Situation

 

Zimbabwe has been hospitable to refugees and has been welcoming refugees from a variety of countries. With respect to declarations and reservations to the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe stated in article 17, paragraph 2, that it does not consider itself bound to grant a refugee who fulfills any of the conditions set out in sub paragraphs (a) to (c) automatic exemption from the obligation to obtain a work permit. The Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe, as expressed in article 17 of the constitution, does not undertake to grant to refugees rights of wage-earning employment more favorable than those granted to aliens generally. The Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe stated with regard to article 26 (freedom of movement) that it reserves the right to designate a place or places of residence for refugees. Inflation in Zimbabwe increased from 42% in November 2018 to 66.8% in March 2019. 


Tongogara Refugee Camp (TRC) is located in Chipinge district in Manicaland province of Zimbabwe. It has a population of 12,990 from 4,157 households with 47% females and 53% males as at 30 April 2019. The vast majority of refugees originate from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and constitute 74% of the camp population. Mozambican nationals residing at Tongogara Refugee Camp constitute 11% (1530 persons) with an additional 6,546 unregistered persons staying along the eastern borderline areas between Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The population from Burundi constitutes 6% while Rwandese nationals constitute 4% of the camp population.


TRC is found in agro ecological region 5 of Zimbabwe receiving between 200 and 400 mms of annual rainfall. Acacia forests are found in the surrounding areas. Save river is to the western side and runs along the Refugee camp. Agricultural produce is primarily used for household consumption, with surplus being sold for income generation. Other refugees are involved in small and medium income enterprises in off-farm activities such as food and cloth retailing. In the host community, with a population of 324,664, 70.4% work in agriculture, followed by mining at 1.6%. Additionally, 44% of men and 56% of women are engaged in informal employment (Zim-stat). With the agricultural industry being the main bread basket in the region, the most productive crops are drought tolerant such as sorghum, millet and cassava. Tongogara refugee camp however experiences extreme weather patterns and as such, irrigated farming is the most sustainable and reliable means in agricultural production. Additionally, Bananas and mangoes can be grown with irrigation. Live stock is also practiced by host community members with goats and sheep thriving in the aired environment. Several villages around the camp such as Kondo and Chibuwe have trade relationships with PoCs.


In 2016, UNHCR Zimbabwe developed a livelihood strategy aimed at building resilience to expand economic activities, mainly in agriculture, small and medium scale enterprises and services through increasing assets and capacities of refugees and host community. Through livelihoods provisioning refugees are assisted to meet basic needs and minimize expenditure through providing cash for immediate needs. Over the past years, UNHCR and the implementing partner GOAL focused primarily on agricultural production and food security. In 2018, UNHCR, GOAL with technical support from Trickle Up introduced the graduation approach. Targeting 125 in the pilot project, the program aims to graduate refugees and host community members living in extreme poverty into self-reliance and sustainable livelihoods. The Approach follows sequenced, multi-sector, time bound interventions that ensure participants choose at least 2-4 livelihoods pathways that generate incomes for them to launch them out of poverty. Persons of concern are also supported in other regular livelihoods and self-reliance interventions in crop and livestock production with capacity building and varying levels of input support to over 1,171 households factoring in individual contributions to foster ownership by reducing dependency. 


Blanket assistance to persons of concern is provided by UNHCR, WFP and partners. In food security, WFP provides blanket food assistance to asylum seekers and new arrivals on a weekly basis as they are monitored for continued stay in the camp for 2- 3 months. After this, they graduate to monthly cash rations, usually after completion of the Refugee Status Determination processes. Rations are 12kg maize meal, 2kg pulses and 0.750kg vegetable oil per person per month. Chronically Ill persons receive 3kg CSB per person/ month. All persons who have stayed in TRC for longer than 2-3 months are entitled to cash assistance. Each person receives USD13.00/ month whether granted or denied asylum by the Zimbabwe Refugee Committee through the RSD process. WFP calculations show the food and cash assistance provide the minimum 2,100kCal/person/day. However, PoCs say the cash is inadequate to meet their needs, especially for small families.

Country Response