Provision of adequate and affordable shelter through housing cooperatives for low and middle-income communities in Dar es Salaam


1. General Identification

Name of the experience: Provision of adequate and affordable shelter through housing cooperatives for low and middle-income communities.

Location: Dar es Salaam: (I) Toangoma and Chamazi for Bandari Housing Cooperative, (ii) Magohe for Magohe Housing Cooperative (iii) Mshikamano no location as the group is still looking for land.
Dodoma: Nkuhungu west for Nala Makazi Housing Group

Author: Tabitha Siwale, Chief Executive, Women Advancement Trust (WAT).

Brief description:

Situation Analysis: Access to adequate shelter is a universal right to all human beings: young, old, women, men, rich and poor. International instruments, conventions and declarations state clearly on this fact. For example Habitat Agenda, Millennium Development Goals etc Most countries including Tanzania have signed these documents.

Women’s rights to land, housing and property are recognized and supported in a number of International and Regional instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and in several declarations.

In Tanzania: At national level adequate shelter is recognized as a basic need for all people and women’s rights to land and property are well stated in National Land Policy, Land Laws, and in Human settlements Development Policy etc.

Reality on the ground: Homelessness and lack of adequate shelter is a common scene in many countries including Tanzania. Poverty, rapid urbanization, lack of housing credit facilities are among the reasons that cause lack of their rights. As well, traditional practices and beliefs are some of the common problems particularly at grass root level that discriminate women.

Role of different stakeholders: The Government, civil society, international partners, members of communities collaborate together to improve the lives of the poor so that both men and women live a decent life. They collaborate together to ensure that both men and women have equal right of access to land and property. Creation of enabling environment is the role of the governments, while lobbying, advocacy, training, awareness creation are mainly done by civil societies. Construction through self-help, establishing of savings and credit societies, application of appropriate technologies are the responsibilities of coops/groups and communities, etc. All actors are responsible for putting in place monitoring and evaluation mechanism to measure success and failures.
All the actors should play their part in order to bring about effective changes in the society.

2. History background and context:

Shelter, like food, constitutes one of the basic requirements of humankind. As such the provision and availability of adequate housing is an important element in human development.

Access to adequate shelter is a universal right, meaning it is an entitlement that should be accessible to all people: young, old women, men, rich and poor. Access to safe and healthy shelter and basic services is essential to all people’s physical, psychological, social and economic well – being.

The right to adequate shelter has been recognised and enshrined in numerous international instruments and conventions, supported by most governments around the world – including Tanzania. Most notable among these are the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Likewise in Tanzania, the right to adequate shelter and particularly women’s rights to land and property ownership is strongly supported. Documents such as the Constitution of 1977, the National Land Policy of 1995, the National Human Settlements Policy of 2000 and the Land Laws of 1999, show that it is the intention of the state to recognise, protect and support all people’s rights to adequate shelter.

In 1991, the government estimated that the demand for new houses in urban centres was 600,000 units compared to 250,000 units for the period 1976-1981. This figure must be higher now. It is further estimated that more than 70 percent of the urban population live in squatter areas which are not served with basic services.

The question to ask is:
Given that the right to shelter is so widely recognised, supported and supposedly protected, why most people in Tanzania are still inadequately housed?

The phenomenon in Tanzania of people’s lack of adequate shelter stems from a wide variety of causes including:

  • Growing poverty and an uncertain global economy;
  • Persistent external debt and structural adjustment program and
  • Rapid urbanisation and inadequate government leadership in land management.

Specifically why are women in Tanzania so hard hit?

  • The absence of economic opportunities and autonomy for women; and
  • Laws and customs that discriminate against women’s right to land ownership and inheritance;
  • Women’s lack of education and minimal participation in decision – making at all levels from family, local to national.

Urbanisation and Land Management in Tanzania.

Like most African countries, Tanzania has been experiencing rapid urbanization over the last two and a half decades. In 1948, 1957, 1967 the proportion of the urban population as a percentage of the total national population comprised 3.2%, 4.8% and 6.2% respectively.

Between 1978 and 1988 the national population growth rate was 2.8%. During the same period the urban population grew at 10.7% per year. The problems associated with rapid urban growth have lead to the deterioration of human settlement conditions. These problems have led to an ever increasing shortage of houses, haphazard and unplanned urban growth in all major urban centres, coupled with very poor living conditions.

