Everyday Humanitarianism in Tanzania (EveryHumanTZ)


Start date: 1 November, 2019 End date: 30 October, 2024 Project type: Research projects in countries with extended development cooperation (earlier Window 1) Project code: 18-12-CBS Countries: Tanzania Thematic areas: Humanitarian assistance and development, Lead institution: Roskilde University (RUC), Denmark Partner institutions: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Tanzania Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Denmark Project website: go to website (the site might be inactive) Project coordinator: Lisa Ann Richey Total grant: 12,000,000 DKK

Project summary

Since an upsurge of unrest in Burundi in 2015, 258,000 refugees have crossed into Tanzania, making it the largest recipient of Burundian refugees in the East African region. Tanzania currently hosts 317,000 refugees in three camps, which is an unprecedented five-fold increase compared to three years ago. Floods have become the most-feared disaster amongst Dar es Salaam residents according to Hambati and Gaston’s (2015) participatory hazards ranking. Humanitarian aid and professional disaster response receive attention, yet what is missing here is the action taken in response to both protracted and acute humanitarian crises by Tanzanians who are not humanitarian professionals. Everyday humanitarianism (EH) refers to an expanded series of practices in the everyday lives of citizens that are engaging in humanitarianism, outside of the formal structures of humanitarian actions. This do-gooding response to crisis can be proximate for one’s neighbours or distant for suffering Others. EH may involve, for example, housing refugees along their journey to processing centres, paying school fees for additional children in areas affected by floods, or donating online) or to local churches in earthquake prone regions of the country. Tanzanians of all social classes are involved in EH, from rich philanthropists to farmer neighbours, yet these actions remain unacknowledged and unaccounted for. Unfortunately, the reason that Tanzania is an excellent case for understanding EH results from its increasing humanitarian need, uneven government attempts to manage disasters, and complex linkages between humanitarian and development needs and the partners who engage them. EveryHumanTZ will measure and explain the everyday humanitarian practices of communities engaged most directly with protracted crisis (refugees) and others experiencing acute crises (earthquake, floods). EveryHumanTZ’s

Overall Objective is to understand how people interacting in everyday situations respond to crisis situations outside of the formal structures of humanitarian assistance.


First year report
Everyday Humanitarianism in Tanzania (EHTZ) is working toward researching the concept everyday humanitarianism in practice as a way forward in decolonizing as a series of activities and struggles undertaken in close collaboration. Our team has met in person and online regularly since the start of the project and has trained, debated, shared initial findings at conferences, won a prize at UDSM research week, briefed our Advisory Boards, co-written and published a major journal article, and coped with Covid-19. Aligning the incentive structures from different university research environments is important, but also challenging. Our team has experienced considerable stress, particularly during Covid-19 times, to attend to health problems and family matters in times that would otherwise have been spent doing research and writing. Covid delays will predictably extend the timeframe in which we can conduct five years of work. Accepting project delays, first as colleagues in the North could not collect fieldwork data while on lockdown in Europe and forced to work from home, and then as colleagues in the South self-managed the Third Wave of Covid in the summer of 2021 as Tanzanian leadership recognized the pandemic as a public health threat is part of decolonizing research. CBS and UDSM political scientists are writing about our work on decolonizing a concept now.

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