The European Union humanitarian aid supports delivery of lifesaving water, sanitation and hygiene promotion services in the Nduta refugee camp

The European Union’s humanitarian aid supports relief activities for vulnerable people in crisis zones around the world. Through its humanitarian aid, the European Union has continued to support various lifesaving activities implemented by Oxfam through its Burundian Refugees Response Progamme in Kibondo district, Kigoma region in Tanzania.

Last financial year, The European Union’s humanitarian aid approved funding to the tune of 500,000 Euros which helped ensure the availability of clean and safe water and provision of sanitation facilities to over 75,000 Burundian refugees in the Nduta refugee camp in northwestern Tanzania. 

The European Union’s humanitarian aid supports relief activities for vulnerable people in crisis zones around the world

Josephat Singano is the Oxfam’s Water Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion (WASH) Coordinator based in Kibondo. He said, through this funding, much has been achieved. On the clean and safe water provision: Oxfam continued to effectively conduct water treatments and regular water quality monitoring; maintenance and repairs of generators, pumps and pipes; drilling of boreholes; and installation of water tanks and tap stands to improve water accessibility. “We have continuously served over 75,000 refugees with clean and safe water.” Said Singano.

Sabimana Leah is a mother of two from Ruyigi city in Burundi, she has been living in the Nduta camp since 2015. Sabimana told us she has seen significant improvements in the availability of water points over the years. She appreciated the accessibility of safe and clean water near her house, “with water taps nearby, we can access water for cooking, washing our clothes, and for bathing. We even drink water straight from the tap.” She said 

Sabimana Leah washing her clothes in the Oxfam installed washing slubs in the Nduta refugee camp in Kigoma, Tanzania. Photo: Bill Marwa/Oxfam.

On the sanitation part, with funding from the European Union’s humanitarian aid, Oxfam constructed 600 family latrines and 600 bathing shelters using community participatory approach. “Among the newly constructed latrines, about 50 latrines and bathrooms have been designed for people with special needs such as those living with disabilities, the elderly and people with chronic diseases.” Said Singano. The funding also supported the construction of 20 child-friendly latrines used by children under four years of age. Other 12 latrines are under construction, these facilities are Urinal Diversion Dry Toilets which when they are full, the waste is collected and converted into fertilizer to grow crops. “Through various hygiene promotion campaigns, Oxfam reached 60,000 refugees.” Said Singano.

Vamporeye Damiana is a leader in the camp. He says this is the third time he is fleeing his country to seek refuge in Tanzania. He has been in Nduta since December 2015. Vamporeye told us having a latrine near his house is very useful for him. “At this old age, I wouldn’t prefer walking far to use the toilet.” He said. The latrines have been installed with tippy taps with two containers one with water and one with soap to ensure thorough handwashing which is crucial in preventing the spread of diseases. 

Vamporeye Damiana washing his hands with water and soap on a tippy tap installed by Oxfam in the Nduta refugee camp. Photo: Bill Marwa/Oxfam.

To ensure sustainability and community ownership, Oxfam embarked on empowering the refugees by acquiring them with knowledge and skills on operation and maintenance of various infrastructures installed in the camp.  The modality has helped achieve and maintain access of at least 25 liters of water per person per day at both the household and institutional levels. “This exceeds the minimum quantity of 20 liters per capita per day of safe water recommended by Sphere Standards to realise minimum essential levels for health and hygiene.” Said Singano. “We have also trained the refugees to make charcoal using solid waste. The aim is to promote environmental conservation in the camp.” Singano added.

Ndayikunda Felista (25) is an incentive construction worker trained by Oxfam at the Nduta refugee camp. She proudly told us, “people say women cannot hold spanners, I’m a living proof that with determination, women can do construction work, and make a living to sustain their lives.” A mother of one said she has been attending various trainings and has been on call to repair water pipes in the camp as needed. 

Ndayikunda Felista is an incentive construction worker trained by Oxfam in the Nduta refugee camp in Kigoma, Tanzania. Photo: Bill Marwa/Oxfam.

Upendo and Umoja primary schools are amongst the academic institutions in the camp due to benefit from the ECHO funding, through which two latrines each with 12 stances are currently being built for each school. Oxfam has also provided training of children in schools through child to child approaches and school hygiene clubs as well as promotion of menstrual hygiene management for women and girls of reproductive age. Singano said, “the latrines for girl students have been designed to support them during menstruation period, once completed they will help girls focus on their studies by participating fully in the studies throughout the school calendar year." 

Furthermore, Mr. Singano asserted that the project also focuses on other cross-cutting areas such as gender and protection mainstreaming among the refugee population, saying under the project some 326 incentive workers and camp leaders (160 men and 166 women) have been equipped with knowledge on gender-related issues through open dialogues carried out in the area at different occasions. The training on gender-based violence covered among other things, basic concepts of identification, prevention, and conducting referral pathways.

Supporting the fight against the novel coronavirus Covid19

Recently the EU's humanitarian aid approved some 18,500 Euros to be reallocated from the overall funding and spent in taking preventive measures against the Covid-19 outbreak. The funding was used to purchase soaps which were distributed to the refugees and to develop information, education, and communication materials to share Covid-19 preventive messages in the Nduta camp. 

So far there is no confirmed case of the novel coronavirus reported in the refugee camp which currently accommodates over 74,000 refugees from Burundi, but the funding is vital as the refugee population could be at high risk of acquiring the deadly viral infection and other fatal bacterial infections if no proper preventive measures are taken into consideration to rescue their lives.

Oxfam’s priority is to provide equitable and dignified access to sufficient and safe water, sanitation and hygiene promotion services through alignment with the current needs of refugees while equally prioritising durable and cost-effective infrastructure that minimize operations and maintenance costs. “We seek to reduce suffering, increase and maintain human dignity, and save lives for refugees settled in the Nduta camp.” Said Singano.