Social, political, and institutional context in which the experience developed.

Densification in informal settlements: In the absence of formal affordable housing, the majority of the urban population has resolved to accommodate themselves in over crowded and substandard dwellings in unplanned areas. It is estimated that about 70% of the population in Dar es Salaam are living in informal settlements (Kironde, 1995). This proportion has more than doubled over the past three decades.

  • Shortage of planned plots for housing. Between 1979 – 1991 the Dar es Salaam City Council received 261,668 applications for plots but only 17,752 applicants were allocated plots.
  • Inadequate resources. Scarcity of manpower, equipment and finance required to acquire, plan, demarcate and service land are some of the main factors which hinder development of human settlements.
  • Gender equality. Unequal right of access to land and property ownership by women hinder them from equal participation in the development of human settlements.
  • Increased environmental degradation: Land seekers continue to encroach upon hazardous land, such as steep slopes and valleys.

Originator of the project

The project on social production of Habitat (shelter) through housing co-operatives and groups was initiated by the Women Advancement Trust (WAT) a non-governmental organisation that was established in 1989 to promote the advancement of women through education and training. The focus of the project has been on empowering low-income communities particularly women to enable them participate fully and effectively in the development of human settlements.

Initiation date

Establishment of housing groups started in 1993 after a survey conducted in 1992 by the Women Advancement Trust regarding participation of women in the management of human settlements. Again in 1995 the Women Advancement Trust organised a workshop on cooperative housing exchange. The result of the survey and workshop trigered the beginning of the project.

Process phases.

The process has eight phases.

  • Phase one: This phase involves conducting a survey and organising a workshop as detailed below.
    Six housing cooperatives and groups were formed between 1993 and 1999 as shown on the table below. As mentioned above the process started in 1992 when WAT conducted a survey on the involvement of Women in human settlement development. Formation of housing groups started in 1993 soon after the result of the survey were out while establishment of Housing Cooperatives started in 1996 in an effort to implement recommendations made at a workshop on cooperative exchange that was organised by Women Advancement Trust in April 1995.

Initiation dates.
Name of the housing coop or group Year it was started Year of registration Location
Nala-Makazi Housing group 1993 18Th June 2002 Nkuhungu West in Dodoma
Bandari Housing Cooperative 1996 Sept. 1999 Chamazi and Toangoma in Dar-es-Salaam
Magohe Housing co-operative 1993 March 1999 Magohe out skirt of Dar-es-Salaam City
Mshikamano Housing cooperative 1996 N.A N.A
Jitihada Housing Cooperative 1999 N.A N.A
Umoja ni Nguvu Housing cooperative 1999 N.A N.A

  • Phase two: Mobilisation of community members, sensitisation and awareness creation carried out by the Women Advancement Trust through organised meetings, seminars and workshops, and training coops/group members.
  • Phase three: Formation of housing cooperatives or groups.
    This phase involves awareness creation to the group on governing laws on community based organisations and housing cooperatives, forming structures such as committees and leaders. Awareness creation on roles and responsibilities of leaders and members. It also involves writing constitutions and seeking for registration of the organisations. At this stage negotiations were also made with Dodoma Capital Development to lower building standards and allow members build temporary structures which they could occupy while they continue with the construction of the main houses.
  • Phase four: Sensitisation on gender, Land Laws and awareness creation on equal right to access and own land and property. The phase also includes sensitisation on making savings for housing construction or for housing improvement.
  • Phase five: Preparation of strategic plans and monitoring progress for each year, land application or searching for land, surveying land and allocating plots to members if the group has been successful to acquire land. Formation of small groups of five members for savings through “Upatu” system where a member of the group is given the amount saved by members of the group at the end of each month. The system rotates round until each member gets her share. Other organisations start Savings and Credit Societies and put in place criteria for borrowing and repayments.

    Members also start making contributions to provision of basic services particularly water, purchasing and producing materials for housing construction
    Phase six: House designs and cost estimates are made to ensure affordability. The designs are flexible that they allow for incremental construction.
  • Phase seven: Application for building permit from local authority before they start housing construction. Construction starts as soon as a building permit is obtained. The construction is done through self-help and by using hired artisans. WAT helps in the day to day supervision of the construction.
  • Phase eight. Occupation is the last stage their houses and start paying land rent to the government.

