Read caption Photo: Ingrid Prestetun/NRC

NRC in United Republic of Tanzania

NRC started activities in the Kigoma region of Tanzania in 2016 to assist Burundian refugees with education, shelter, water and sanitation and hygiene.


A total of


people in need received our assistance in 2020.


Humanitarian overview

Tanzania hosts 237,833 refugees (160,271 Burundians, 77,404 Congolese and 158 other nationalities). 

Tanzania is emphasising Burundian voluntary returns and by August, 15,000 had voluntarily returned to their homeland. Rate of registering has increased and UNHCR anticipates that by the end of 2020 returns will be at 30,000. 

Humanitarian organisations struggle to provide basic services including drinking water, education, shelter and social services due to a significant decline in funding.

Tanzania pulled out of the UN’s Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework and has implemented restrictions on refugees’ access to livelihood projects. Meanwhile, all borders are closed for refugees. With limited resources and funding, the situation remains dire. Through a tripartite agreement between Burundi, Tanzania and UNHCR, 90,000 Burundian refugees were projected to return in 2019. NRC advocates to maintain the voluntary return principles of an informed decision and a dignified return to safe areas.

People we helped in Tanzania in 2020

people benefited from our education programme
people benefited from our shelter programme
people benefited from our ICLA programme
people benefited from our WASH programme

NRC's operation

After civil war broke out in Burundi in 2015, we started operations in Tanzania to support people living in Mtendeli and Nduta refugee camps close to the Burundian border. In May 2017, we expanded our operations to Nyarugusu. Since January 2020, we implement WASH, shelter and infrastructure programmes in all three camps as UNHCR's main implementing partner, education in Mtendeli and Nyarugusu and ICLA in Nduta camp.

NRC EducationEducation

The situation in the education sector is disastrous. For every classroom that exists, there is a need for more. As Tanzanian authorities do not accept temporary structures, many children are learning outside under trees in huge groups. Our intervention includes:

  • Accelerated Education Programmes (AEP)
  • vocational training including basic education, life skills and entrepreneurship skills to youth
  • quality training for teachers
  • catch-up classes for children who are out of school, as well as teenagers and youth with a focus on females, especially young mothers.
  • the establishment of safe learning spaces for children and youth
  • nurseries for young mothers to make it easier for them to study
  • advocacy for safe temporary learning spaces to encourage girls and youth to study
  • the promotion and support for girls' eduction in Nyarugusu refugee camp

NRC Shelter and settlementsShelter and settlements

Lack of shelter has been identified as one of the main needs in the camps. Over 60 per cent of residents live in emergency shelters and tents that are in poor condition. We provide shelter and maintain infrastructure in Mtendeli, Nduta and Nyarugusu camps where our intervention includes:

  • construction, maintenance and upgrade of transitional shelters
  • providing emergency shelter facilities
  • distributing and erecting pre-fabricated refugee housing units
  • developing more cost efficient and environmentally friendly shelter solutions
  • maintaining access roads and bridges in the camps
  • constructing permanent building facilities such as schools, offices and police stations
  • constructing permanent shelters for people with specific needs in the host communities 

NRC Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion

In crowded camps, it is essential that people have proper sanitation facilities and good hygiene practices to prevent diseases. We work with UNHCR in Mtendeli, Nyarugusu and Nduta camps where we provide WASH services. Our intervention includes:

  • providing safe drinking and domestic water
  • constructing block latrines in schools
  • assisting and facilitating refugees to construct household latrines
  • providing basic hygiene items, such as soap, handwashing facilities and hygiene trainings
  • conducting hygiene promotion on good hygiene practices
  • undertaking vector controls
  • installing hand washing facilities in the camps and surrounding host communities 

NRC Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)

In a bid to focus more on realising the protection of and durable solutions for the refugees in Tanzania, we started the ICLA programme in Tanzania in the last quarter of 2018. The assessment in 2018 informed programming for 2019. We have supported the printing and provision of 4,726 birth certificates in Kibondo and Kasulu districts. After a long time advocating, NRC received approval from the goverment in September to support with issuing and printing 17,000 birth certificates in Nduta camp. Support and provision of civil documentation, especially provision of birth certificates for children under 10, is ongoing in the host communities.

NRC Tanzania is grateful for the generous support from our donors:
  • Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
  • United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
  • United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR)
  • UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)
  • EU Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO)
  • Global Affairs Canada (GAC)
  • Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
  • NRC private funds
  • Irish Aid

About NRC in Tanzania

International staff
Areas of operation
Kibondo (Country Office) and Kigoma region
Budget 2020
NOK 127 million
National staff


Country Director

Neil Turner


+255 629 359 769