UNHCR Head, Acacio Jafar said the project will improve provision of social services to the residents near the camps because refugees have all the required social services.
“Refugees in the camps have good social services, but citizens who received them do not have basic services such as water, medical treatment, education and good infrastructures. It is high time refugees organizations start supporting the residents,” he stated.
Jafar said that mothers and children have been passing through streets and villages searching for water due to the severe water crisis in the outlying areas of the refugee camps, a situation he said is unacceptable.
“We need to work closely with the government towards finding solution to challenges facing people. We need to ensure better social services to citizens,” he noted adding that UNHCR has donated more than 155m/- to support water projects in Kibondo town.
The water project has been completed and handed over to the government.
Acting head of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Kibondo District, Vailet Bifuye, said the agency, which operates in Burundian refugee camps, Nduta and Mtendeli, has completed two water projects in Kibondo district to increase access to clean and safe water to the citizens who have experienced water woes for many years.
He said with the funds provided by UNHCR and the government they have built a modern solar power station in the Kumwai area to support water supply in Kibondo town as well as a water pumping station in Kibwigwa area.
He said the NRC work at Burundian refugees in Nduta and Mtendeli camps, but they are also entitled to support the surrounding community.
Bifuye said NRC was given mandate by UNHCR as the lead agency in WASH service in refugee camps in collaboration with other agencies and donors to address WASH related issues in the camp.
Due to this UNHCR provided funds to NRC to install solar at the drilled borehole at Kumwayi in Kibondo districts to increase accessibility of clean and reduce operation cost and electricity bills.
“We have handed over these projects which we have partnered with the government to complete but we will continue to ensure that we reduce the gap in access to essential services between refugees and the people of Kibondo and Kakonko,” said Bifuye.
Mohammed Almas, RUWASA Manager in Kibondo District said the Kibondo town, which has a population of about 100,000 experiences serious water shortage, with 50 percent of the population currently receiving access to clean and safe water.
He said plans are to construct a large water tank with a capacity of one million liters to enhance supply of the precious liquid in the district.
Kibondo District Administrative Secretary, Ayoub Sebabili said the district, which has hosted refugees for more than twenty years, need to be assisted by the organisations.
“We have many organisations that provide services to refugees, it is important they now focus on the community. Residents are in need of improved health services, water, road infrastructure, educational institution buildings and environmental protection,” Sebabili said soon after receiving the projects.
Kigoma Region has for more than twenty years been sheltering refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi. There are more than 300,000 refugees in Nyarugusu, Nduta and Mtendeli camps.