Current situation.

(i) Nala-Makazi housing group.
Nala-Makazi group is based in Dodoma central part of the country. The group secured 50 surveyed plots in 1995 and another 50 plots in 1996. Using the water committee the group managed to bring piped water to their site at a cost of 1,330,000/= The group borrowed 1,000,000/= T.Shillings from Shelter Revolving Fund for bringing water services to the site. They constructed a reserve tank with capacity of storing 23,000 litres of water which is pumped out when needed for use. The group has finished construction of 7 houses and 25 houses are at different stages.

Nala Makazi has managed to contribute some money for grading outer roads in their area. The Capital Development Authority demanded that the group should contribute the cost of fuel for the truck, which was grading the roads in the area.

“Upatu” is a local system used for saving to a The system rotates until each member gets her/his turn similar to “merry go round system”

(ii) Bandari Housing co-operative.
Bandari Housing Co-operative is an employment-based organization. The
co-operative established a housing development fund whereby every member is deducted 20,000/= shillings every month through a check off system.

Bandari Housing Coop bought two pieces of land, one piece was bought at Tuangoma at 6.5 million T. shillings. However this piece of land was later acquired by the government. The government used the piece of land for its program of surveying 20,000 plots. The coop was compensated 5.5 by the Government, which means that the group lost 1 million T shillings in the process. However after the government completed the survey of the 20,000 plots, Bandari was allocated 40 plots from Tuangoma area. The coop paid between 400,000/= and 500,000 T. shillings per plot. Thus total cost for 40 plots was 15.5 million T. shillings.

The group also bought a piece of land at another place called Chamazi for T.Sh. 2,230,000/= where they engaged a surveyor who surveyed 42 plots. Therefore Bandari housing coop has a total of 82 plots at both at Chamazi and Toangoma which have already been allocated to their members. Two plots are for community services.

A water well has been drilled and constructed at Chamazi in 2003. The construction of the water well cost 5,772,000/= T. shillings including cost of buying a generator and a pump. The coop has recently constructed a water reserve tank at Toangoma, which has capacity of keeping 20,0000 litres. They have also produced 2,000 bricks for one of their members for construction of a model house.

(iii) Magohe Housing Coop.
Magohe Housing Coop was established in 1993 but could not get registration as a housing coop till 1999. The Registrar of Cooperatives refused to register the organisation because they had no land while the Land Officer in the City Commission was saying that the group must be registered before they apply for land. The group searched for land in different areas such as at Kinyerezi, Segerea, Bunju and Kibamba without success. In the end the managed to buy a piece of land at Magohe Mpiji at T. Sh. 2,000,000/= million. The group was finally registered as Magohe Housing Cooperative in March 1999 as stated above.

Magohe Housing cooperative requested Kinondoni Municipal to survey their area. The Housing coop borrowed 1,000,000/=T.shillings from Shelter Loan Revolving fund to pay for the survey work. Surveying begun in April 2001 for boundary survey, which was completed in July 2001. Then lay out planning was prepared and was completed in September 2001. The detailed survey of plots started in October 2001 and was completed in 2003. The coop is now making a follow up for a right of occupancy certificate.

This place has no piped water thus Magohe Housing coop had to strategize on how to get water for the area. A water engineer advised them to drill a shallow water well. The coop requested for financial support from the Canadian Development Agency who gave them 5,000,000/= T. Shillings for constructing the water well and the rest of the money is for connecting to piped water when the system is in place. The construction of the shallow water did cost 1.6 million in T. Shillings. Unfortunately the water well functioned for about five months only and it dried up and the place has no water up to now.

(iv) Mshikamano Housing group.
Mshikamano Housing group was started in 1996. The group wrote their constitution for registration. However the Registrar refused to register their organization because they had not acquired land. The land committee of the group with the assistance from WAT applied for plots from the City Commission, which advised the group to contact the Town-Planning Officer.

