Momentum for Change: Municipal ICT Capacity and its Impact on the Climate Change Affected Urban Poor

Activity area: Adaptation
Location: Mbare slum Harare in Zimbabwe; cities of Jinja, Kumi, Mukono, Arua in Uganda
Established: January 2012

The activity involves development and implementation of a smartphone-based 'ICTs for demand-side of governance' (ICT4DSG) platform called "Taarifa". This platform helps citizens engage with their local governments in the monitoring and reporting of service delivery issues which influence urban climate resilience. For example, through Taarifa citizens can seamlessly report, geo-tag, and photograph garbage accumulation points which clog drainage systems. The tool can also be used by citizens to report and record topography and population densities of their communities, prevalence of water and sanitation infrastructure, etc., thereby enabling urban planners gather real-time information for better planning. Taarifa has been successfully piloted in Uganda and Zimbabwe.

In 2012, the World Bank, together with CHRA (a regional NGO), captured citizens voices through the creation of dynamic, online mapping of a community within Harare, Zimbabwe. The tool applied was Taarifa and the community was Mbare ward -a flood-prone informal neighborhood without access to reliable public services and adequate infrastructure. The initiative emerged from government interest in an active network of citizens to identify local priorities and monitor implementation progress. It brought infrastructure issues much more quickly to the attention of local governments and enabled authorities to better devise zoning and planning regulations for the Mbare ward. The resulting open-source data set contains hundreds of points that locate drainage and sewage systems, roads, clinics, trash dumps, water points, and more. Since local capacity now also exists within the NGO and local government to replicate the work at low cost, this network will continue to collect and verify data. As a result, the evolving map will continue to improve citizen feedback around public services such as flood management, trash collection, sanitation services, etc.

Mitigation / Adaptation


Potential for scaling-up and replication

The activity contributes to building the climate resilience of cities through increasing local government's capacity to effectively plan and respond to service delivery needs.

The activity helps to improve the public services such as flood management, trash collection, sanitation services, etc.

The ICT tool (Taarifa) is based on open source code allowing for rapid deployment and replication at no cost. As a result, the tool has already been piloted widely in Uganda and Zimbabwe with further deployments underway in Senegal, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Liberia.