At the end of last month, AAD undertook a reconnaissance and preparation mission in Tanzania and Burundi. The objective: to meet the local UNHCR representatives in order to organize and roll out the “Refugees on the Move” program in these two countries.
The first meeting was held at the UNHCR office in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania where Jean-Michel Champault and Aloyce Makonde (coordinator in charge of the Tanzanian program) introduced the creation of ADD and their projects. They then departed for the refuge camp in Nyarugusu.
Nyarugusu is the last existing camp open to refugees in Tanzania. It is huge, completely closed, and home to a population of 66,000 refugees (of which 63,000 come from the DRC). It is here that our delegation met with the team from the International Rescue Committee, an NGO created in 1933 by Albert Einstein, and the head of education, culture, and entertainment, Monica Nyatega. It was followed by a meeting with Gilbert Gahanga, representative from the UNHCR. The work of AAD was presented to them and the decision was made to begin the first dance workshops in the camps in November. The Tanzanian part of the mission was therefore concluded to be a success.
In Burundi, Jean-Michel Champault met Maguelone Arsac, the UNHCR administrator in charge of community services. Together they held a meeting with Samuel Ndayisenga, the coordinator for the “Office national pour la protection des réfugiés et apatrides” (ONPRA) (the National Office for Protection of Refugees and Stateless Peoples), and Ciza Muhirwa, head coordinator of the Burundi program. The methods – which were welcomed with enthusiasm—were implemented in the camps where they were originally discussed. Two other parties taking part in the program were met in Bujumbra: Felix Sarrazin, Assistant Director to the IRC Burundi programs, as well as Catherine Huck, representative for UNHCR Burundi, who expressed an open and solid support for the project.
It seems that the camp populations, in both Tanzania and Burundi, are in a certain way comparable: in the two cases, the majority of the refugees come from, the DRC (principally from the North and South of Kivu and from the North of Katanga. Unlike the situation in Central Africa, the UNHCR estimates that the influx of refugees will indeed continue in these two countries.
In Nyarugusu, Tanzania where the refugees do not have the possibility to leave the camp or to work, they may attend school up to the high school level, but cannot pursue higher education. We will likely try to target our program on this population next.
In Burundi, the situation is different: no camp (there are four, one of which groups together children and youth who have lost their parents) exceeds 10,000 persons. Ciza Muhirwa will soon begin a scouting mission in these camps to present AAD and the “Refugees on the Move” project and move forward to identify the first candidates for the program.