A Land Officer allocated a housing estate to the group at Yombo Vituka in 1998. The group was told that they had pay for the cost of surveying the area. The group agreed and engaged a surveyor to demarcate the boundaries but before he completed his job some people from around the area invaded the place and started constructing their houses. The group approached the invaders with the help of the surveyor to tell them the piece of land belonged to the group but the invaders refused to leave and they continued constructing their houses. These people now say that if they are to leave the place they should be paid huge compensation, which the group can not afford to pay. The local government officials have told the members of Mshikamano group to look for another area. The members of Mshikamano Housing Coop. are demanding that they should be refunded for the survey costs, which they incurred when they wanted the land at Yombo Vituka to be surveyed. Unfortunately they have not been refunded a single cent up to now. They contacted a counsellor for that area for assistance He told them to send him a written report explaining what happened. The group sent the report but up to now nothing has been done. As a result the group has been frustrated although they are still waiting for some justice to be done by the local government. Although the leaders of the group are still struggling it is becoming difficult for them to hold the group together because the members are highly frustrated.

(v) Jitihada and Umoja ni Nguvu groups.
The two groups, Jitihada and Umoja ni Nguvu were started in 1999. The story of the two groups is similar that they both started looking for land and sensitized their group members to start saving so that they could have funds for meeting costs at that initial stage when looking for land. Jitihada group managed to get a piece of land, paid the land owner about 300,000/= T. shillings, just to find out later that the land had already been sold to a military man who started threatening them whenever they wanted to enter the area.
process of looking for land and not being successful discouraged the members of the two groups and they decided to stop working on this project.

3. Objectives, strategies and reaches.

The overall objective of the Women Advancement Trust is: To empower low-income communities particularly Women to participate fully and effectively in all aspects of human settlements development.

The specific objective of WAT on Housing Development and Housing Finance is: To improve low income communities particularly women and youth to build and improve their living and housing conditions by providing education, training and technical assistance on land rights, housing construction, savings and credit schemes and self-help in both rural and urban areas of Tanzania.

The broad objective of the Housing cooperatives/groups is: To acquire adequate and affordable houses through cooperative strategy.

Strategic criteria

Sustainable shelter requires that grassroots organizations play an active role in the shelter delivery system. It is estimated that more then 2 million households are in need of housing yet there is no national housing delivery system in Tanzania to meet this need. Therefore, people are left to fend for themselves.

Cooperative strategy is based on collective efforts by a group of people under a mutual agreement. Housing through cooperatives has been considered a possible solution to housing development problems of low-income earners. The model involves working together and sharing the fruits of their efforts. This ideology in Tanzania was adopted from the past traditional way of living and working collectively of most tribes in the country.

WAT believe that the housing co-operative movement is an interesting option for low-income groups to access affordable shelter through a democratic process by supporting organised members of the community in the establishment and running of housing production for which housing co-operatives is a good model.

Size of participating and beneficiary population.
The total number of members of the groups that we work with is 231 without including family members. Thus the real number of beneficiaries is bigger than this.

Territorial reaches.
Three housing coops/groups are in the City of Dar es salaam, two of which are in Temeke Municipality in Toangoma. The third housing coop is in Kinondoni Municipality at Magohe. As mentioned earlier, Nala Makazi is based in Dodoma the Capital of Tanzania at a place called Nkuhungu west. Dodoma is the new capital of Tanzania located in the central part of the country.

Innovative aspects.
– Social organizational is used for organizing people of similar interest and ability.
– The members are trained to make and use locally available alternative building materials.
– Simple technology is used to produce building materials and self help construction technique is applied.
– The whole process is managed by the coops/groups themselves with technical assistance from WAT.

4. Actors involved and their roles.

Beneficiary populations of this experience include groups/co-operative members comprising of men and women of Bandari Housing Co-operative , Nala Makazi group members and Magohe Housing Co-operative.

The role of the beneficiaries include to:

  • Establish groups/housing coops and elect leaders.
  • Prepare their constitution and register their organisation.
  • Search and buy land and survey the area.
  • Make savings for construction.
  • Purchase building materials and produce bricks.
  • Negotiate with WAT for preparation of house designs and costing.
  • Clear the site.
  • Organise for construction program and participate in the construction.
  • Pay land rend per year.

