Zanzibar, 20 December, 2021- As part of the UN Development Account (UNDA) funded project “Leaving No Place Behind – Strengthening Urban-Rural Linkages in selected countries in Africa”, UN-Habitat and the Zanzibar Commission of Land held a series of workshops to validate the project’s outcomes on challenges, opportunities and recommendations for strengthening urban rural linkages in relevant policy frameworks.

A total of 115 participants from government ministries, departments and their agencies, local governments and municipalities, NGO’s, Civil Societies, and academia were involved. The stakeholders shared insightful reviews and comments to the project outcomes, including making recommendations for Zanzibar urban policy that is currently under development. The workshops were conducted in all the five regions of Zanzibar, namely: North Unguja, South Unguja, Urban West, North Pemba and South Pemba. 

The plenary sessions began with opening remarks by Mr.  Muchi J. Ameir, the Director of Urban and Rural Planning from Zanzibar Commission of Land, who thanked UN-Habitat for the continued support in the implementation of the project. He also emphasized the relevance of participatory engagements in development initiatives, encouraging the participants to give their honest feedback to the project outcomes.

The urban-rural linkages focal point in Zanzibar, Mr. Mohammed Chande, noted the vision of the New Urban Agenda on “Leaving No one and No space behind.” He encouraged the participants to openly contribute as this would form an integral part of the Zanzibar urban policy under development.  Ms. Grace Githiri, UN-Habitat’s project coordinator, then gave a brief overview of the Urban-rural linkages global program and thanked the stakeholders for their commitment and particularly Zanzibar Commission of Land for its unfailing support in the project.

The next part of the session began with a pre-assessment of the participants to understand the audience present including their knowledge on Urban-Rural Linkages. The assessment showed that the workshop comprised participants from diverse professional backgrounds. It was also clear that majority of participants were familiar with urban-rural linkages, mainly attributed to several capacity building workshops held before. The pre-assessment was followed by presentation of the project progress and outcomes by Mr. Hassan Rashid Shaaban, UN-Habitat Project Officer in Zanzibar. Participants appreciated the demonstration of progress and provided valuable recommendations. To enhance a participatory process, the participants were placed in smaller focus groups, where they discussed further on the project, giving additional reviews and recommendations on policy, projects, possible initiatives among others.

Finally, the workshops ended with post assessment surveys and closing remarks.