Ramani Huria – flood resilience in Dar es Salaam City

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Dar es Salaam

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Main actors

Local Government, City Government, Supranational / Intergovernmental Institutions, NGO / Philanthropy, Community / Citizen Group, Research Institutes / Universities

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Project area

Neighborhood or district

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Ongoing since 2015/01

To combat natural disasters the Ramani Huria project uses community mapping to increase resilience throughout the city.

In 2015, the Ramani Huria project commenced to address the consquences of floods in Dar es Salaam. More recently Ramani Huria 2.0 was launched to continue searching for the best ways of combating floods. Subsequently, several projects have been established including: drainage mapping, asset and threat mapping and soil sampling in addition to developing elevation tools to improve flood models and flood extents. The project relies on community participation to identify areas that are the most vulnerable.

As the population of Dar es Salaam increases, so does the rate of flooding. The drainage channels remain the same width and depth and some become blocked by informal housing structures, while other drainage channels do not have outflow points such as streams, rivers, or the ocean and therefore the water is left to flow into residential areas. This is particularly serious as up to 70% of Dar es Salaam is composed of informal housing settlements.

Sustainable Development Goals

End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Reduce inequality within and among countries
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

City to City Barcelona FAD Award

This project was shortlisted for the 'City to City Barcelona FAD Award' in 2018.

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Dar es Salaam is a coastal city on the Indian Ocean. It is the most populated and developed city in Tanzania and is considered to be one of the fastest growing cities in the world.[1]

Dar es Salaam has a population of more than four (4) million people according to the 2012 national census. The population increases daily mainly due to the migration of people from rural areas looking for employment and a better standard of living.

The city regularly faces flooding due to several reasons; being located in a flat area along the ocean, the clogging of drainage channels due to deposits of solid waste, and the construction of informal settlements where houses are built randomly blocking drainage channels.

Ramani Huria 2.0 is expected to be completed in 2019. The project involves university students working with community members in order to collect the data that is needed to better understand the effects of flooding. The project uses open source software so the data can be accessed by everyone.

Recently university students who completed their industrial training mapped a total of 228 sub-wards in Dar es Salaam to create a community asset and threat inventory, which is a collection of action maps, reports and open data for disaster management. They accomplished this within 7 weeks, with nearly 500 students out in the field mapping. This data presents local perspectives on what is important to communities, which is essential to first responders, as well as the residents themselves.

In order to understand the best way to create resilience, the project workers have gathered data on key information - including elevation, hyperlocal boundaries, and soil composition. This data will add a 3rd dimension to flood maps and help identify the water flow as well as the people affected at the most granular level. The aim of this is to be able to accurately evaluate different components relevant to flooding, using inexpensive methods and to be able to replicate this process in other cities in Africa who are also facing floods.

Ramani Huria uses open source tools in the collection of data, they are easy to learn and can be used by anyone who has an Android smartphone. These tools include Open Data Kit (ODK) and Open Map Kit (OMK), in the production of maps, Ramani Huria uses QGIS and Java OpenStreetMap (JOSM) which are also open source software. The project encourages community participation whereby the students and staff help the community members in map production, data collection, and map reading. This way the students from Ardhi University and the University of Dar es Salaam can develop their professional skills as planners.

The World Bank is the main financier of the project, and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) is the primary organization managing projects. OpenMap Development Tanzania (OMDTZ) is the primary local organization with the team carrying out activities.

There are many stakeholders who are involved in the project and they all play important roles in its success. These include:

  • students from Ardhi University and the University of Dar es Salaam who have experience and knowledge in mapping and mapping tools;
  • community members who are mostly the beneficiaries of the project are trained by the students doing fieldwork;
  • local government officers who facilitate the municipality, ward, sub-ward, and community members’ participation in the project;
  • the Commission of Science and Technology (COSTECH);
  • Dar es Salaam City Council;
  • Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR);
  • the Red Cross

Since 2015, the project has mapped 49/90 wards in Dar es Salaam which is equivalent to approximately 50% of the city, comprising about 450,000 buildings and 1,700 schools.

470 university students have been trained to work on the data collection and map production via the asset and threats project, and more than 300 Red Cross members have been involved in the mapping.

The impact of this project can be seen geographically and is expected to expand as Ramani Huria operations spread to other areas of Dar es Salaam, and potentially to other cities in Tanzania.

The major barriers faced when implementing the project and activities involve community members with political differences, some residents expect to earn money and threaten to not work if they are not paid. Other challenges are accuracy of GPS and local government officers providing minimal cooperation. Community members often expect quick results and the students are required to explain the benefits of the project to lead to a better understanding and agreement to work with collaboratively. In overcoming the problem of GPS accuracy, the technical staff of Ramani Huria helped students to set yup GPS apps on their smart phone.

Ramani Huria is a project that is proving to be very helpful to the residents of Dar es Salaam.  The data collected is reliable as it uses the participatory approach including utilizing local knowledge. The project is suitable to be replicated in other cities that are facing floods, and they can use the same technology due to the open source platform being used.

On the Map

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Maholi Innocent
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Maholi Innocent

Individual | Director

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