Case Study: Displacement-Affected Communities Dialogue in the Borderlands of Tanzania and Burundi

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In Tanzania, DRC/DDG implemented an ECHO and DANIDA co-funded protection project called “Enhance protective environment for Burundian refugees in North-western Tanzania”, which included conflict management elements.

DDG regional staff were involved in the initial design of the project and in carrying out a thorough conflict analysis looking at both refugee dynamics in the camps as well as refugee and host community relationships.

The conflict analyses informed some previously neglected protection issues, especially with regard to refugee and host community dynamics, but most importantly, it informed the issues to be addressed and the actors to be engaged in conflict management activities. A Training of trainers was held drawing on existing DDG tools and manuals, which were also adapted based on the issues which emerged out of the conflict analysis.

DRC protection staff used the training manual and tools developed by DDG regional coordinators to train on conflict management skills to 2,060 people, from both refugees and host communities representatives. 936 participants in the trainings (45%) were women.

DDG regional coordinators also provided guidance for the organisation of community dialogue forums between the refugees and the host community. Two community dialogue forums were organised in 2018 gathering refugee representatives (community leaders, religious leaders, women and youth representatives) and host community representatives (village and ward executive officers, village chairmen from villages surrounding the camps).

“There is no better way to resolve disputes than sitting in a round table and discussing the issues peacefully.” – Male refugee participant, Community dialogue forum, Mtendeli camp.

The community dialogue forums offered refugee and host community representatives the space to discuss some of the issues affecting their communities, concerning both sources of tension and means to deal with these. The forums gave participants an opportunity to share their concerns and hopes, while also offering the space to build mutual trust and understanding and humanise each other. Each community dialogue forum resulted in a list of action points aimed at fostering positive and constructive interaction between refugees and host communities.

“It was good to show that refugee and host community members can live together peacefully. I would suggest that we hold such forums more often. It has taught us that we are one so we need to live peacefully and learn to solve misunderstanding amicably.” Female representative of the host community, Community dialogue forum in Nduta.

Thanks to additional funding from ECHO, four additional community dialogue forums were organised in 2019.

In 2020 more community dialogue forums are planned thanks to funding from DFID, who saw value in continuing the initiative in order to promote peaceful coexistence and durable solutions in Tanzania.

For more information on DRC/DDG’s programme in Tanzania, feel free to access: https://drc.ngo/where-we-work/east-africa/tanzania