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The elephant in the room : informality in Tanzania’s rural waterscape

Informality is pervasive in Tanzania’s rural waterscape, but not acknowledged by development partners (donors and beneficiaries), despite persistent warnings by development scholars. Informality is thus the proverbial elephant in the room. In this paper, we examine a case of superior rural water access in two geographical locales—Hai and Siha districts—in Tanzania, where actors not only acknowledge, but actively harness informality to provide access to water to rural populations. We employ concepts from organisation and institutional theory to show that when informal programs and related informal sanctions/rewards complement their formal counterparts, chances for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target 6.1 ‘By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all’ are significantly increased.

TitleThe elephant in the room : informality in Tanzania’s rural waterscape
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsKatomero, J., Georgiadou, Y.
Secondary TitleISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information
Volume7
Pagination1-22 : 5 fig., 5 tab.
Date Published09/2018
Publication LanguageEnglish
Abstract

Informality is pervasive in Tanzania’s rural waterscape, but not acknowledged by development partners (donors and beneficiaries), despite persistent warnings by development scholars. Informality is thus the proverbial elephant in the room. In this paper, we examine a case of superior rural water access in two geographical locales—Hai and Siha districts—in Tanzania, where actors not only acknowledge, but actively harness informality to provide access to water to rural populations. We employ concepts from organisation and institutional theory to show that when informal programs and related informal sanctions/rewards complement their formal counterparts, chances for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target 6.1 ‘By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all’ are significantly increased.

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DOI10.3390/ijgi7110437