The impact of foreign aid in the process of integration of refugees: a case study of Mpanda district

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University of Dar es Salaam
This research addresses itself to the impact of foreign aid in the process of integration of refugees in the host community. In this research we attempted to establish whether the exclusive concentration of aid to refugees alienates them from their hosts and, secondly, whether economic prosperity and well being among the refugees stimulates the feeling of belonging and permanency to the new area and of settlement leading to integration in the host community. Mpanda district was taken as a case study. In chapter one we raise the basic questions surrounding the refugee and the rationale of extending aid to refugees. We argue that the refugee question is essentially a political question and that causes for flight into refuge can be best understood when the political context of such events is brought to the fore. Secondly, we discuss the role of U.N.H.C.R. and other voluntary Organizations involved in assisting refugees. We show the constraints on U.N.H.C.R. which are inherent within the Organizations mandate. We further show how such constraints affect U.N.H.C.R.'s initiatives to extend aid to refugees in Africa and more so when the ultimate objective is integration of the refugee in the host community. In this chapter we have argued against the tendency of regarding aid and assistance to refugees as humantarian. We have also challenged the popular notion of traditional African hospitality.All along our effort has been targeted to show the political and material basis for integration.Chapter two deals with the analysis of Tanzania's policy towards refugees. What emerges is that the internal social, economic and political situation together with foreign policy and international obligations undertaken by Tanzania have formed the core of her policy toward refugees. It is in this chapter that we show what has been established in the settlement through the injection of foreign aid. And finally we caution against the tendency to view structures and infrastructures as final indicators for successful integration.Chapter three is devoted to research findings and analysis. The research findings establish that concentration of aid exclusively to refugees creates islands of developed infrastructures and services in the district where the settlements are established. Secondly, despite the apparent economic prosperity and wellbeing attained by refugees in the settlements, there exists strong indications to show that the majority of refugees are reluctant to get integrated in the host community. In our concluding chapter we contend that, based on the research findings, there is need to re-examine the present practice in extending aid if the objective of integrating refugees is to be realized. Political factors surrounding the refugee question should form the basis and the parameters for assistance. U.N.H.C.R.'s mandate needs revisiting to enable the U.N. body to meet the challenges of assisting refugees. The practice of establishing large refugee settlement and more so in isolated places is questioned and we register our reservations to the expectation of attaining integration of refugees in the host community through the current practice of establishing large settlements.
Political, Refugees, Burundi, Tanzania, Mpanda district, Burundi
Mongella, S. E. S. (1987) The impact of foreign aid in the process of integration of refugees: a case study of Mpanda district, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (