A woman from Dar Es Salaam reviews a booklet containing data she and others produced about community priorities.


Collect and share back citizen-generated data about community priorities

Who is this resource for?

This resource helps practitioners, researchers, and others who are interested closing feedback loops between decision-makers and the people they serve. Use this resource as a guide to engage communities about issues that matter to them, to share that information back with them, and to view open data about data “borrowed” from citizens in Tanzania.

What does this resource include?

This resource contains:

  • A how-to guide to conduct “Listening Campaigns” and “Shareback Sessions”
  • Open data about Tanzanian community priorities from 2017—2018.

Where has this resource been used?

This resource was developed primarily by Sahara Ventures, who used these methods in 14 wards across Tanzania to help align activities to community priorities.This effort was part of Data Zetu, a two-year project to amplify data-informed decision-making to improve health, gender, and economic outcomes for local communities.

What intangible assets are needed?

Because these activities challenge participants to raise sensitive issues, the team must be particularly skilled at community-driven development and research. Familiarity with local formal and informal leadership structures, norms, and lifestyles is important to ensure meaningful participation and buy-in. Design thinking skills, especially familiarity with tools to facilitate brainstorming and prioritization, will also help the process.

Who owns and updates this resource?

This resource was created by Sahara Ventures and hosted online by the Tanzania Data Lab (dLab), a center of excellence for data science and use based at the College of ICT at the University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania.

For questions, ideas, or comments, please contact

What other resources could help?

Many efforts are under way to help close feedback loops for improved services and civic engagement:

How do I get started?

Begin by reading this blog post about how the Data Zetu project moved from collecting data to borrowing it. Then, read the how-to guide to follow the methodology. If you’re looking for insights about the communities in these 14 wards, you can view their priorities in the same resource linked below.

Are the costs worth the while?

Although costs will vary substantially according to context, implementers should assume that hosting a Listening Campaign may cost between $12,000 and $18,000 while hosting a share-back session may cost between $6,000 and $10,000. These costs include not only the day-of costs logistical costs, but also include the necessary preparatory steps that ensure greater success, such as engagement with local decision makers. Listening Campaign costs can be expected to be higher than ShareBack sessions because they can take two days instead of one, and because the preparatory outreach is more extensive. The full cost of holding a Listening Campaign is substantial, but DCLI results point to the potential for lasting relevance that may justify these costs. Notably, citizens who choose to replicate the Listening Campaign or Share Back session model in their own communities can do so with almost no resources at all – $50 for materials and refreshments for a few hours could result in substantial value and outcomes, as we’ve seen demonstrated in Tanzania.


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