Menu ENN Search

Management and co-ordination problems of refugee programmes in Kigoma - A familiar tale?

The upsurge of violence in Eastern Zaire towards the end of 1996 led to an influx of Zairian refugees into the Kigoma area of Tanzania. On arrival, the Zairian refugees were placed in a holding centre in Kigoma approximately 120 kms from Nyargasu camp. Although there were some delays in transferring refugees to the camp because of shortages of plastic sheeting, numbers in the camp rose from approximately 15,000 in early November to 32,000 by early January 1997.

Rita Bhatia, chief nutritionist in the Programme and Technical Support Section of UNHCR carried out an evaluation of UNHCR operations in the Kigoma area at the end of 1996. According to her report the response by humanitarian aid agencies to this emergency appears to have raised familiar UNHCR/NGO co-ordination and management issues related to emergency food and nutrition interventions. These types of issues have been highlighted in several emergency programme evaluations - most recently the multi-donor evaluation of the Rwandan emergency (ODI 1996).

Her report argues that the emergency in Kigoma was unnecessarily prolonged because of the slow response by UNHCR and implementing partners. At the time of writing the report (early 1997) it was felt that unless certain problems were resolved, the risk of epidemics and large numbers of deaths remained high amongst new arrivals. The report expressed particular concern about the operational performance of both IJNHCR and a number of implementing NGOs.

One problem identified was the way UNHCR selected NGOs and assigned tasks, citing instances of duplication of tasks leading to confusion and tension between the various NGOs and IJNHCR. A related problem was lack of consultation by UNHCR sub- office staff in Kigoma with the field officers and technical staff at camp level so that in many instances UNHCR field offices were not even aware of the selection and tasks assigned to NGOs. The report also identified a lack of support from the sub-offices to field officers and poor co-ordination between Kigoma and the field offices regarding the movement of refugees. A further problem was that letters of intent with NGOs did not clearly define the obligations on the part of NGOs and UM{CR. This lack of clarity was exemplified by a situation where during the hand-over of one NGO programme to another, the departing NGO received little external support even though the agency was required to increase activities at a time when agency resources were being reduced.

The report also identified specific problems and weaknesses with NGO implementing partners. For example:

The types of weaknesses that occurred in nutrition activities were late implementation of selective feeding programmes and the use of inappropriate eligibility criteria for the feeding centres.

The author concluded from this experience that food and nutrition programmes may not be the priority of medically oriented NGOs, especially given their limited expertise on food and nutrition issues and capacity to respond. Because of the epidemics of cholera and dysentery that occurred early on, all efforts were
devoted to reducing deaths from these diseases so that the need for management of the precarious nutrition situation was not properly addressed. The report went on to suggest that there should have been a specialised NGO responsible for food and nutrition in the initial phase of the programme. This NGO could then have set up appropriate programmes and systems in close collaboration with medical NGOs who in turn would have eventually taken on responsibility for these programmes.

The report also made the following recommendations:

More like this

FEX: Sales of food aid as sign of distress, not excess

To the editor of ENN Field Exchange: We find Mr. Gettier's letter concerning our article, "Sales of food aid as sign of distress, not excess" (Field Exchange Issue 4),...

FEX: The Role of Women in Food Management

The author of this article is Zhara Mirghani with assistance from Rita Bhatia. Rita is the senior nutritionist in the Professional and Technical Support Services of UNHCR....

FEX: UNHCR feeding programme performance in Kenya and Tanzania

Summary of research1 Settlements of new arrivals in the outskirts of Dadaab Routine monitoring data are available from the many nutrition programmes operating in camps...

FEX: Breastfeeding support in the refugee camps of North Western Tanzania

By Lucas Kulwa Machibya Lucas Machibya has been working for UNHCR since June 1994 in the north-western Tanzania refugee operation as National Public Health Nutrition Officer....

FEX: Caring for Unaccompanied Children under Difficult Circumstances

by Jean Long, Ros O'Loughlin, Annalies Borrel Jean Long and Ros O'Loughlin worked for Concern in Kisingani (DRC) in the fall of 1997, establishing the programme described...

