The Legitimacy of Sustainability Initiatives in Tanzania

Rasul Ahmed Minja*, Stefano Ponte, Asubisye Mwamfupe, Christine Noe, Daniel Brockington

*Corresponding author for this work

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In this article, we examine selected sustainability initiatives from the perspective of local communities to improve our understanding of how putative participatory schemes manage legitimacy. Understanding the legitimacy dynamics of sustainability initiatives is important, as it potentially minimizes the power gaps likely to open across scales and jurisdictions. We analyze selected sustainability initiatives in southern Tanzania dealing with wildlife, forest, and coastal resources and find that they have generally struggled to manage input, process, and impact legitimacy—except for the community-based forestry initiatives. They have been more inclined towards providing training on conservation issues than facilitating alternative livelihood activities. While they are perceived as having achieved some improvements in environmental conditions, they have had minimal effects on socio-economic and livelihood outcomes. This has culminated into significant levels of community dissatisfaction with their performance, which questions their long-term viability.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe European Journal of Development Research
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)453-482
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Published online: 10 March 2022.


  • Sustainability
  • Legitimacy
  • Conservation
  • Forestry
  • Coastal
  • Wildfire resources
  • Tanzania

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