Humanitarian and Relief

Year 1964
Formally established in January 1964, TCRS begun its work under a Tripartite Agreement signed on 25th May 1964 between the Government of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Lutheran World Federation/World Council of Churches. - TCRS started working with Rwandan Tutsi refugees, establishing the Mwese Settlement in Mpanda District and became UNHR partner agency in the already established settlements in Muyenzi, Ngara and Karagwe, in North-western Tanzania
Year 1965
Civil War in Mozambique: More than 50,000 people displaced by the conflict between the colonial government and the liberation army sought refuge in Tanzania. TCRS established settlements for these refugees in southern Tanzania in: Rutamba – 1965 Lundo - 1966 Muhukuru – late 1966 Mputa - 1969 and Matekwe -1969 and in Likuyu – much later in 1989
Year 1972
Civil War in Burundi: A genocidal war erupted in Burundi in April 1972 between the President Michombero’s Tutsi minority regime and the majority Hutu, culminating to thousands of Hutu civilians fleeing insecurity into Tanzania. Under a tripartite agreement, again, TCRS established refugee settlements for these refugees in Western Tanzania, in: - Ulyankulu in 1972 - Katumba in 1973 and later Mishamo in 1978
1974 – 10 Years
TCRS was now caring for over 115,000 refugees, mostly Burundians and expanded its staff to 400. Four refugee settlements for the Rwandese and Mozambicans attained self-sufficiency in food production and were handed over to the Government of Tanzania.
Year 1975
Mozambican Independence and repatriation of refugees. Mozambican refugees began returning home following the independence of their country. TCRS effectively assisted the repatriation process and continued managing the settlements for the remaining Mozambican refugees and the Burundians settlement
Year 1977
- Anti-Apartheid Protests in South Africa: The South West Township (SOWETO) students led uprising in 1977 forced 500 mostly black South Africans to flee to Tanzania. - TCRS provided material assistance to these South Africans, together with other refugees from Zimbabwe and Namibia. - TCRS helped liberation movements with humanitarian aid, educational assistance and scholarships
Year 1979
The Kagera War – between Tanzania and Uganda: - Idd Amin Dada invaded Tanzania leading to Tanzania Vs Uganda War beginning on the 30th of October, 1978 and ending on 11th April, 1979. Tanzania retaliated and defeated Amin. TCRS availed assistance to Ugandan refugees and other victims of war. - Along other mixed nationalities, Kigwa Settlement in Tabora had hosted the Ugandan refugees who were fleeing Idd Amin Dada dictatorship and persecutions since 1972
Year 1980
New Governments in Zimbabwe and Uganda: Zimbabwean and Ugandan refugees returned home after the respective government changes back home. - Ulyankulu Burundian refugee Settlement became self-sufficient and was handed over to the Government of Tanzania. - Rwandan Refugees were granted citizenship, en masse, by a Presidential decree
Year 1982
TCRS Refugee Host Areas Operations - Kigoma Project: The more than 30,000 Burundian and Zairean/Congo refugees had spontaneously settled among local communities whom they shared a common language and culture. Their lives and that of their hosts was destitute. - TCRS began, for the first time, to work with spontaneously settled refugees and refugee host communities in Kigoma Region. - TCRS assisted in the construction of schools, dispensaries, agriculture and community development. TCRS formally started intergraded development work in Kibondo in 1983 and has since, strategically, remained ther
1984 – 20 Years.
TCRS continued to gain more experience in managing refugee settlements and related operations; expanded to more than 1000 staff; served more than 250,000 refugees since its inception in 1964. 1985 - TCRS diversified focus to Tanzanian needs. Started a non-refugee related development project in Singida, a drought-prone region, suffering from overgrazing. - TCRS supported Tanzanian efforts for Universal Primary Education (UPE) by assisting the construction of schools in Lindi and Arusha regions
Year 1992
Anarchy in Somalia following the assassination of President Siadi Bare. Some Somali refugees arrived in Tanzania in mid1992, after the disintegration of the government in Somalia. - TCRS established and managed the Pangale Refugee Settlement for these Somalis, in Mkuyu, Handeni District. - Burundi democratic election of a Hutu President. - Hopes for peace were raised when Burundians elected their first Hutu President Melchior Ndadaye. - UNHCR through TCRS started to implement plans for repatriation of the refugees from the 1972 settlements of Ulyankulu, Katumba and Misha
Year 1993
The Great Lakes Refugee Crisis sparked off, following the assassination of the first democratically elected Burundian Hutu President Melchior Ndadaye. - In the middle of the TCRS facilitated repatriation, Burundian Hutu President Melchior Ndadaye was assassinated. Raged Hutus went wild killing Tutsis, but the reprisals by the Tutsi army turned bloody. - Repatriation centres run by TCRS turned into Reception centres. Convoys of repatriation buses quite literarily made a U-turn, as repatriating refugees were forced to flee yet again. - TCRS received and assisted new Burundian refugees in Kibondo District camps, not settlements. Other refugees went to Ngara
Year 1995
Over one million refugees: - As more and more Rwandan and Burundian refugees continued to arrive in the country, Tanzania temporarily closed its borders in 1995. - TCRS continued to assist UNHCR in serving the needs of over 600,000 Rwandan and Burundian refugees, in camp management, operating a fleet of 75 Lorries to transport food, drinking water, non-food items, and refugees. As the situation in Burundi, started to calm, repatriation started
Year 1996
Coup in Burundi and Civil War in Zaire (Currently named the Democratic Republic of the Congo) - Tutsi army toppled the Hutu President; a new wave of refugees poured into Kibondo Ngara and Kasulu camps. TCRS managed more than 70,000 refugees in Kibondo. - Banyamulenge uprising in Congo led to a civil war, to oust President Mobutu. The destabilization in Zaire forced spontaneous repatriation into Tanzania of more than 500,000 Rwandese and Burundians who had fled to Zaire. - Tanzania, faced by this tragedy of events and a diminishing donor interest to fund north-western Tanzania refugee operations, issues an ultimatum and more than 700,000 Rwandan refugees return home within the space of a few days, end of December 1996.
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Year 2000
Hopes of return to peace raised after signing of the Burundi Peace Accord between the Tutsi regime and the main rebel group, to pave way for handing over power to a Hutu President and multi-party elections to be done within 3 years. - But hopes were dashed as rebel groups that did not sign the accord intensified fighting. A new wave of 40,000 refugees entered Tanzania in this period. TCRS was now caring about 150,000 refugees in Kibondo alone.
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Year 2003
As the peace process kept on track and power handed over to an Interim Hutu President, some refugees began to return to Burundi. - UNHCR encouraged the program for refugees to visit and see the developments in Burundi, as an incentive, to enable them make an informed decision to return home. Together with LWF Burundi, TCRS facilitated establishment of cross border development interventions in Burundi that would provide a welcoming environment to returnees
Year 2003-2010
TCRS Participated in refugee camps consolidation and voluntary repatriation of refugees. As repatriation was going on, small caseloads of refugees were left in the camps necessitating step by step closure of until the final camp of Kanembwa was closed leaving only a resettlement processing center. TCRS was fully involved in transporting refugees from one camp to another and supporting refugees to settle in the new camp
Year 2007 – 2014
The 1972 Old Settlements protracted Burundian refugee caseload and the Tanzania Comprehensive Solutions Strategy (TANCOSS). TCRS participated in doing registration of both repatriation and naturalisation candidates, led by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. TCRS was fully involved in providing food and transport to over 54,000 returnees from the Old Settlements to Burundi and registration of over 162,000 naturalisation candidates. Activities in the Old Settlements again involved provision of health services to refugee and local communities
Year 2015 – 2019
Burundian refugees return to North-Western Tanzania in a fresh influx. In this refugee response, TCRS participated in water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion activities in Nyarugusu Camp in Kasulu district, Nduta Camp in Kibondo district and Mtendeli Camp in Kakonko district. TCRS also responded in terms of psychosocial support,community-driven dialogue and social cohesion activities. Further to this, TCRS participated in distribution of various non-food items to refugee communities
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Urban Refugee and Vulnerable Groups Project funded by ELCA in 2021. Focused on refugees and vulnerable groups living legally in Dar es Salaam region; Who are in need of humanitarian assistance. TCRS provides psychosocial support to orphans and urban refugees, used clothes and training for VICOBA groups, and other Income Generating Activities.


