ACT Appeal Mozambique: Assistance to refugees in Maratane AFMZ-42

Originally published


Appeal Target: US$ 178,965
Balance Requested from ACT Alliance: US$ 97,265

Geneva, 16 January 2004

Dear Colleagues,

In early 2003 LWF/WS program in Mozambique was invited by the government of Mozambique and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to work on community services programs in the newly established Marate Refugee camp hosting 4,000 refugees from mainly the Great Lakes Region; Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Consequently in August, 2003 LWF/WS started working in the camp with some financial support from the American Embassy in Mozambique and the UNHCR. Funding however was not sufficient to effectively support their programs although a lot of ground work was done. Basically, LWF intends to promote self-reliance activities, provide assistance to vulnerable and those with special needs including children, the elderly and disabled. It also aims to promote basic public health standards for environmental health, water and sanitation. The appeal therefore details how these activities will be carried out and the benefits that will be achieved for the refugees. The programs in the appeal are planned to run for 12 months from January to December, 2004.

UNHCR has indicated their commitment to the work of LWF at USD 81,700 and this amount has been reflected in the ACT appeal budget as a pledge. As the total budget stands at $178,965 ACT is requested to raise $97,265 for the appeal.

Project Completion Date: 31 December 2004

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested (US$)

Total Appeal Target(s)
Less: Pledges/Contr. Recd.
Balance Requested from ACT Network

Please kindly send your contributions to the following ACT bank account:

Account Number - 240-432629.60A (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
8, rue du Rhône
P.O. Box 2600
1211 Geneva 4
Swift address: UBSW CHZH12A

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.

For further information please contact:

ACT Director, Thor-Arne Prois (phone +41 22 791 6033 or mobile phone + 41 79 203 6055) or
ACT Appeals Officer, John Nduna (phone +41 22 791 6040 or mobile phone +41 79 433 0592)

Thor-Arne Prois
Director, ACT Co-ordinating Office


The Lutheran World Federation Mozambique

The Lutheran World Federation Mozambique (LWF Mozambique) was registered in Mozambique as an international NGO in May 1986. However, LWF Mozambique has been engaged in assistance programmes in Mozambique since 1977, when the major concentration was on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

LWF Mozambique implements directly as well as works with and through local Community-Based Organisations. All interventions carried out through LWF Mozambique have a special bias on an integrated approach to development. To this extent, advocacy and partnership development including networking form the core of LWF Mozambique's approach to programming.

Beginning August 2003, LWF Mozambique was called upon by Government and UNHCR to provide a Community Services component to the only refugee camp in the country, consisting of over 3,000 refugees at that time and currently host to 5,090 refugees, situated in Maretane District in Nampula province.


Background and summary

Mozambique has been housing asylum seekers fleeing violence in their countries. Most of these are refugees originating from the Great Lakes region (DRC, Rwanda and Burundi) and are a mixture of urban and rural caseloads. Many of these refugees are entering the country through Lichinga on the shores of Lake Niassa where UNHCR set up a temporary transit centre implemented by CARITAS. UNHCR, together with the Government of Mozambique (GoM) mounted a camp-based assistance program for refugees who were residing in Bobole and Maratane (Nampula) camps. During the first half of 2003, the movement of refugees to Maratane camp in Nampula was completed with the assistance of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

The Maratane Camp is now the only refugee camp in the country and currently hosts 5,090 refugees. 500 people actually living outside the camp and running their own business have now been taken off the list. Most of these refugees come from the DR Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi, a few from Somalia, Angola, Chad, Liberia, Ethiopia, and Sierra Leone. There are presently 1,200 Hutus at the camp, both from Rwanda and Burundi and 450 Tutsi. This issue is very vague, as these people do not wish to declare who they are. They fled their countries, went to Tanzania and Zambia, Malawi, and finally came to Mozambique.

People say they like to come to Mozambique because the Mozambican government is very hospital to receiving refugees: the educated are allowed to work, in fact the government helps them find jobs; people are allowed to leave the camp and many do to make ends meet. When the transfer of refugees took place from Bobole, the camp near Maputo, refugees were allowed to stay in Maputo as long as they could live without further UNHCR and/or government assistance!

Some of the refugees in Nampula are entirely dependent on food rations and non-food items procured by UNHCR. However, UNHCR in collaboration with GoM, has enabled a number of highly qualified and experienced persons among the refugees to secure jobs in the mainstream Mozambican society within Nampula and in other provinces as well. UNHCR's underlying principle as far as the refugee problem in Mozambique is, the promotion of self-reliance and self- sufficiency among refugees.

Nampula Province is one of the poorest provinces in Mozambique. Cash crops are not cultivated, and conventional indicators of well-being are alarmingly low. The infrastructure back and forth from Nampula is tedious with road travel to neighbouring provinces next to impossible. To drive to Beira from Nampula town takes two days, and that is if the ferry across the Zambezi River works, which it does not most of the time. To get to Tete province one also has to travel for two days, travelling through Malawi. The refugees in Nampula are entirely dependent on food rations and non-food items procured by UNHCR.

Since August 2003, when The Lutheran World Federation began work at the camp, a great deal of ground has been covered in trying to integrate the important component of Community Services. So far this has included conducting a Rapid Assessment, strengthening and supporting existing camp structures, encouraging and promoting sports and cultural activities, strengthening HIV/AIDS awareness, creating and promoting cultural drama shows, setting up special task forces where necessary, availing counselling services and related psychological services and preparing grounds for vocational training. Although water and sanitation was not within the Lutheran World Federation's brief, through special Water and Sanitation Task Groups, LWF could be said to have achieved minimum liveable standards in the camp, as far sanitation is concerned. However, as more refugees flock in, and as pressure is put on the existing already compromised services, a lot still needs to be done in this regard.

