Taking Labour-based Technology to Scale

The Government of the Republic of Tanzania launched a programme for the establishment of a National Framework for Labour-based Technology in 2004. The ILO – Sub Regional Office (SRO) – Addis and ASIST provided advice in the preparation of the programme, prepared under the auspices of the Ministry of Works. The programme is intended to support the wide spread adoption of labour-based technology (LBT) and it proposes the setting up of a national focal centre/point for LBT that will spearhead all coordination, linkages, relations as well as information/data collection and dissemination to all stakeholders.

Past labour-based rural roadwork’s programmes

In 1986 to 1991, the ILO supported the Rural Road Maintenance Programme in Tanga and Mbeya Regions. This programme was experimental with innovative work methods (payment systems, animal haulage, etc.) undertaken particularly in Tanga Region. In 1991, a national programme under the major Integrated Roads Project (IRP) succeeded this programme. A complementary project aiming to develop the private sector capacity to carry out road rehabilitation and maintenance was initiated in 1992 in the Kilimanjaro Region with funding from the World Bank, UNDP and USAID. It was later expanded to Shinyanga, Mwanza and Arusha regions with inputs from UNDP and UNCDF. The National Construction Council (NCC) implemented the project with ILO technical assistance.

From 1988 to 1994, the ILO was involved in the road component of a NORAD-funded rural development programme in Rukwa Region. The aim of the project was to demonstrate and introduce labour-based road maintenance systems with emphasis on community participation. The project demonstrated the possibilities with labour-based methods from a technical point of view but also the difficulties with community involvement in the rehabilitation and, particularly, maintenance of local roads, which in this case mainly were district roads.

Rural Access and Mobility

The Makete Integrated Rural Transport Project (MIRTP), funded by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation improved the accessibility in the Makete District in Tanzania. The first project period focused on defining the transport demand and identifying interventions in the transport sector. Transport and non-transport interventions were implemented based on the identified transport demand. The activities included: manufacture and introduction of low-cost transport devices; improvement of feeder roads, paths and tracks, and setting up of a mechanical workshop for maintenance services to motorized grinding mills. These activities were institutionalised within the existing governmental and non-governmental organizations. The most successful activities were supported during a follow-up phase from 1993 to 1997. The final ex-post evaluation was carried out early 1998. The experiences from MIRTP were used to design the ongoing Village Travel and Transport Project (VTTP), which is a national programme implemented in eight districts. MIRTP also provided lessons for the development of the gender integrated Integrated Rural Accessibility Planning tool (IRAP) tool available in both English and Swahili versions. The guidelines have been partly used for planning of VTTP interventions in some districts.

Employment creation in Municipal Service Delivery Programme

This programme launched in Dar es Salaam in January 2004 aims at building more local capacity to deal with the challenges of employment creation and service delivery for the urban poor. It seeks to illustrate public-private partnerships between municipal governments and locally based representative organization can result in the creation of jobs that are free of child labour, have adequate workings conditions and benefit the marginalized members of society. The programme will build upon past ILO initiatives in the city of Dar es Salaam to involve the private sector in municipal service delivery. The programme will include components of strengthening municipal authorities’ capacity to establish systems for small enterprise-based service delivery, develop contracting procedures and monitoring and evaluation systems; as well as policy development support, resource mobilization and information sharing and dissemination. The experiences learnt here have been shared with cities in Kenya and Uganda and similar pilot initiatives to replicate the lessons have been initiated in the municipalities of Nakuru and Nyahururu in Kenya and in Jinja municipality in Uganda.

Hanna Nassif Community-based Urban Upgrading Project

In March 1994, the Dar es Salaam City Council and the ILO initiated a project in the Hanna Nassif unplanned settlement (in Dar es Salaam) to improve the living conditions through community-managed and labour-based infrastructure upgrading. The project activities consisted of the construction of lined storm water drains and access roads, solid waste management and community and municipal capacity building. The infrastructure works were implemented through community contracts with technical assistance from a national project team. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Ford Foundation funded the project with technical support from the ILO, UN-Habitat and UNV (United Nations Volunteers). Hanna Nassif phase II started in June 1997 and ended in 2000 and was executed by the University college of Lands and Architectural Studies (UCLAS) and the National Income Generation Programme (NIGP) with technical assistance from ILO ASIST.

The project, which focused on building local capacity to improve local infrastructure, involved:

  • Community participation i.e. involving the community through the establishment of Community Development Committees (CDC) in all levels of the project from planning, implementation and operation and maintenance.
  • Innovative and participatory design of infrastructure to fit within the existing environment and requirements of residents and that maximizes the use of local resources;
  • The use of labour-based methods and community contracts to maximize the benefit to the local community.
  • The key achievements of the programmes include:
  • Infrastructure – 750m of main and 6 km of side drains; 1.5 km of road, 26 road crossing; 127 footbridges; 2.5 km of water pipes and 8 water kiosks were constructed.
  • Health – The drains and roads constructed reduced the incidence of flooding and water borne diseases.
  • Employment – 17, 467 work days were created within the community – 43% women. The improved infrastructure and services have resulted in opening up the area for local business development creating further jobs and income. A credit scheme was also set up managed by the community.
  • Skills – 3155 people (with 35% women) were trained in institution building, construction skills and credit management. The skills and experience gained during the project have assisted the residents secure jobs elsewhere in the construction industry and have been shared with other community groups in other settlements.
  • Institutions – The community development committee was established, strengthened and registered as an association, which continues to address problems within the community such as water supply and solid waste management.

Based on this (and other similar) programme's experience – the ILO developed community contracting guidelines

Pemba Small Scale Irrigation Project

This irrigation project started in 1987 in the Northern Region of Pemba (Zanzibar) with financial support from the EU and technical assistance from the ILO. Its overall objective is to improve the living and working conditions of the rural poor population of the districts of Micheweni and Wete through improved incomes and food security, resulting from increased employment opportunities and intensified agriculture. The completion phase started in the beginning of 1999 and will emphasis the operation and maintenance requirements and support to the water users associations.

Macro- economic study

In 2004, a study on the macro-economic potential of labour-based was carried out by the Sub Regional Office Addis jointly with ASIST, the ILO Area Office in Dar es Salaam and the Employment Intensive Investment Branch (EMP/INVEST). The study entailed carrying out a comparative analysis of a number of on-going and completed feeder roads projects in Tanzania using different technologies (both labour-based and equipment based methods) and to show the macro-economic impact on the Gross Domestic Product, the balance of payments, and on the employment situation. The study found that labour-based methods were more economically and financially favourable than equipment-based methods and generate more employment and household income.

Working conditions study

A study into working conditions and a review of procurement issues for small solid waste collection franchisees in Dar es Salaam were carried out in 2003 to inform future support to the creation of decent jobs through urban service delivery.