Bureaucratic Blockages: Water, Civil Servants, and Community in Tanzania

68 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2017  

Juli Bailey

McGill University

Date Written: June 12, 2017


How do civil servants in district water and sanitation departments address problems of water access in rural communities in Tanzania? What are the bureaucratic procedures they follow? How do the bureaucratic procedures around formulating budgets, managing money, and interacting with communities impede or enhance their ability to manage water projects? This report addresses these and related questions by examining the social, economic, and political contexts in which Tanzanian civil servants in the water sector work. This research focuses on civil servants employed by water and sanitation departments in district offices, where infrastructure projects are initiated and managed by engineers and technicians in coordination with the private sector and community organizations. Using qualitative research from two of these water and sanitation departments, this report shows that the institutional and bureaucratic contexts in which civil servants work redirect their attention away from maintaining existing infrastructure and towards building new water projects. The focus on new projects corresponds to their efforts to answer the objectives of higher levels of government. Improving water access depends on the shared efforts of civil servants and community groups to maintain existing projects. Civil servants' focus on new projects therefore poses a problem to ensuring that they work community organizations and maintain existing water projects.

Keywords: Rural & Small Town Water & Sanitation, Town Water Supply and Sanitation, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation, Small Private Water Supply Providers, Hydrology, Water and Human Health, Water Supply and Sanitation Economics

Suggested Citation

Bailey, Juli, Bureaucratic Blockages: Water, Civil Servants, and Community in Tanzania (June 12, 2017). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8101. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2985528

Juli Bailey (Contact Author)

McGill University ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke St. W
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1G5

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