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Refugees and host communities: Critical issues and implications for policy-making in Tanzania

Gelas Rubakula
Colman Msoka


Over the past three decades, Tanzania has hosted thousands of refugees from Burundi, Rwanda, and the DRC. The hosting communities have had mixed perceptions regarding the benefits and effects of hosting refugees. This study aimed to identify major challenges attributed to the presence of refugees and related governing policies. It employed mixed methods, quantitative and qualitative approaches, and the wealth quantile analysis. A total of 403 participants were interviewed: 201 (49.9%) and 202 (50.1%) from Kasulu and Kibondo districts, respectively. The study presents the perception data in frequencies, and uses regression analysis to determine associations. The results show that most participants perceive increased costs of goods and services, pressure on social services, criminality, social vices, and the deterioration of natural resources, including the environment, as the negative outcomes of hosting refugees. Also, while some research participants thought there were no effects on the integrity of the environment, the higher wealth quintiles reported an association between refugees and environmental degradation. Repatriation and camp patrolling were proposed as the durable solutions for the refugee-associated problems. The study proposes a review of policies related to peaceful coexistence, permission of movement and businesses, and increased interactions between refugees and host populations to minimize negative perceptions and hostilities.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2591-6831
print ISSN: 0856-9622