An exploration and analysis of the role which local non-governmental welfare organisations play in social service provision and their impact on service users in Tanzania

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Much research has been done on social problems in African nations, with significant attention being paid to the prevalence of social issues in Tanzania. Older people, street children, women, and people with disabilities are among those affected by a diverse range of problems. In the absence of general social welfare provision by the Tanzanian Government, many people rely on the social services provided by NGOs. This thesis examines the development of welfare provision in Tanzania since the end of the nineteenth century before focusing on the attitudes and activities of three current organisations: Magu Poverty Focus on Older People Rehabilitation Centre (MAPERECE), Dogodogo Street Children Trust, and the Social Mainstreaming for Gender Equality Organisation (SMGEO). The thesis explores the different ways in which these organisations understand their role and respond to social issues. It also examines the ways in which service users experience the impact of the different organisations. One-to-one interviews with people associated with these organisations—managers, employees, and service users—were undertaken. This study recruited and interviewed a total number of fifty-seven participants across the three organisations. Within MAPERECE – Magu Poverty Focus On Older People Rehabilitation Centre, I interviewed twenty-two participants. Another fifteen participants took part in interviews from within Dogodogo Street Children Trust. Furthermore, twenty participants took part in an interview from SMGEO – Social Mainstreaming for Gender Equality Organisation. The thesis uses Dominelli’s distinction between maintenance, therapeutic, and emancipatory approaches to social work to explore the organisations’ activities in greater depth. In addressing problems that affect people’s wellbeing, the organisations’ responses focus mainly on advocacy and on targeting social structures. This focus on structural change means that the organisations can overlook people’s immediate tangible needs and concerns. Adopting Dominelli’s model in studying the organisations’ work helps us understand areas that service providers may need to improve. The study concludes that maintenance and therapeutic approaches alone are insufficient to tackle social problems. However, using only the emancipatory method is also insufficient to meet clients’ needs. The organisations need to do more to address clients’ needs for immediate help, whilst also recognising that many of these problems are rooted in community and social structures.
Date of Award3 Feb 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorBernard Harris (Supervisor) & Gillian MacIntyre (Supervisor)

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