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About TCRS

TCRS Background

The Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service (TCRS) with its headquarters located at Mikocheni in Dar es Salaam was operated by the Lutheran World Federation - Department of World Service, on behalf of the World Council of Churches and in consultation with the Christian Council of Tanzania. The entity was established at the request of the constituent member churches of the Christian Council of Tanzania, as an ecumenical expression of concern and a programme of assistance to refugees who have found asylum in Tanzania. The Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service has been conducting its programme of assistance in co-operation with the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees over the years.

Years of Service


Offices in Tanzania

  • 1964
  • 1984
  • 1994
  • 2003-10
  • 2007-14
  • 2015- 19

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.

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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.

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Rwanda Genocide

In March 1994, the plane carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and Burundi President Cyprian Ntaryamira was shot down as it was about to land in Kigali Airport. The dreadful death of the two Presidents ignited tremendous fear and genocide in Rwanda.

-About a million Tutsi and Hutu moderates were brutally killed. Millions of Hutus fled Tutsi-led rebel Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) army which invaded and took over the country.

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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.

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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 naturalization candidates.

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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 the distribution of various non-food items to refugee communities.

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