Natural gas projects and local community development in Tanzania


Tanzania, United Republic of

Focus Area

Inclusive Growth and Community Engagement





sustainable development goals


$49,900 CAN


Global Affairs Canada

Who Benefits

Academic research community

Government of Tanzania

Communities in the gas-producing region of Mtwara

Delivery Partners

University of British Columbia

University of Dar es Salaam

The Challenge

Tanzania aims to become a middle-income country by 2025. Natural gas development has been identified as one of the platforms to launch this development strategy. In addition to using natural gas for domestic consumption, power generation and industrial development, the Tanzanian government has announced the country will become a leading liquefied natural gas exporting country in East Africa. Accountability mechanisms must be instituted to ensure that equitable compensation is provided to those who have lost their farmlands and other livelihood assets due to gas project developments. The concerns of the communities directly impacted by the natural gas development need to be documented and understood by policy- and decision-makers in order to have their needs addressed.

Project Details

CIRDI’s team investigated how natural gas development projects are unfolding in the Mtwara District in southern Tanzania and the extent to which they are impacting the social and cultural fabric of rural communities. A community baseline survey of 841 households was completed in 2016, followed by a successful multi-stakeholder workshop at which the research findings were disseminated and discussed.

Cross-cutting themes


  • The baseline survey contained gender-inclusive questions and included focus group discussions for women only. The multi-stakeholder workshop included 34% of women. The research found that gas development projects do not address women’s concerns and livelihood situations and that women are not well represented in decision-making forums.


  • The research captured individual and collective experiences of environmental dispossession that were further communicated to decision-makers.


  • It is anticipated that improving governance, with a focus on communities directly affected by the gas development projects, results in tangible benefits to the affected population in terms of poverty reduction and improvement in livelihoods.

Project Results and Impact

  • Completed baseline survey of 841 households in the Mtwara region, capturing the narratives of those whose lives have been directly affected by the gas project.
  • Workshop held in Dar es Salaam in August 2016 with 31 participants (34% female) to disseminate and enrich research findings. Workshop participants included representatives from Mtwara District communities, Mtwara District Council, academia, research institutions, and civil society organizations.
  • Documented and analyzed the nature of social transformation as experienced and expressed by the local people who were directly or indirectly affected by the development of the natural gas development processes. This research resulted in knowledge being mobilized on how government and other stakeholders can implement gender-responsive community-level development initiatives in gas producing regions. The final report findings were released in March 2019 and disseminated among the local government stakeholders.

Download the research paper here.


project team

View All Projects