Tanzania and Burundi

Country Facts

DRC present since:


Staff on location:


What we do

Displacement situation 

Tanzania has hosted a fluctuating population of Burundian refugees for several decades, which has grown and shrunk in accordance with recurring waves of political and ethnic strife in Burundi. As such, many Burundian refugees in Tanzania are living in a situation of protracted displacement. The most recent wave of Burundians began arriving in Tanzania in 2015, in response to a violent political crisis surrounding presidential succession in Burundi. 

These political tensions, along with general insecurity, a difficult economic situation, and complex land, housing, and property issues, mean that many refugees are unable or unwilling to return to Burundi, despite an ongoing voluntary repatriation process. 

The Tanzanian government’s strict encampment policy means that refugees are confined to three designated camps in western Tanzania, where opportunities to earn a livelihood and live a self-reliant life are scarce. As such, most refugees, particularly women and girls, are dependent on humanitarian assistance and vulnerable to a variety of protection risks. 

To support the refugees participating in the voluntary repatriation process, DRC expanded its presence to Burundi in 2018, working to ensure the successful reintegration of returnees to Burundian society. 

DRC’s response 


DRC established operations in Tanzania in October 2015 to provide emergency assistance to Burundian refugees fleeing violence following disputed presidential elections held earlier in the year. Our operations initially focused on the Nduta and Mtendeli refugee camps, but in 2020 we opened a new field office in Kasulu and took over the management of Nyarugusu Camp, where both Congolese and Burundian refugees live 

Because of the protracted nature of displacement in Tanzania, DRC’s initial emergency response has shifted into more long-term interventions, including support to the host communities in the vicinity of the camps. Today DRC delivers integrated multi-sectoral assistance combining camp coordination and management, livelihood programming, individual and community-based protection, general food distribution, as well as water, sanitation, and hygiene services.  


DRC established operations in Burundi in October 2018, under the management of the Tanzania country programme. The Burundi programme is based in the capital, Bujumbura. 

DRC implements several projects in Burundi, primarily working with returnees from Tanzania and other neighbouring countries. Support for returnees is a key element of our commitment to supporting Burundian refugees through all stages of the displacement cycle, from initial displacement to return/integration. 

Our first intervention in Burundi itself was a resilience and food security program for returnees. In April 2020 we expanded our operations, initiating a new comprehensive cross-border intervention aimed at enhancing the protective environment and addressing the basic needs of the most vulnerable returnees in Burundi and Burundian refugees and asylum seekers in Tanzania. These projects are being implemented from 2 recently opened field offices in Rutana and Muyinga Provinces.  


Stephan Petrus Deutekom

Country Director

[email protected]