P019 – Identity Mobilization, Citizenship and Public Services Provision
8 July, 16:00-17:30

Bailly Cynthia / Centre suisse de recherches scientifiques en Côté d'Ivoire


This panel addresses the issues of ownership and citizenship through the prism of the provision of public services and infrastructure in different countries. It aims to analyze the dynamics of property, the demands for public services and explores the link between intimate place, materiality and articulating dimensions of citizenship and belonging to the city. The provision of public services is understood as a political arena in which are traded daily relations between different communities, and local and national authorities. The panel demonstrates that, in a context of uncertainty regarding the rights to public services, identity mobilization for the provision of public facilities and services are a way of claiming integration into the political community city. It also shows that these mobilizations are the source of the institutionalization process in a context where the state is remarkable by its absence in public services provision such as health, education and sanitation.

Mobilisation identitaire, citoyenneté et services public
Ce panel aborde les questions de la propriété et de la citoyenneté à travers le prisme de la prestation de services publics et d’infrastructures dans différents pays. Il vise à analyser les dynamiques de la propriété et les demandes de services publics et explore ainsi le lien ténu entre le lieu, la matérialité et l’articulation des dimensions de citoyenneté et d’appartenance à la ville. Les services publics sont ainsi appréhendés comme une arène politique au sein de laquelle sont négociées quotidiennement les relations entre, les différentes communautés, les autorités locales et nationales. Le panel vise à montrer que, dans un contexte d’insécurité relative aux droits et aux services publics, les mobilisations identitaires pour l’accès aux services publics et d’équipements sont un moyen de revendiquer l’intégration dans la communauté politique de la ville. Il montre également que ces mobilisations sont à la genèse d’un processus d’institutionnalisation dans un contexte où l’État brille par son absence pour ce qui concerne le développement de services publics comme la santé, l’éducation ou l’assainissement.

Paper 1

Falisse Jean Benoît / Oxford University

Social Accountability and Relationship to Power in Burundi and South Kivu: Experiments in Health Centres

For decades now, community-elected committees and decentralisation have been popular policies for improving basic social services delivery in Africa. The case of health care is particularily emblematic; most countries have set up health committees made of elected citizens to oversee and co-manage health facilities but little is known of the consequences of this strategy. Mixed-methods experimental approaches can be used to understand the impact of such committees on services delivery.
A project for reinforcing health committees was randomly implemented in rural clinics of Burundi and the neighbouring province of South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Assessments show important differences between the two places; reinforcing the committees led to increased social accountability and remarkable improvements in health services provision in South Kivu but much less so in Burundi. The paper focuses on this difference and argues that a key element for the efficiency of citizens’ committees is ordinary people’s relationship to power. This relationship is more ‘horizontal’ in South Kivu, where power is openly contested and discussed, than in Burundi. At the root of this difference lie diverse experiences of war and violence, distinct histories of autocratic rule, and dissimilar types of settlements (villages versus houses scattered across the hills).

Paper 2

Ranjan Sanjiv / Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India

The blurred line of citizenship and ownership through the prism of Public Services; A comparative study of India and Africa

The concept of citizenship as entitles one the basic right of residing, purchasing property, marriage, right to work etc. Clearly it enshrines the concept of granting the citizens the system of free and just society for the citizens security & development. In the days of Greece, the system of “Citizenship” entitles one freedom from slavery to right to vote.
But the cynic of citizenship in the contemporary world has argued over the validity of citizenship on the merits of public services . The post colonial world and specifically India and Africa shares the juggernaut. Entitlement of public services is assured only to the citizens through BPL, PIO, OIC etc. The problem of NRI`s regarding Visa extension or for different public services seems a tough task. The ruling of Supreme court in Indian (2014) accepted Enunchs as 3rd gender citizens. But before they were not entitled to ration card, right to marry or vote. The questions on Bangladeshi migrants is another bone of contention between the parties whether to grant citizenship status so as to entitle them certain basic right to public services. Africa too is marred by corruption, illiteracy and health facilities which can be reformed(1980) by engaging citizens through the rights to public services to citizens. Africa need infrastructural as well as cooperative citizenships to boost Africa`s development.

