IOM, in coordination with key stakeholders and partners, aims to provide safe, voluntary and dignified repatriation and reintegration support to Burundian returnees from the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Rwanda.
Burundian refugees that returned through voluntary repatriation, spontaneous returnees, communities of return.
IOM, as co-lead of the NFI/Shelter sector in Burundi, coordinates this response with other partners, and the support given follows the standards approved by the sector, namely:
- Provision of shelter and shelter repair kits (SRKs) and household ventilated improved pit (VIP). Latrine (including a hand-washing system inclusive of soap), with associated toolkits which will be used by construction committees for the construction and repair works. Each construction committee will group 5 women representatives of beneficiary households and 2 expert masons, and will take on the repair or construction of 5 shelters.
- Provision of NFI kits, based on needs assessments and in-country standard composition.
- Rental support for households affected by natural or human-made disasters who do not have access to land or security of tenure.
- Communication with Communities (CwC) activities: provision of assistance will be complemented by sensitization activities on (1) good construction practices and risk mitigation for beneficiaries of shelter repairs or construction, and (2) financial inclusion, for beneficiaries of rental support. All distribution and awareness-raising activities will be carried out following recommended in-country COVID-19 preventive measures, such as physical distancing, limiting large crowds, wearing adequate protective equipment and using handwashing systems at distributions and sensitization sites.
- Support with access to basic household items, through cash-based interventions and in-kind support on a case-by-case basis based on a vulnerability index.
- Improve the general living conditions of vulnerable households through technical support provided to rehabilitate of damaged housing to support safe, private and dignified living conditions.
- Provide emergency assistance to vulnerable families living in critical or substandard shelters in informal sites and areas of return, through in-kind or emergency cash assistance.
In order to support the voluntary repatriation of Burundian refugees to their country of origin, IOM will:
- Provide movement assistance by road from Songore Transit Centre to the transit centre in Burundi, aligning in the process with agreed-to COVID-19 prevention measures. Medical support including first aid will also be considered.
- Provide all returnees with information on (return) movement assistance, and modalities have been put in place for individuals to register their interest in returning.
United Republic of Tanzania
There are three refugee camps in the United Republic of Tanzania's Kigoma region. The camps are Mtendeli, Nduta and Nyarugusu. Repatriation is a durable solution to the refugee situation in the country, and those voluntarily registering to return have been and will continue to be assisted with transportation services. IOM will:
- Bring refugees to the designated departure points in two of the three camps (Nduta and Nyarugusu).
- Transport those residing in the other camps.
- Subsequently, provide safe, orderly and dignified movement assistance by road to transit centres in Burundi following a three-day, pre-departure logistical preparation window in the United Republic of Tanzania.
- IOM Tanzania can operate at a rate of up to two convoy movements per week of 1,000 refugees each. Thus, IOM aims to be resourced and prepared for any eventuality – including the possibility that up to 2,000 refugees per week could be in need of repatriation assistance including pre-departure screening.
- The movement assistance will be aligned to recommended COVID-19 prevention and mitigation measures.
IOM currently supports returnees in facilitating their reintegration back into their areas of origin as well as supporting the communities of return. The returnees are usually faced with several challenges constituting barriers to safe and dignified living conditions, including destroyed or damaged housing and lack of basic services, such as safe water. This is also the situation with some IDPs, living in precarious situations. IOM will aim at:
- Improving access to safe water and reduce risks of water-borne diseases with improved access to clean water in accordance with SPHERE standards in their shelter and surroundings if possible.
- Provision of hygiene items, inclusive of Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) items for girls and women of reproductive age based on needs assessments, contextual recommendations from the GBV sub-sector (led by UNFPA), and in-country standard compositions approved by the relevant Ministry.
- Contribute to promoting improved hygiene practices among the supported households and communities through community sensitization and awareness-raising activities, also ensuring GBV mitigation risks into the provision of WASH services, through consultation of women and girls in their daily challenges accessing these services.
Awareness-raising activities and community dialogues will take into consideration recommended in-country COVID-19 preventive measures.
Upon arrival in Burundi, health and mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) will be provided, including referrals as needed, to returnees to ensure continuity of care. Additionally, mental health and psychosocial support services in communes of return will be provided to the most vulnerable returnees and community members by working with the government, civil society and key health partners in the provinces to strengthen their capacities as well as reinforce referral mechanisms. IOM Burundi will provide MHPSS with a focus on services that ensure a strengthened protection environment in the community by:
- Facilitating access to services and other measures to ensure social considerations and the safety of beneficiaries.
- Strengthening family and community support for people who can maintain their mental health and psychosocial well-being if they receive help in accessing this level of assistance.
- Provision of Psychological First Aid (PFA) as well as focused Psychosocial Support Services (PSS) through individual and group counseling).
- Providing psychiatric consultations and clinical psychological consultations to people with pre-existing and/or emerging forms of severe stress, behavioral and relational problems, and mental disorder conditions.
- Strengthening the capacity of civil society and government partners in the field of MHPSS.
