Paper: Religious Influence on Humanitarianism: Evidence from Local Communities Affected by Floods in Kilosa-Tanzania

Paper details

Paper authors Lucas Shija Kitula and Nandera Ernest Mhando
In panel on Everyday humanitarianism
Paper presenter(s) will be presenting In-Person & Online


This study seeks to provide an understanding of how religion influences humanitarian practices by local communities affected by floods and how they contribute to the survival of the communities. The study used empirical data collected from interviews and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with local community members in Kilosa District. The study found that both Muslims and Christians consider "helping" the needy as a God’s instruction and command. Moreover, helping the needy is among the ways of validating someone’s faith, erasing sins, respecting others, worshipping and a duty to God. The study shows that local communities have been practising humanitarianism by helping victims of floods through giving them basic needs such as food, clothes, housing floods victims, education services like paying school fees and buying uniforms for students, and provision of health-related services. These humanitarian practices have a significant contribution to the survival of the communities as they ensure availability of food for victims, good health and wellbeing, and access to social services like education for children. The article, therefore, illustrates not only how humanitarianism through religious influence is a key factor for communities’ survival but also exposes how local community members are key actors in backing up the government and other development partners’ efforts towards ensuring well-being of people during and/after the occurrence of natural disasters like floods.