Civil society organizations (NGOs,CBO)
The main NGO that has been involved in this project is the Women Advancement Trust. In general the role of the organization is to create awareness and to sensitize the public on adequate and affordable shelter. It also creates awareness on the rights of men and women to access and own land and property. Another general role is to lobby and influence the government to include gender dimensions and women rights in the policies they prepare. The organisation is still working with the beneficiaries of the project.
Specific roles played by WAT in this project include:

(a) Adopting co-operative based approach in implementing housing construction project.
(b) Assisting groups to prepare strategic plans and monitor implementation.
(c) Encouraging member’s savings for housing construction and improvement for individual members.
(d) Assisting members to acquire land for settlements development.
(e) Mobilizing resources for community development projects.
(f) Organizing seminars/workshops on human settlements developments issue
(g) WAT also assists the groups in preparing house designs/costing and submitte to local Authority for approval.
(h) Organizing training for artisans in the human settlements development sector
(i) Establishing book keeping and accounting system and training members on how to maintain the books.

In 2002 a group of NGOs established a national organisation known as Habitat Forum Tanzania (HAFOTA) to tackle the problem of housing jointly. HAFOTA acts as a pressure group to ensure that the issue of shelter is put back on the National political agenda. HAFOTA has 22 member organizations and individuals. WAT, Bandari Housing Cooperative and Nala Makazi group are some of the members of TAFOTA.WAT is currently the secretariat of HAFOTA.

Government (local, national)
The role of the government is to create enabling environment as well as to make policies. The sector ministry has prepared a National Land Policy of 1995 and a Human Settlements Policy of 2000. Other policies that have been prepared by the government include the National Strategy for Poverty Reduction and Tanzania Vision 2025. Another role of the government both national and local government is to prepare layouts and survey and service plots. The government has failed to survey enough plots to meet the demand.

Another role of the government is to register housing coops/groups and approves housing plans.

Housing Finance in Tanzania.
Currently in Tanzania, there are no financial institutions specialising in housing finance. In the past there was a Tanzania Housing Bank (THB) that was created in 1972, as a public institution with the mandate to provide housing credit loans. The bank served the purpose for some years but unfortunately it collapsed in 1985.
Therefore one of the greatest challenges of the government is housing credit facility to enable communities and individuals access loans.

The University College of Lands and Architectural studies (UCLAS) came into being after the upgrading of the former Ardhi Institute into a constituent college of the University of Dar es salaam (UDSM) on July 18th 1996.

UCLAS academic activities are presently organized into two faculties namely: The Faculty of Architecture Planning (FAP) and the Faculty of Lands and Environmental Engineering (FLEE). Research is mainly coordinated by the college and Faculty research and publications committees and carried out under the academic departments and Institute for Human Settlement Studies (IHSS) which is an integral party of UCLAS.

The college has had no direct involvement in this project. However very often WAT staff are often invited to attend workshops organised by UCLAS, and research results are used by community members in improving human settlements. In addition the government uses advice from UCLAS when formulating policies. WAT staff consults and makes use of college facilities.

Housing Building Research Agency.
The Housing Research Agency is a government Executive Agency in the human settlements development sector, which assists in improving housing conditions in both urban and rural areas. In particular the agency offers the following services: –

(a) Conducts research and offers technical solutions to housing problems of the low – income groups.

(b) Carries out applied research aimed at finding practical solutions to immediate housing problems facing the people.

(c) Offers consultancy services to the public on building and construction.

WAT often uses the services of the agency for training members of the organisations involved in this project particularly skills training on alternative building materials such as soil cement bricks.

Private Initiative.
Tanzania Harbours Authority helps its employees members of Bandari housing coop by providing interest free loans, office space, and giving financial support needed for training.

International cooperation.
Rooftops Canada has partnered with WAT since 1995 and gives support for capacity building through technical assistance, study visits, program support and South – South exchanges.

The Canadian Cooperative Association has also collaborated with Rooftops to provide specific support for cooperative and credit union development. More recently Rooftops has facilitated a joint partnership with the international department of the Norwegian Cooperative Housing Federation (NBBL) who have accessed NORAD funding to contribute to a 3 year program approach that supports WAT through basket funding and coordinated technical assistance and training.

Others (churches, political parties.)
There has not been much input from these institutions apart from the fact that some of them are members of HAFOTA and that their buildings are sometimes used for workshops that are organised for project member organisations.

5. Program or project components (brief description of how they link.)

Habitat elements included in the productive process.

