Life-saving Assistance For Tanzania’s Refugees

Assistance from donors such as the UK Department for International Development (DFID) has enabled WFP to provide food assistance as well as address nutrition needs in Nyaragusu. DFID is currently one of the largest donors to WFP’s refugee operation in Tanzania. 

Bileese Malenga (32) is a single mother of five children. She fled home as a result of violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Along with her parents and several other Congolese, she took a boat across Lake Tanganyika at night and arrived in Tanzania as a refugee. The ongoing conflict in DRC has made it impossible for her to return home.

Those living in Nyaragusu Camp in western Tanzania are completely dependent on humanitarian assistance for their survival. A refugees, they are prohibited from seeking any form of employment or participating in income-generating activities. 

“‘Our only source of food is WFP”, says Bileese. “This food feeds my family at least twice a day.”

WFP provides support to refugees through general food distributions (GFD) and a supplementary feeding programme (SFP). Rations of Super Cereal, maize meal, pulses, vegetable oil and salt provide recipients with their minimum dietary requirements. 

Mothers like Bileese also qualify for Blanket Supplementary Feeding (BSF) which is designed to prevent stunting in Nyarugusu camp. Almost 46 percent of children under five years of age are stunted (small for their age). Through BSF, WFP provides a fortnightly take-home rations of fortified blended food for pregnant and nursing women and for children under two.  

As the mother of a four-month old daughter, Bileese is also eligible to attend nutrition education sessions on maternal and infant care and receives rations of Super Cereal so that her baby does not become malnourished. 

'Through the nutrition education classes, I’ve learnt to only breastfeed my baby for the first six months,” she says. “The Super Cereal I get means I have enough milk to breastfeed.”

Thanks to generous contributions from donors such as DFID, WFP is able to provide food assistance as well as address nutrition issues in Nyaragusu. DFID is currently one of the largest donors for WFP’s refugee operation in Tanzania. Today, WFP provides assistance to some 70,000 refugees currently living in the west and north-west of the country.