This past week Vice President Mona Serageldin and Research Associate Barbara Summers traveled to Arusha, Tanzania to work with local authorities and NGOs to organize a community forum focused on building urban resilience. The one and a half day Forum brought together over 130 participants to discuss resilience challenges and potential responses.
Arusha was recently selected as part of the 2nd tranche of cities to join the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Network. The Urban Resilience Forum, which was sponsored by Aga Khan University, was conceived as a way to launch Arusha’s resilience building and bring together stakeholders to discuss ways to cope with shocks and stresses through participatory planning, emergency preparedness, and disaster management. The Forum drew on I2UD’s work on Arusha’s Strategic Urban Development Plan and all of the challenges addressed in the plan, in addition to risks and threats identified by partners and different stakeholders including women and youth.
The Forum included a mixture of presentations from local authorities, NGOs and international experts. Mona Serageldin provided an overview of urban resilience based on I2UD’s approach and potential solutions using case studies from other developing cities. The Hon. Nyerembe D Munasa, District Commissioner of Arumeru gave a presentation of Arusha’s shocks (flooding, terrorism, volcanic activity and disease outbreak) and stresses (drought, aging infrastructure, high unemployment, and insufficient educational infrastructure) as identified in the 100RC application. Ndinini Kimesera Sikar of the Maasai Women’s Development Organization (MWEDO) presented on the role of NGOs in building resilience and the importance of involving women at the community level. Members of the youth task force discussed the role of youths in combating shocks and stresses to ensure urban resilience against disasters and unemployment. Other presenters included members of Arusha’s recently established resilience task force and representatives from ARUP and the 100RC Challenge.
The Forum also included focus group discussions with all participants reflecting on the first day’s presentations to identify and prioritize key challenges and risks. On the following day, participant discussions went further in-depth on the key challenges to identify the driving forces behind each and potential responses. The Forum concluded with presentations by Jacqueline Kamau of the 100RC Challenge and Mr. Munasa on the next steps for Arusha as part of the 100 RC Network and the importance of continued community engagement throughout the process.