TCRS in Kigoma Region has been receiving funds that aimed to complement the government efforts in supporting the local community under the Kigoma Joint Programme (KJP). The KJP programme cuts across multiple sectors to improve development and human security in Kigoma. Expanding and increasing the support to host communities will help to promote socio-economic development and decrease tensions and misunderstandings between the refugee/migrant population and the host population. So far TCRS has been receiving this funding through UNICEF and UN-HABITAT in supporting WASH-related activities.


TCRS responds to emergencies and disasters by providing relief services to affected communities and, within the ACT network and in the framework of ACT Forum Tanzania. Over the years, TCRS has been in the fore-front, building capacities of member churches for disaster preparedness, focused at minimizing people’s vulnerabilities in case of potential or recurrent disasters. In year 2015, TCRS intervened in the Mwakata Ward, Kahama District rainy storm victims by supporting them with food and seeds. Likewise, in 2016, TCRS intervened by providing food, seeds, clothes, plastic sheets, school uniform and psycho-social support to the earthquake victims in the Kagera Region. In 2018, TCRS intervened in the Nyumba Ya Mungu flood victims in the Same and Mwanga districts in Kilimanjaro region by providing food, assorted clothes, plastic sheets for shelter, water treatment tablets, mosquitonets, mates as beddings, mattresses for pregnant and lactating mothers and the elderly. Khangas and health kits were given to reproductive women. Psychosocial-counseling was also done to the entire population of victims