FEX: Revised Memorandum of Understanding - WFP and UNHCR

In 1985 UNHCR and WFP formally attempted to clarify their roles and responsibilities by drawing up a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU has undergone various revisions...

en-net: Seeking a Consultant to undertake a Baseline Livelihood Vulnerability Analysis of Refugee camps along the Thailand- Burma border

Terms of Reference Baseline Livelihood Vulnerability Analysis of Refugee camps along the Thailand- Burma border Camps and population (September 2010 data): Site 1 (15,339),...

FEX: Meeting Syrian refugee children and women nutritional needs in Jordan

By Henry Sebuliba and Farah El-Zubi Henry Sebuliba is a Nutrition Programme Officer at the World Food Programme Regional Emergency Coordination Unit in Amman, Jordan. A Public...

en-net: Consultant - Technical Evaluation of the WASH Programme

Country programme South Sudan
Total time frame 25 days
Travel dates November 2017 (exact dates to be defined after selection of Consultant)
Reports in the...

FEX: Household Food Economy Assessment in Kakuma Refugee Camp

Based on SCF (UK) field team experience in Turkana District, north west Kenya. Report by Mark Lawerence, Tanya Boudreau and Alexandra King summarised below. Over the past...

FEX: Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation

Name: Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation (JHCO) Year founded: 1990 Address: Sa'eed Bino St, Khalda, Amman, Jordan President: Ayman Reyadd Almefleh Phone: +...

FEX: Sale of Food Aid as Sign of Distress not Excess

Summary of Published Paper In February 1996, WFP reduced rations for refugees in Uvira, Zaire by 20% when visiting donors noted that food aid, primarily maize and oil, was...

FEX: Between a Rock and a Hard Place? Responding to IDP Food Needs in Uganda

Bundibugyo - July 1999 by Amanya Michael Ebye, ActionAid Uganda Philippa Howell is the Research & Programme Learning Officer in the Emergencies Unit, of ActionAid based in UK....

FEX: Completing the Jigsaw Puzzle: Joint Assessment Missions (JAM)

By Allison Oman Allison is the Senior Regional Nutrition and Food Security Officer for UNHCR based in Nairobi, Kenya. She works with countries in the region to give technical...

FEX: Jordan Health Aid Society (JHAS)

Name: Jordan Health Aid Society (JHAS) Year founded: 2005 Address: Um Mutawe Alaslameah Street, Jandweel, building number 69, Amman, Jordan CEO/President: Dr. Yaroup...

FEX: Kakuma Revisited

Kakuma Revisited Dear editors, I would like to comment on the article "Household Food Economy Assessment in Kakuma Refugee Camp" (Field Exchange, Issue 1, May 97)....

en-net: Nutrition Survey Co-ordinator Jordan


Nutrition Survey Co-ordinator Jordan - UNHCR

Dates of consultancy: from 03/04/2016 to 24 /06/2016

Duty Station: Amman and for the report...

FEX: Global survey of the implementation of UNHCR’s Policy on Refugee Protection and Solutions in Urban Areas

Summary of review1 The advent of the 2009 Urban Refugee Policy (see Box 1) definitively changed UNHCR’s approach to working with urban refugees and established clear...

FEX: Experiences of emergency nutrition programming in Jordan

By Ruba Ahmad Abu-Taleb Ruba Ahmad Abu-Taleb is Nutrition coordinator at Jordan Health Aid Society (JHAS). She liaises between national and international NGOs and JHAS...

FEX: WFP e-voucher programme in Lebanon

By Ekram Mustafa El-Huni Ekram Mustafa El-Huni is WFP's Head of Programmes in Beirut, Lebanon. She has worked in a variety of roles with WFP at the headquarters, regional...

Close

Reference this page

Management and co-ordination problems of refugee programmes in Kigoma - A familiar tale?. Field Exchange 1, May 1997. p19. www.ennonline.net/fex/1/management

(ENN_3242)

Close

Download to a citation manager

The below files can be imported into your preferred reference management tool, most tools will allow you to manually import the RIS file. Endnote may required a specific filter file to be used.