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Centre for housing studies - Tanzania

CHS was established in 1979 as a sub-regional centre to serve Eastern and Southern Africa. A joint project of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ARDHI Ministry in Tanzania, the Centre for Housing Studies falls under the general umbrella of ARDHI Institute. The Institute as a whole was established in 1974 to provide pare-professional manpower throughout the country in Planning, Building Design, Quantity Surveying and Land Management. Most Students take 3-year courses, and although the emphasis is intended to be on practical skills rather than office work, most students go on to take Masters Degrees and many occupy administrative positions.

The Centre for Housing Studies is concerned with training, applied research, documentation and information services. Training is aimed at middle- and high-level manpower in the sub-region, mainly through short courses, either three months or three weeks in duration. Three-month courses have been held on Rural Housing, Housing Finance, Planning of Sites and Services and Squatter Upgrading Projects, Village and Small Town Planning, and Construction Management. Three-week courses have been held on Sanitation, Aerial Photography, Cooperatives and Rural Housing Construction. Research activities are focused on the impacts of the site and service and squatter upgrading program in Tanzania, to determine the benefits to residents or problems experienced in. implementation. Information dissemination is through the Centre's library, which also has a variety of other documents on housing. Finally the Centre conducts conferences, which have so far been held on "Towards a National Housing Policy", "Natural Fibre-Cement" and "Rural Housing".

Participants in training courses are mainly administrators who need to understand technical concepts in order to evaluate and supervise proposals from experts and consultants. They need to have leadership skills and be good at coordinating many decisions and actors. Above all, they need to know how to approach and gain acceptance from communities rather than simply imposing their plans upon them.

However, in the Workshop discussion much attention was given to the problems of project implementation in Tanzania, given the various interests involved and the sometimes conflicting bureaucratic channels. At the lower levels, although there are technical and revenue collection workers in the field, Tanzania has no Community Development workers on urban projects to make the link between party organization and bureaucracy, and this was felt to be a training gap that needed filling.