Read caption Photo: Patric Ekløf/NRC

NRC in United Republic of Tanzania

NRC started activities in 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 2017.

Humanitarian overview

Political instability and violence in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have forced more than 350,000 people to seek protection in neighbouring Tanzania. The majority reside in the country’s three biggest refugee camps: Nyarugusu, Mtendeli and Nduta.

Tanzania has a strict encampment policy. Refugees are not allowed to move outside the overcrowded refugee camps, and are forced to stay in mass shelters where they lack privacy and basic facilities. The risk of disease and abuse is high, and vital resources, like firewood for cooking and water are scarce.

Despite the voluntary repatriation of 21,008 individuals to Burundi, camps are still full and authorities are reluctant to open new camps. This has become a concern for humanitarian organisations who, despite efforts, struggle to provide enough drinking water to the refugees, let alone education for the thousands of children who are missing out on school.

About half of the Burundian and Congolese refugees in Tanzania are children. Many must stay in refugee camps for years without a chance to go to school.


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 and we now manage Nyarugusu refugee camp.

But overcrowding in camps makes it difficult to meet increasing needs. Together with other humanitarian organisations, we advocate for the Tanzanian government to urgently allocate viable land for new refugee camps.

NRC Camp managementCamp management

We plan the coordination of refugee camps in Tanzania. Our teams:

  • map the needs of the displaced populations
  • identify the needs and gaps and reduce overlapping of services
  • promote mutual communication between actors in the camps, assessing the support needed for community leaders to exercise their role in a more transparent and efficient way
  • train our local staff to run help desks in refugee camps

NRC EducationEducation

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

  • provide vocational training including basic education, life skills and entrepreneurship skills to youth
  • provide quality training for teachers
  • provide catch-up classes for children who are out of school, as well as teenagers and youth with a focus on females, especially young mothers
  • establish safe learning spaces for children and youth
  • provide nurseries for young mothers to make it easier for them to study
  • advocate for safe temporary learning spaces to encourage girls and youth to study

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 the residents live in emergency shelters and tents that are in poor condition. Our teams:

  • construct transitional shelters
  • provide emergency shelter facilities
  • construct primary schools and a youth community centre
  • develop more cost efficient and environmental friendly shelter solutions

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:

  • construct latrines
  • provide basic hygiene items, such as soap
  • conduct hygiene promotions on good hygiene practices
  • provide drinking taps and latrines in schools
  • supply clean and safe water through maintenance of borehole generators, pumps and fuel management
  • rehabilitate water pipeline systems
NRC Tanzania is grateful for the generous support from our donors:
  • NMFA
  • DFID
  • NRCP
  • private donations 

About NRC in (country)

International staff
Areas of operation
Kibondo (Country office), Kigoma
Budget 2018
USD 6.6 million
National staff


Country Director

Neil Turner


+255 629 359 769