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VLIRUOS – 4SITE Programme


PHDs Under P3 Project

1. PhD Dissertation Title:

Contribution of wetland friendly investment approach on livelihoods and ecosystem services: the case of Ndembera river valley in Iringa, Tanzania

By Dr. Norbert J. Ngowi

Research Supervisor:

Professor Agnes E. G. Mwakaje

Project Timeframe:

Start Date : February 2014

End Date: November 2018

Institution: Institute of Resource Assessment, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The Abstract:

Provision of incentives can help to sustain ecosystem as productive base and therefore increase Ecosystem Services (ES) and livelihoods. The Ndembera River Valley (NRV) is important for ES but it is facing increasing loss of these services due to degradation impacts. This study sought to develop a conceptual approach to understand the contribution of Wetland Friendly Investment (WFI) Approach on livelihoods and ecosystem services in Iringa, Tanzania. A questionnaire was administered to 208 households to collect data on livelihood assets (LA), drivers of land use and land cover change (LULC), water flow, and factors constraining the Approach. Fifteen key informant interviews and Focus Groups including 30 participants were used to supplement survey data. Quantitative analysis focused on the changes in the LA, LULC and water flow using Chi-square test, ERDAS and TREND software respectively. The Template style was used to analyze qualitative data. Findings from the study indicate that implementation of the WFI intervention brought both positive and negative changes: (i) statistically significant differentials between participating and non-participating households on multiple fronts including: Income, diversification of local economy, ownership of productive assets and network of cooperation; (ii) wetland cover had declined in swamps and floodplains by -4,060 and -667 hectares; (iii) the differentials in water flow before and after the intervention was not significant (p > 0.9); and (iv) dissolution of farmers’ groups constrained performance of the WFI. This study concludes that, the Approach contributed more to livelihoods, but failed to improve cover and water flow. Therefore the null hypothesis has been rejected instead the alternative one stating that the implementation of the WFI Approach has had contribution to community livelihoods and ecosystem services was accepted. Inclusion of Obstacles and Opportunities for planning can make the Approach more useful for policy and practice.

Research Output:


Norbert John Ngowi (2018). Contribution of wetland friendly investment approach on livelihoods and ecosystem services: the case of Ndembera River Valley in Iringa, Tanzania. Doctoral dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam. URI:


  1. Ngowi, N. J. & Mwakaje, A. G. (2020). Implementation effects of incentive policies on Tanzanian wetland ecosystems. Kasetsart Journal of Social Sciences, 41(1):83-90. ISBN 2452-3151. VRL
  2. Ngowi, N. J. & Sallema, A. E. (2019). Impact of natural capital investment strategies on water quality in the Ndembera River Sub-Catchment, Tanzania. In:Mambretti, S. and J. L. Miralles i. Garcia. (Editors). Water and Society V. ISBN 978-1-78466-357-5, ISSN 1743-3541 (online). WIT Press, UK. pp. 133-144. VRL
  3. Ngowi, N. J. & Mwakaje, A. G. (2017). Enhancing Households’ Economic Benefits through Wetlands Friendly Investment Model: A Case of Ndembera River Valley, Tanzania. Journal of Resources and Ecology, 8(6): 605-612. VRL

2. Dissertation Title:

An analysis of household development strategies and their linkage to river basin resources degradation in Tanzania.

By Christina M. Shitima (PhD)

Project Timeframe:

Duration: October  2014 – November 2018

Institute: Institute of Development Policy (IOB) – University of Antwerp,


More than a decade ago, the Tanzanian government reformed its policy on the governance of water resources from a predominantly centralized system to a more participatory approach. The implementation of the policy required a simultaneous consideration of both the ecological and social cultural context of the basin and involvement of different stakeholders during the planning and management of water resources. The policy implementation was expected to conserve basins resources without negatively affecting livelihoods of people who depend on river basin resources (RBR).

Despite the water policy reform, RBR in Tanzania are still degrading. While the factors for the RBR degradation are well articulated in literature, there is still a knowledge gap in terms of individuals’ characteristics that govern their use of RBR in Tanzania. From this vantage point, our study sets out to investigate in more depth the factors that influence the uses of RBR in different socio-economic and cultural contexts to inform policies on the improvement of rural livelihoods while at the same time protecting the river basin natural resource bases. More specifically, we analyse household characteristics that govern decisions regarding RBR use and assess linkages between people’s access to RBR[1], choices of development strategies and degradation of RBR.

The study uses data collected from households residing along Kilombero Basin and Simiyu Basin. Intra-household data were collected from different household members aged 18 and above who carry out different socio-economic activities. A mixed methods research design, the qualitative— quantitative—qualitative approaches, were used in a sequential manner to answer the research questions.

Findings show that informal social relation factors influence both practical rights to use RBR and benefits from the use of resources, which further result in diversities in occupational choices. While almost everyone practices seasonal farming to provide food for household consumption, informal social relation factors and access to social and financial capitals, affect participation in activities that are used for income generation. Lastly, yet importantly, gender, participation in multiple activities and environmental awareness are important factors for people to practice pro-environmental behaviour.

The study provides important contributions to the literature on access to resources as well as to the policy settings by showing the importance of distinguishing between practical rights to use resources and benefits derived from their use. Furthermore, the study confirmed intersectionality and intra-household theories by demonstrating that both men and women are heterogeneous groups in societies. The findings that show that access to social and financial capitals are important factors for people to diversify away from non-environmental to environmental friendly activities provide important information to policy makers and other practitioners dealing with conservation. The study also sheds light on the importance of providing people with environmental education and incentives to encourage pro-environmental behavior.

OUTPUTS – Publications & Papers


Shitima, C. M., & Dimoso, R. (2020). Access to livelihood resources and choices of development strategies: implications for the development of conservation strategies. East African Journal of Science, Technology and Innovation1(3).

Shitima, C. M. (2018). Intersectionality and an Intra-household Analysis of the Freedom to make Decisions on the Use of Household Products: Evidence from Rural Tanzania. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 19 (6), pp. 207-223

Shitima, C. M. (2018). Intersections of gender and age in accessing River Basin Resources in Tanzania: a comparative analysis of fishing and agro-pastoralist communities in rural areas of Tanzania. Afrika focus, 31 (1), pp. 133-151

Stroeken, K., Sesabo, S. & Shitima, C. (Eds.). (2018). Editorial @ccessible development: an introduction. Afrika focus, 31 (1), pp 5-11


Shitima, C. M. (2015). Institutional Context, Household Access to Resources and Sustainability of River Basin Resources in Tanzania. Towards an Analytical Framework. IOB Working Paper, 07.


The role of applying an intra-household approach when designing surveys: Evidence from agro-pastoralist communities of rural Tanzania.

3. PhD Dissertation Title:

Analyzing the potentiality of mobile community-based monitoring in improving water service delivery in Mvomero district, Tanzania.

By Doreen Nico Kyando


  1. Prof. Nathalie Holvoet- IOB, University of Antwerp, Belgium.
  2. Dr. Christina Shitima- FSS, Mzumbe University, Tanzania

Project Timeframe:

Category: Ongoing PhD under P3 Project.

University Affiliated: Institute of Development Policy (IOB), University of Antwerp, Belgium.

Year of Entry: October 2019

Brief Description:

This PhD research is closely linked with pilot action research project namely FUATILIA MAJI which is currently implemented in 10 villages and 2 villages of Mvomero district and Morogoro rural respectively. FUATILIA Maji project is collaboratively implemented by P3 under 4SITE programme and IOB going Global project. 

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Research Output:

A doctoral paper on “Social accountability initiatives in the delivery of public services Sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review of literature”