing to give support to networks and partnerships.
Though the Dar es Salaam example is a modest project, the Urban NEXUS Development cycle represents a process which can be scaled-up and is universally replicable. It is estimated to be at GML 6.