  • Land: is the number one requirement for any successful housing construction project. Unfortunately it is so scarce to the extent that it takes such a long time to get land. As stated earlier two of our groups had to stop working because of lack of land. Almost all of them had to buy land from landowners, which made the project become more expensive.
  • Housing construction is still at different stages. Nala Makazi has started housing construction through self-help as well as hiring artisans for some specific work. Bandari Housing Cooperative has not started housing construction yet. However house designs have been prepared and submitted to Temeke Municipal for approval. Currently members are living in either rented houses owned by private land lords while some of them occupy houses of their employer- the Tanzania Harbours Authority. Magohe has just finished surveying their area and have applied for a tittle deed. Most of Magohe members live in rented houses.

Infrastructure and services.

Provision of infrastructure and services is essentially the role of central and local governments. The government has provided roads made of “murrum” at Tuangoma site while as in Dodoma – Nkuhungu west, the roads have been demarcated. In both places no other basic services have been provided. Members of cooperatives/groups have been forced to pay extra money for construction of water wells to enable members start construction of their houses.

Public areas:

These have been provided for on the maps and private investors are being encouraged to develop them. However nothing has been done so far at the project sites.

Social and cultural aspects.
Level and fields encompassed by social participation. Coop/group members participate in:

  • Yearly strategic planning to review their work and plan for the coming year.
  • Brick making through organized group work. (Nala Makazi and Magohe).
  • Digging foundations under supervision of a technician.
  • Planting trees around their plots (Nala – Makazi)
  • Supervising house construction at the sight. (Nala Makazi).

Organizational strengthening.
Each housing coop/group has the following structure: –

  • Annual General Meeting (AGM) which is the supreme decision making body. Each group has an Executive committee, Construction and Environment committee.
    – Degree of autonomy reached.
    The groups are autonomous so long as they follow the legal framework.
    – Collaboration agreement with other actors
  • Coops/group members make exchange visits to learn from each other.
  • Sign service agreement with WAT

Women’s role, gender equity
Both men and women are fully involved in all stages of housing process and women carry out leadership roles just as men do. Currently Coops/group composition is as follows: –

Consideration of cultural characteristics and practices.
Generally, in Tanzania, despite the fact that women are the major actors in productive and reproductive activities women are poorer than men. Customary laws, traditional values, and the multiple roles women play, have hampered the advancement of women in different fields of development and have also perpetuated poverty among women. Although women contribute most of the Labour in productive activities, they have little access to the income generated as men continue to dominate decision – making not only within the household but also at national level. As well, low levels or lack of education contribute a lot to the problems that force women in Tanzania. WAT works hard to change the attitude and lobby for the abolition of discriminatory laws.

Economic strengthening of the participants and ecological sustainability.

  • Generation of production spaces
    Most members do small business at their existing homes. Layouts of the new sites have space for community activities such as shops, small scale
    Industries, schools and health centres.
  • Income – generation through the housing production process.
    Artisans are employed to do construction according to their skills. Women cook and sell food at construction site. Some members do urban agriculture properly. Likewise coop/group members have not started working on water collection and recycling water and energy – saving eco – techniques – Reasons for not doing them are partly because there are no guiding policies as well as lack of investment capital.

Contribution to urban development.

Urban planning is normally done by central government in collaboration with local governments. The public are sometimes invited to make their inputs. In some places residents form community based organizations for neighbourhood improvement. Housing coops/groups are contributing to urban development through housing construction, provision of water at their sites and planting trees.

6. Primary tools used

Socio – Organizational
Organisational criteria and form used by Housing Coops/groups is in accordance to those prescribed in the regulations governing operations of the cooperative be it housing, savings or farmers cooperatives.

Formation and Training.
Formation of cooperatives is done under supervision of the District Cooperative Officers. Training in this case is provided by the Women Advancement Trust who sometimes invites experts to facilitate training for example on brick making and to explain about bills of quantities.

Regarding participative process is that members of Housing Coops/groups participate in all stages from formation of the coops/groups, election of leaders, planning activities and in implementing the various activities.

Information and Communication

All coops/groups have no computers of their own. Bandari Housing coop use computers, which belong to their employer. Some members have mobile phones, which they use for communication among fellow members.
The common means of communication is by sending letters, which are in most cases delivered by hand or are sent through post. Very often someone is sent to deliver information verbally. Some information is disseminated by distributing printed materials such as: – posters, fliers, brochures and booklets.


