Vocational Training For Refugees A Case Study From Tanzania

By Ludovick Kazoka

Konibdo — JOSEPH Irankunda puts finishing touches on his carpentry work while his trainer monitors him at a small workshop, within Mtendeli Refugee Camp in Kibondo District, Kigoma Region.

He is one of the youth refugees undertaking vocational training at the Youth Centre under the auspices of Plan International at the Mtendeli Refugee Camp, which hosts 45,528 refugees from Burundi.

"I'm planning to open my own carpentry workshop to make an income after returning to Burundi when the situation stabilizes," says Irankunda who fled to Tanzania in the wake of 2015 political quagmire in Burundi.

However, refugees' livelihood opportunities are severely limited due to lack of freedom of movement, right to work and access to financial services. Whilst dialogue for policy change continues, UNHCR and partners are providing vocational and business skills training.

According to Youth Project Coordinator of Plan International, Mr Jerry Mtembwa, the camp set up the youth and adolescent centre to offer the vocational and business skills training.

"The main goals of the centre are to keep youth at the camp busy and engage them in income generating activities," said the Youth Project Coordinator whose organisation team up with UNCHR to offer services at the camp. Mr Mtembwa points out areas of the training at the youth centre as soap making, catering, carpentry, tailoring, bread making, phone repair, hair dressing, Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

The training is aimed at supporting access to informal and financial services such as saving groups and encouraging businesses through marketplaces that are accessible to the refugees and the host community. Connectivity Officer of UNHCR at Kibondo sub office, Ms Samantha Eisenhauer, says "Introduction of the computer training at the camp is aimed at enhancing youth knowledge of the world.

Internet access and the computers will be a window into the world for the youth." "Vodacom are underway to install transmission tower at the camp to connect 3G network so that refugees get access to internet service. This will open opportunities for the youth to have access to information and online education such as university courses," she said.

Computer Teacher at Mtendeli Refugee Camp's Youth Centre, Mr Emerusabe Aieudonne, said about 300 youngsters were currently undertaking computer courses at the camp.

However, he said, lack of electricity at the camp remains as major challenge for the computer programme at the Camp, saying UNHCR and Plan International are working on sorting out this issue imminently.

There is a growing number of refugees living in camps with limited livelihood opportunities hence the need to introduce longer-term solutions for social development needs that would complement shortterm humanitarian assistance. "Displaced Burundians bring expertise, creativity, resources and an entrepreneurial spirit to host communities," says Chansa Kapaya, UNHCR's Representative in Tanzania.

"Many refugees come with ready-to-use income generating skills in agriculture, bread-making, carpentry, tailoring and entrepreneurship," she says. UNHCR, in collaboration with partner agencies has established various vocational training programmes in the three refugee camps in Tanzania, including Mtendeli. Refugees, both men and women, are enlisted in bread-making, tailoring, carpentry and business trainings.

But the opportunities are limited. Natalie is another beneficiary refugee of the tailoring training programme. She and her husband have had to escape thrice with their two children from their rural home near Burundi's capital, Bujumbura to Tanzania. She is optimistic that one day she will return to Burundi and apply her newly obtained tailoring and bread-making skills to make an income, saying the training has provided me with a direction.

"I want to return home one day so I can start a business and take my children back to a good school," says Natalie who is one of the refugees who is taking part in the tailoring sessions. In line with Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF),UNHCR together with partner agencies and donors, continue to advocate with the Government for expedited access to livelihood opportunities for refugees.

However, lack of funds pose a serious challenge to provide critical humanitarian assistance including livelihood training programmes to develop refugee's skills. The Burundian Refugee Situation in Tanzania is underfunded at only 20 per cent with a gap of 186.1 M (US dollars).

"Providing access to livelihood opportunities in a range of sectors is where the humanitarian community can make a difference," adds Chansa Kapaya, UNHCR's Representative in Tanzania.

"Beyond the financial benefits, this can also have important social and psychological benefits for refugees living among the host communities across refugee camps in Tanzania.

He is one of the youth refugees undertaking vocational training at the Youth Centre under the auspices of Plan International at the Mtendeli Refugee Camp, which hosts 45,528 refugees from Burundi.

“I’m planning to open my own carpentry workshop to make an income after returning to Burundi when the situation stabilizes,” says Irankunda who fled to Tanzania in the wake of 2015 political quagmire in Burundi.

However, refugees’ livelihood opportunities are severely limited due to lack of freedom of movement, right to work and access to financial services. Whilst dialogue for policy change continues, UNHCR and partners are providing vocational and business skills training.

According to Youth Project Coordinator of Plan International, Mr Jerry Mtembwa, the camp set up the youth and adolescent centre to offer the vocational and business skills training.

“The main goals of the centre are to keep youth at the camp busy and engage them in income generating activities,” said the Youth Project Coordinator whose organisation team up with UNCHR to offer services at the camp. Mr Mtembwa points out areas of the training at the youth centre as soap making, catering, carpentry, tailoring, bread making, phone repair, hair dressing, Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

The training is aimed at supporting access to informal and financial services such as saving groups and encouraging businesses through marketplaces that are accessible to the refugees and the host community. Connectivity Officer of UNHCR at Kibondo sub office, Ms Samantha Eisenhauer, says “Introduction of the computer training at the camp is aimed at enhancing youth knowledge of the world.

Internet access and the computers will be a window into the world for the youth.” “Vodacom are underway to install transmission tower at the camp to connect 3G network so that refugees get access to internet service. This will open opportunities for the youth to have access to information and online education such as university courses,” she said.

Computer Teacher at Mtendeli Refugee Camp’s Youth Centre, Mr Emerusabe Aieudonne, said about 300 youngsters were currently undertaking computer courses at the camp.

However, he said, lack of electricity at the camp remains as major challenge for the computer programme at the Camp, saying UNHCR and Plan International are working on sorting out this issue imminently.

There is a growing number of refugees living in camps with limited livelihood opportunities hence the need to introduce longer-term solutions for social development needs that would complement shortterm humanitarian assistance. “Displaced Burundians bring expertise, creativity, resources and an entrepreneurial spirit to host communities,” says Chansa Kapaya, UNHCR’s Representative in Tanzania.

“Many refugees come with ready-to-use income generating skills in agriculture, bread-making, carpentry, tailoring and entrepreneurship,” she says. UNHCR, in collaboration with partner agencies has established various vocational training programmes in the three refugee camps in Tanzania, including Mtendeli. Refugees, both men and women, are enlisted in bread-making, tailoring, carpentry and business trainings.

But the opportunities are limited. Natalie is another beneficiary refugee of the tailoring training programme. She and her husband have had to escape thrice with their two children from their rural home near Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura to Tanzania. She is optimistic that one day she will return to Burundi and apply her newly obtained tailoring and bread-making skills to make an income, saying the training has provided me with a direction.

“I want to return home one day so I can start a business and take my children back to a good school,” says Natalie who is one of the refugees who is taking part in the tailoring sessions. In line with Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF),UNHCR together with partner agencies and donors, continue to advocate with the Government for expedited access to livelihood opportunities for refugees.

However, lack of funds pose a serious challenge to provide critical humanitarian assistance including livelihood training programmes to develop refugee’s skills. The Burundian Refugee Situation in Tanzania is underfunded at only 20 per cent with a gap of 186.1 M (US dollars).

“Providing access to livelihood opportunities in a range of sectors is where the humanitarian community can make a difference,” adds Chansa Kapaya, UNHCR’s Representative in Tanzania.

“Beyond the financial benefits, this can also have important social and psychological benefits for refugees living among the host communities across refugee camps in Tanzan

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