If citizens protest, do water providers listen? Water woes in a Tanzanian town

K. Nganyanyuka, J.A. Martinez, Juma Hemed Lungo, Yola Georgiadou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
127 Downloads (Pure)


Tanzania’s urban citizens are still insufficiently supplied with safe drinking water by their water utilities. However, instead of collectively clamouring for improvements, citizens channel their protests individually to water authorities. This paper aims to shed light on citizens’ protest strategies and the responses they elicit from the water authorities. It draws on extensive fieldwork carried out in a Tanzanian town, which revealed four protest strategies employed by citizens: “stay and speak up”, “speak up and leave”, “resignation” and “leave and remain silent.” The study reveals a substantial mismatch between citizens’ protest strategies and the formal/informal complaint mechanisms of the water authority. This has negative implications for underprivileged citizens and for broadly defined “access to water”.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-630
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironment and urbanization
Issue number2
Early online date19 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Tanzania
  • citizens’ protest
  • consumer exit
  • urban water supply
  • voice
  • water customer
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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