A Narrative Report of a pilot study in rural Mbulu Town and Itigi Councils, Tanzania: The Role of Rural-Urban Linkages for Enhanced Climate Resilience (RUL4CLI)

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The growth of small towns contributes to multiple forms of rural urban linkages and exerts a transformation pattern on livelihoods strategies in surrounding rural communities. It also alters the extent of dependence on the resource base that is (in)directly prone to climate change. Despite the growing importance of rural towns, their role in affecting the climate resilience of rural communities remains understudied. It is from this perspective that the RUL4CLI project aims to assess the role of rural-urban linkages in enhancing climate resilience in rural Tanzania. The RUL4CLI project will be implemented in two agro ecological zones that both (i) contain small growing towns and (ii) fall in different geographical locations with different climatic characteristics, hence having developed different livelihood strategies and response mechanisms to the climate change impacts. The two zones are represented by two district councils namely Itigi (Singida region) and Mbulu (Manyara region). The two councils were both established in 2015 and had previously been part of the (old) districts of Manyoni and Mbulu district council, respectively. The project team conducted a two-week (15-27 August 2022) pilot study in both districts. In the study, the team conducted Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with district technical staffs, ward and village leaders. Similarly, the project team had discussions with regional and district leaders such as the Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS), District Executive Director (DED) and Town Executive Director (TED). The discussions focused on issues related to accessibility, livelihood strategies, rural-urban linkages, experienced climate change and the related initiatives taken. Direct Observation through field visits to different villages was also part of the methodology used to further understand the 4 focus issues. The selection of candidate villages was further guided by satellite image interpretation. This report therefore, presents the main issues narrated during the discussions and some observations made during the pilot study. The study found that in both Itigi and Mbulu, the physical distance from the urban centers to hinterland may range from 6 to 30 kilometers but all these places are accessible by road infrastructures and they all have inaccessibility challenges in rain season. Regarding livelihoods, it was found that agriculture is the major livelihood activity. The sector is contributing to the community wellbeing through supplying foodstuff for subsistence and commercial purposes. In contrast to Itigi, Mbulu has in addition perennial crops such as pyrethrum, timber (woodlots) and coffee. Itigi on the other hand, engage in production of lentils and sunflower as predominant cash crops. Furthermore, the two councils engage differently in livestock keeping, while in Itigi is characterized mostly by nomadic pastoralism Mbulu is largely practicing zero grazing. The common rural urban linkages found in Itigi and Mbulu councils include the to & from movement of people and goods from the hinterland in search of (better) social services, markets and financial services. Moreover, the two councils have experienced some common climate change events relating to temperature and rainfall pattern changes leading to droughts and erratic rains. Such changes affect crop productivity and production hence food shortages, decline of waters sources and drying of natural pastures. In responding to the shocks of climate change experienced, communities, local government and other stakeholders summed up their efforts towards adapting to the changing climate. In both councils, communities used improved seed varieties that are drought resistant, practiced crop diversification and were encouraged to store their harvest rather than excessive selling of foodstuff. The local governments in Itigi and Mbulu provide people with information and early warnings relating to climate and weather changes. Other stakeholders (eg. NGO’s) found in both areas are engaged in different interventions to help communities cope with the challenges of climate change. The Report is organized in three main sections, the first section covering 2 Itigi District Council (DC), the second section covering Mbulu TC and the third section presents the comparisons of the two areas.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Copenhagen
Number of pages55
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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