Paper 3

Kinsey Bill / Ruzivo Trust, Harare, Zimbabwe

Local Identities and Community Mobilization to Ensure Healthy Futures for Africa’s Rural Children

For decades it was thought the key to improving nutrition in Africa lay in boosting food security. Despite interventions to improve food security, linear growth failure in childhood, or stunting, is the most prevalent form of undernutrition globally. Some 165 million children < 5 years of age are stunted, the majority Africans. Undernutrition underlies 45% of all child deaths among young children. Stunting more pervasively hinders the development potential and human capital of entire societies due to its long-term impact on cognitive function and adult economic productivity. Yet African states have failed to mobilize the resources and services to address child stunting effectively.

Anthropometric assessments of the well-being of rural children in a 30-year panel study in rural Zimbabwe show the nutritional status of children has declined annually, despite generally rising incomes and farm productivity. This paradox, in the administratively created communities that resulted from land reform 30 years ago, raises issues about why local identities and citizenship have not been more effective in providing services the state does not. The paper explores the relationship between worsening child nutrition and the social and environmental setting of rural Zimbabwean households. It questions the extent to which anything less than effective community mobilization—leading to sustained behavioral changes and creative adaptation–is likely to positively shape nutritional outcomes.

Paper 4

Razanakoto Pascal / Université d’Antananarivo

Public services, Citizenship and conflictuality about access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa

Les difficultés d’accès à l’électricité, et l’ampleur des mouvements citoyens de protestations autour de ce service public en ville soulèvent les enjeux problématiques du droit à la ville, et de la citoyenneté urbaine notamment en Afrique subsaharienne. Les conflictualités urbaines entre citoyens et Etat central d’une part, entre usagers consommateurs et entreprises publiques d’énergie d’autre part, se traduisent par des tensions sociales, et frustrations aboutissant au processus de mobilisations identitaires en ville.
A partir d’analyses d’enquêtes des acteurs de l’énergie, et des discours des mouvements citoyens dans quelques pays africains (Y’en A Marre au Sénégal, Wake up à Madagascar, The Citizens Voice en Afrique du Sud), cette contribution montre que les citadins et usagers de services publics en Afrique manifestent de plus en plus de capacités de réflexions et d’actions citoyennes dans la gestion des cités, et le contrôle de l’action publique, notamment ici dans le secteur de l’électricité. Cela d’autant plus que les canaux formels de demandes publiques (représentants civils élus, députés locaux, consultations publiques,…) sont de plus en plus inefficaces. De ces conflictualités émergent un processus d’affirmation de la citoyenneté urbaine, voire des formes de citoyenneté informelle.

Paper 5

Ayumbah Akallah Jethron / Technische Universitat Darmstadt

From Blind Spot to Blank Spot: Fragmentation, Ethnic Mobilization and Service Provision within Kibera Flexible Settlement in Nairobi, Kenya

Urbanization in Africa is as old as history. Many times the African city has been represented as a place of chaos where nothing works and everything goes; a place devoid of functional infrastructure be it security, transport, water and sanitation and environmental conservation. While this could be a preserve of pessimists, the city on the African map is a site of creativity, innovation, adaptability and socio-political mobilization. The African city is dichotomized into zones with its connectivity to basic infrastructure skewed towards advantaged groups. Some areas of the city continue to operate as blank spots from former colonial blind spots. Kibera in Nairobi is one of such blind spots on the African geo-political outlay. What makes Kibera unique and of interest is the Nubian question. Nubians, originally from Sudan, were used by the British colonial officers for pacification and conquest. They were then allowed to settle in Kibera but later disowned by the colonial state.
Applying an interpretive research design and presenting its findings descriptively, this paper is of the idea that the situation in Africa’s flexible areas deserves a need-based mobilization as an approach to claim for service provision.

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