- Building and strengthening referral mechanisms, in collaboration with Protection/GBV actors, similarly to health system strengthening activities.
All MHPSS activities will be in line with IOM’s Manual on Community-Based Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergencies and Displacement.
Address the drivers and longer term impacts of crises and displacement through investments in recovery and crisis prevention
Burundian refugees that returned through voluntary repatriation, spontaneous returnees, communities of return.
Relative to this objective, IOM Burundi will contribute to longer-term outcomes for durable solutions and social cohesion. This will include:
- Community stabilization activities: rehabilitation of water points through cash-for-work at the community level, to facilitate access to drinking water while strengthening capacities of maintenance of these water points in the community, and reinforcing social cohesion.
- Installation of rainwater collection points in key community infrastructure (community or health centers, schools, etc) to supply handwashing systems and water supply for agricultural activities.
- Hygiene promotion activities (capacity-building training and workshops delivered in line with COVID-19 prevention and mitigation recommendations) seeking behavioral change, in order to keep communities and their environment clean and impact positively on longer-term health and nutrition outcomes.
Many returnees are compelled to reside with family or friends upon their arrival in Burundi where tensions stemming from a lack of resources, including land and shelter, can arise. IOM will support the durable reintegration of returnees through enhancing their access to land, as well as access for displaced populations and communities.
- IOM will build on its Communicating with Communities (CwC) programming and provide sensitization trainings on the rights and processes to access land according to the national legislation, with returnees, communities and local authorities. These trainings will aim at reducing existing conflicts around housing, land and property (HLP) and will be followed by public validation of land titles at the community level.
- At the community level, IOM will aim at strengthening knowledge on HLP, Right to Land and administrative procedures to access land, especially in the case of female-headed households who are subject to further marginalization, especially when they have not been part of a formalized marriage. Beyond reducing tensions and conflict linked to HLP within the return areas, this programming will also mitigate risks of HLP-related gender-based violence (GBV).
- IOM will strengthen access to land for returnees and host communities through (1) advocacy on land rights and security of tenure, (2) reinforcement of the human and material capacity of communal land services, (3) support the development of tools and documents for the relevant ministries, in coordination with development actors and 4)raise awareness to returnees, displaced populations and communities on their rights to land as well as reinforce the administrative land structures.
IOM will conduct community stabilization activities in order to reinforce community resilience and social cohesion among areas of return, and supporting concerned communities in undergoing contextual demographic and socioeconomic changes. Activities will focus on:
- Strengthen government capacities to perform core functions in the provision of basic rights and documentation, and increase confidence in public institutions through measures to improve community safety, inclusive economic recovery, access to civil documentation, housing, and similar essential services.
- Increase access to a dignified living space, basic services, social protection, and inclusive socioeconomics. Efforts relative to social protection will include cash-for-work, multipurpose cash transfers, and supporting local microfinance cooperatives in order to reduce financial obstacles to access key documentation or services, such as medical cards or land registration certificates.
- Promote social cohesion and enable the communities to manage local conflicts and promote a culture of peace.
- Build capacities of state and local government partners to promote non-violent political processes and social policy development.
IOM contributes to the sustainable reintegration of repatriated refugees through inclusive approaches responding to locally identified needs of returnees and local communities, in alignment with IOM’s Progressive Resolution of Displacement Situations (PRDS) framework. In doing so, IOM’s interventions seek to ensure that populations no longer have displacement-linked needs nor are subject to discrimination specifically linked to displacement. IOM will:
- Provide essential services in communities to support progress towards an adequate standard of living.
- Support inclusive governance through social cohesion activities and community dialogues.
- Increase access to sustainable livelihoods and employment via vocational training and quick impact projects (QIPs) in coordination with other reintegration activities as outlined in the Joint Refugee Return and Reintegration Response Plan.
IOM aims at supporting the Government of Burundi in improving its health system so as to better withstand the large-scale returns of Burundian refugees in Ruyigi, Rutana, Muyinga, Cankuzo and Makamba communes. This will be done via:
- Rehabilitation/equipping of primary healthcare centres, including WASH facilities to improve Infection Prevention and Control (IPC).
- Provision and/or reinforcement of capacity in Human resources to fill the gap at designated health facilities.
- Capacity-building of health professionals, following the six core components of health system strengthening: (i) service delivery, (ii) health workforce, (iii) health information systems, (iv) access to essential medicines, (v) financing, and (vi) leadership/governance.
- Capacity-building on referral mechanisms and on providing survivor-centred care. This will be done in collaboration with Protection/GBV actors in order to be able to update referral pathways and train staff and partners on how to safely and ethically refer GBV survivors.
- Data collection and monitoring on disease prevalence to provide better analysis, including improved event-based surveillance.
- Contribute to coordination improvements of relevant health stakeholders at central and local levels through the reinforcement of relevant working groups, tools, and existing coordination mechanisms.
United Republic of Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda
Figures are as of 31 December 2020. For more details of IOM's operational capacity in country, please see the IOM Capacity section.