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The Practice of Partnering: Bringing Quality Programming to Burundian Refugees in Tanzania

Sara-Christine Dallain and Kelsey Dalrymple

At a time when the world is experiencing the highest levels of displacement on record, it is critical for NGOs, large and small, to create dynamic partnerships when responding to and addressing the complex needs of refugee communities. According to UNHCR, there currently 65.6 million people around the world who have been forced from home. Among them, nearly 22.5 million are refugees and over half of this population is under the age of eighteen.1 Against this background of simultaneous protracted and escalating conflicts, and within a system in which NGOs are often forced to compete for resources, there is an immense need for implementing organizations to work together to leverage resources and expertise to comprehensively address the needs of refugee children and youth globally. Plan International Tanzania (Plan) and iACT, two international organizations, together, are doing just that.


Through a combined use of resources and expertise, Plan and iACT realized that we could enhance the impact, efficiency, and effectiveness of our education and youth empowerment work, eliminate the duplication of efforts, and generate results that could not be achieved by either organization operating alone. Mid-way through our partnership, we reflect on our achievements and learnings.

Background & Context

In April 2015, political violence and insecurity forced approximately 400,000 Burundians to flee to neighboring countries.2 Currently, over 350,000 Burundian and Congolese refugees are residing in three refugee camps in the Kigoma region of Tanzania. As of March 2018, there are over 193,000 refugee children and youth residing in the three camps3, with severely limited education, recreational, and social support services. While approximately 78% of school-age refugee children are enrolled in primary school, only 3% of refugee children and youth are enrolled in secondary school and only 21% of young children (ages 3-5) are enrolled in pre-primary school.4 These populations are particularly vulnerable to protection risks and are in need of healthy and inclusive educational and recreational activities that build resilience, strengthe