*Written by Hawa Adinani and Amelia Hunt*

The meeting was conducted in two sub wards of Kigogo ward with participatory community discussions to see how community driven information can help to develop this plan.

Photo; Community meeting.

On the 26th and 27th of March 2018 the HOT Tanzania team conducted a pilot community meeting in Mbuyuni subward in Kigogo ward. The main objective of the meeting was to facilitate a discussion with different actors such as Mtaa Executive Officers  (MEO), Chairmen of the Subward, Councilors, Wajumbe leaders, Non Governmental Organizations and Community Based Organizations such as Tegemeo. Tegemeo provide education to the community on topics such as environmental education and how to support orphans – it operates nationwide.

During this meeting, community members pinpointed assets that they considered to be the most valuable within the Subwards and any possible threats to these assets perceived by the community. This information  allows Ramani Huria to produce a flood resilience plan. The maps will be the outputs produced after the information has been collected and organised using open source software.

Photo- Ward Leaders reading maps to identify their residences.

Community meetings were conducted with different key actors in the sub ward. Attendees included; Mtaa Executive Officers (MEO), Sub ward Chairmen, Councilors Wajumbe, Ten cells Shina Leaders, NGO and CBO partners (such as Tegemeo Wajumbe), government officials, private sector organisations, and religious leaders.

“I’m happy to be part of this, Knowing what is being done in my ward, participating in identifying safe and unsafe areas on a map can be a good start toward better planning” Mazoea Ling’omba- Mjumbe, Kigogo Kat subward.

The meeting was participated by 43 members from the two subwards, with participatory community meetings conducted in groups of 5 to 6 members. The exercise began by training participants how to read the map by identifying main features in the Subward and locating their area of residence. By the end of the group discussions participants were able to locate their houses and update street names on the map where information was missing or incorrect.

Photo; Maps are being updated by adding the missing information, risk areas are being identified  with the important asses in the ward.

“I’m proud to be part of this process – I have been trained  on how to read maps, and putting important things on a map to improve information for flood reduction” Miraji Simba- Red Cross Coordinator.

The most important lesson learnt from the workshop meeting is that it is the community members who are the key people needed to create a resilience plan. They are the ones who can identify historical flood trends and the location of key risk areas. (ie an engineer may be able to pinpoint flood risk areas based on calculations, but cannot provide the scope, history and impact of the flooding)- The information provided by community members allows a more accurate impression of the trend of flooding to be created with better understanding of how flood events have evolved over time.

Community members and Ward leaders were more reassured and excited about the project when they understood that the flood resilience plan was not intended to relocate people from their residence but rather to build a better plan on how to reduce flooding and suffering related to flooding.

“Initially my neighbors and I were a little worried that our houses may be demolished, but now we are at peace because the project was well explained to us. I will go and explain to ‘my people’ in the Shina to reassure them that the project is based on planning for resilience” Mjumbe- (Anonymous).

In these two Sub wards the main flood problems identified by community members were similar because the overall Ward is located between two major rivers, Msimbazi river and Kibangu river, that are ‘famous’ for causing flooding. It is clear that if the plans for flood resilience focus on accommodating people’s suggestions on the major community assets at risk and historical flood prone areas – improved mitigation plans can be produced which will reduce the effects of flooding.