A1 Journal article (refereed)
Is no One Left Behind? : Inclusive Citizenship in Practices of Self-help Groups in Rural Tanzania (2023)

Matunga, B. N., & Kontinen, T. (2023). Is no One Left Behind? : Inclusive Citizenship in Practices of Self-help Groups in Rural Tanzania. Forum for Development Studies, 50(1), 83-105. https://doi.org/10.1080/08039410.2023.2176784

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsMatunga, Benta N.; Kontinen, Tiina

Journal or seriesForum for Development Studies



Publication year2023

Publication date28/02/2023


Issue number1

Pages range83-105

PublisherNorwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI); Norwegian Association for Development Research; Routledge

Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/86063

Additional informationNorDev21: Development, Learning and Education. Post-pandemic Considerations?


The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are based on the Agenda 2030 according to which ‘no one is left behind’, highlighting the need for inclusive citizenship at all levels. This article examines self-help groups in rural Tanzania as potential arenas for inclusive citizenship, which is defined as bottom-up practices of membership, participation, and livelihood enhancement. However, inclusive citizenship is also characterised by exclusions. Therefore, while acknowledging the important contribution of self-help groups for development, this article scrutinises the question of patterns of exclusion, first, in practices of self-help groups, and second, in the relationships between self-help groups and their wider environments. Based on participant observation, individual interviews, and focus groups discussions in three villages in Mpwapwa District in Tanzania, we found exclusions in the process of establishing groups, while participating in the groups, and in relation to the community and the wider socio-economic system. The findings show how less privileged members of a community are easily excluded from the groups based on criteria related to wealth and perceived trustworthiness, and how the improvements in livelihoods, capacities, and collective action remain local, and do not expand to engagement in wider decision-making nor to addressing the root causes of poverty.

Keywordscivil societysocial inclusionparticipationcivic activismself-help groupspovertysocial exclusionrural communitiesvillage communities

Free keywordsinclusive citizenship; exclusion; self-help groups; participation practices; poverty reduction; Tanzania

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Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2023

Preliminary JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 18:16