Humanitarian response for Burundian refugee influx in Tanzania

Protection of refugee's health through the strengthening of access to water and sanitation.
Energy & Infrastructure

Humanitarian response for Burundian refugee influx in Tanzania

Protection of refugee's health through the strengthening of access to water and sanitation.

Contact details

Submitted by: Alice Kabongo, Humanitarian Aid Officer

Introduction to the project 




1 September 2016 - 28 February 2018


Oxfam’s intervention aims at strengthening access to water and sanitation in Nyarugusu and Nduta camps in the Kigoma region of western Tanzania as well as in the village of Kumuhasha, which is home to many refugees and host communities.

Project aims 

Contribute to the protection of health for Burundian Refugees (women, men girls and boys) in Nyaruguu and Nduta refugee camps and Kumuhasha village through better access to WASH services and information.

Resources used 

  • Humanitarian funding
  • Oxfam has years of experience in WASH management in refugee camps and leadership in showcasing innovation in WASH
  • In working with organisations such as UNHCR, Oxfam, due to its fundraising capacity is a strategic partner as it can mobilise external resources that are often very much in need when dealing with large operations

Main activities of the Good Practice

Furthermore, the activities of this good practice meet two of the GCR objectives, namely:

  • Objective 1 - Ease the pressures on host countries: The influx of Burundian refugees in Tanzania has continued since the political crisis in Burundi that started in April 2015. Since October 2016, the country has witnessed a renewed influx of refugees from Burundi. Oxfam has been the lead WASH services provider for both Nyarugusu and Nduta camps since May 2015. Oxfam, who is currently providing services to around 200,000 Burundian refugees, has extended WASH support to host communities near these camps and also delivered interventions in Emergency Food Security and vulnerable Livelihoods for both refugees and host communities. By doing so, Oxfam contributes to ease pressure on Tanzania as a host country by collaborating to the provision of equipment and to sensitization campaigns in the camps.
  • Objective 2 - Enhance refugee self-reliance: Innovative “Hygiene Clubs” were put in place to enable a child-to-child approach, in hygiene promotion, awareness and sensitization sessions. The trainings and hygiene promotion in school allow the refugees children to gain practical knowledge on health education, enhancing their self-reliance and ability to manage their own hygiene properly as well as feeling uplifted by the hygiene kits they received. The pupils demonstrated an understanding of hygiene messages. Moreover, the sensitization around hygiene and the prevention of diseases, such as communicable diseases allowed the children to actively participate in sharing hygiene messages with their peers and community members. Host communities were also receiving sensitization sessions. This approach helped refugee (and host community children) improve their self-reliance.

Another key aspect of this project is that the needs of both refugees and host communities are simultaneously addressed. In addition, children from refugee and host communities were empowered to adopt and promote good hygiene practices. This ensured sustainable impact and multiplying effects.


  • Host Communities
  • Norwegian Refugee Council
  • Government
  • Technical departments in the local district authorities in Kibondo
  • Community Health Promoter

Challenges and how they were overcome


  • The most significant gap was in sanitation where despite the efforts made under this project, the need in the refugee camps outweighed the supply
  • The environmental impact of the refugee programme and  exploration of sustainable water systems.
  • There was no agreement found on the division of roles between communities and other participants in the host community.

Results of the Good Practice 

  • Consideration of special groups through construction of sanitation facilities for the disabled and working with children in schools through hygiene clubs using the child to child approach, construction of child friendly latrines and distribution of children clothes and hygiene kits were some of the unique elements of the project. The evaluation found that the most positive impact of this approach was on increasing access to safe water, sanitation facilities and hygiene material including for the disabled persons and children.
  • Oxfam’s work with the host community was deemed as one of the major positive achievements in this project. Not only is Oxfam leading by demonstrating the importance of considering the needs of host communities living in the proximity of the refugee camps where its main programmes are, but it also gave the organisation an opportunity to link and work closely with the technical departments of the local district authorities in Kibondo. The reduction of conflict between host and refugee communities, providing model approaches for adoption at scale in the local community were some of major positive impacts of this project.
  • Overall, the project was found to have addressed relevant needs in the target communities and to have been effective in the adoption of technologies for water supply

Next steps 

It was recommended that a comprehensive WASH approach would be adopted for schools, that more capacity building on gender be undertaken and that Oxfam engages more with the district authorities on a long-term strategy relating to working with the host community.