Savings. One of the roles of WAT is to support the coops/groups in their efforts to save money and linking them with WAT Savings and Credit Cooperative Society
(WAT-SACCOS) and possibly also searching for funding. Lack of Housing finance is a particular barrier to low-income earners for without money, how are people going to build homes and improve their living conditions? All the Housing coops/groups are members of WAT-SACCOS, which also administers a Shelter Loan Revolving Fund which housing coops/groups can borrow from for developing their sites as well as for housing construction.

Bandari housing coop has a housing development fund. Nala Makazi group have established a Savings and Credit Society. In addition Nala-Makazi uses a system known as UPATU similar to a merry go round system whereby members make contributions each month and one of the members is given the collected funds to buy materials for housing construction

– There are no community funds that could be accessed by the housing coops/group members. However there is a Savings and Credit Co-operative Union League of Tanzania which provides housing loans. Unfortunately the housing coops/groups that we work with have not borrowed yet from this National Organization.

Access to resources.
Resources from International Cooperation are given to the Women Advancement Trust for training and for providing technical assistance to the members through meetings or workshops.

Public funding. The project has not received any public funding apart from Bandari housing coop who do occasionally get financial assistance in a form of loans from their employer.


The laws that Govern establishments of coops/groups are the Land Laws of 1999 and the Co-operative Law of 1996 as amended in 2003.

  • Agreements
    A memorandum of understanding is normally discussed and signed between Housing coops/groups and WAT. This is particularly so in case of services given that require members to contribute to the services provided.
  • Almost all the administration and Management work is done by the leaders elected by the members of the Housing coops/groups with some technical assistance provided by WAT.
  • Promotion and dissemination is mostly done through organized meetings, media and through distribution of printed materials.

7. Achievements and main lessons learnt.

Primary impact. It will take some time before we see real impact on people’s lives since it is only few members who have finished construction of their houses. The rest are at different stages.

  • The real achievement is for those who have acquired land for housing construction.
    The stage of acquiring land has taken a long time and still one group has not succeeded yet.
  • One lesson that we learnt is from the two groups who gave up because they found that it was very difficult and expensive to get land.
  • We have also learnt that members feel confident with the knowledge gained so far.

Community facility.
The main facility that community members enjoy is water services that have been brought to the site through the effort of the coops/groups. This has happened in Dodoma through the effort of Nala-Makazi group, Chamazi and Tuangoma through the efforts of Bandari Housing coops.

Nearly each housing coop/group has a policy of planting trees in their area.
Members sometimes agree to do some community work where every member is given a piece of work to do.

The government has put some democratic management of the City. There are elected councillors who represent wards. The groups are supposed to follow democratic arrangement especially for decision making.

The National Human Settlements policy of 2000 and the National Land Policy of 1995 are quite favourable for the development of Human Settlements. Members are now becoming aware of the policies.

As noted, gender equity is a sensitive issue and is being respected by all coops/groups. Some groups have more women members. What is more interesting is that Women participate in all activities including leadership roles. For example Bandari management committee has 11 members 6 of who are women and 5 men. Water committee has 8 members, 5 are women and 3 men.

Primary obstacles faced include :
For many years till 2003 the problem of acquiring land was a big problem. The government action of surveying 20,000 plots has eased the problem a little bit in Dar es Salaam. However low-income people find surveyed plots to be rather expensive. The plots cost between Tsh 400,000/- to 1,500,000/- T. Shillings.

Other obstacles faced include:

  • Poverty among members for lack of employment.
  • Lack of social and basic services such as dispensaries, schools permanent roads and water.
  • Bureaucratic nature of government’s way of doing things.
  • Co-operative policy is not very strong on Housing cooperative as a result the government does not put emphasis on encouraging establishment of housing coops.

8. Key words:

WAT, gender, equal right, participation, coops/groups, land

9. Sources of information.

Workshop report on co-operative exchange of 1995
National Human Settlement Development Policy
WAT Constitution
Reports written by Housing Co-operative members and groups.

10. Contacts:

Women Advancement Trust (WAT)
P.O. Box 5914,
Telephone: 255 22 2760258
Fax: 255 22 2760586