In 2003, the American Embassy in Maputo provided US $ 20,000, which was mainly used during the four months to rehabilitate a building, which has been converted into a multi-purpose Community Centre. The Centre will be used for community meetings, capacity building workshops, vocational training activities and for indoor games. The Centre is also expected to serve as a mini-library as well as provide access to residents to radio services.

Major collaboration has been achieved from the Government - NAR (Núcleo de Apoio aos Refugiados - department for refugees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), World Vision, and World Relief. Although progress has been made in providing essential services, UNHCR's major concern remains the lack of Community Services component. Related factors include a significant number of traumatised people, particularly the young; a large number of single women; significant cases of HIV/AIDS; lack of reproductive health services, not to mention language problems faced by refugees trying to access services and interact with the local community.


Maratane Refugee Camp is located 30 km from Nampula town - 25 km of reasonable dirt road. The camp consists of 300 semi-permanent houses constructed by the World Vision, with UNHCR funding.

The camp consists of 1 Health Post with 5 staff, 1 government Portuguese medium school and 1 French medium school. It was ascertained from the Camp Committee that most people would rather attend or have their children attend a French medium school than a Portuguese medium one to help facilitate the expected return to their homer countries. Within the camp there were medium-sized buildings housing UNHCR, a Health Post, World Relief, Assistant Camp Administrator, the Police and the World Vision. There was an indication of electricity as evidenced by newly installed wiring. There appeared to be sufficient water points.

Within the camp there is no need for transport, however for travel to Nampula there are some local pick-ups that can be used.

Camp Population: By 8 May 2003 when the Lutheran World Federation Mozambique team visited, the total population of the camp was 2,742 people, of which 1,574 (57.4%) were men and 1,168 (42.6%) were females. At present there is an average arrival of 60 refugees a month, but UNHCR is still expecting the total number of refugees in the camp to reach 5,500 in 2004.

The camp population can be said to be youthful with 46.9% (1,287) consisting of children 0-12 years and those between 13-49 years comprising 51.5% (1,413). Only 42 (1.5%) people were above the age of 50 years. A third (30.5%) of the population of the camp consists of children less than 6 years.

Resources in the Camp: The Camp Committee indicated that there are people in the camp with specific skills, although few in number. These include carpenters, masons, tailors, plumbers, cobblers, bicycle, radio and TV repairers.

Apart from a Health Post and the specified skills, there is, in the perception of the Camp Committee, limited agricultural land.

Current Situation

Assessment of Problems and Needs

Information on problems and needs has been collected through the use of Rapid Assessment methods including, group meetings, focus group discussions, in-depth interviews with individuals and through structured observation as well as day-to-day observations.

Earlier in 2003 before the intervention of LWF in August, the main problems reported by the Camp Committee included pockets of conflict, shortage of water and the issue of use of agricultural land. There was a conflict between two rival Congolese groups and between Rwandans and Congolese, fortunately both were resolved amicably and peace could be said to have returned to the camp. As indicated under the section on "relationship with the host community", plans are underway to demarcate the land that will in future be used for agriculture.

The Camp Committee has been concerned about a large number of young people, particularly single women, who are hanging around the camp with literally nothing to occupy their time. The Committee observes that even those who are occupied, some of them even in full time occupation such as loading and distribution of food, are not given any incentives. The major fear is that the young are likely to resort to illicit means of obtaining money, including resorting to prostitution.

According to the Committee, the number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases is high. There are already confirmed cases of HIV/AIDS; although of major concern is that even the infected do not know that they are infected. Malaria and malnutrition are also common.

Apart from the young and single women, other vulnerable groups include a significant number of unaccompanied children and those with disabilities, whose specific needs have so far not been addressed.

With regard to needs, there seems to be a consensus amongst the members of the Camp Committee and the camp population in general that the greatest need is for peace to return to their countries of origin so that they could go back home. However, more immediately, the priority is to find something to occupy the time of many young people who are hanging around the camp. The Committee had a number of suggestions: vocational training in areas such as carpentry, computer training etc., formal education in French or other common language in the camp, opportunities for small business, agriculture and recreation facilities. The Committee noted that through their own initiatives they had started education and recreation activities in the camp. These include a French Medium primary school, HIV/AIDS Education Task Force, and cultural drama groups. Since August, the basic recreational facilities including football, goal posts and net, drums etc have been provided.

There is a great potential for building on the initiatives of the camp members in a bid to promote a culture of self-reliance. It calls for more efforts to be directed at capacity building, vocational training, training of trainers and facilitators and income generating activities in an attempt to cultivate a self reliance culture and enable refugees to develop skills within the camp that they will take with them when repatriated. Individuals will need to be supported to acquire entrepreneurial and business skills to enable them to generate income. Those already in micro-enterprises will need to be encouraged to expand them for higher productivity through provision of technical and other assistance. Economic activities that are innovative and marketable such as tailoring, typing, computer skills, weaving and business skills will need to be promoted.

Cases of domestic violence and gender-based sexual violence have been reported. However, the approach introduced by LWF of using special task groups seems to be yielding positive results, as there has been marked reduction in the number of cases reported.

Relationship with the Local Community: The Camp Committee described the relationship with the local community as being generally good. There have been, however, some isolated cases of camp occupants unknowingly encroaching on local community's land with a resultant exchange. The land around the camp is in the process of being demarcated. The area of the camp is 120 hectares; this was officially demarcated by DINAGECA (Mozambican government department for mapping), however there does not seem to be an official document available.

With regard to the relationship with the host community environment, there does not seem, so far, to be any visible environmental impact that characterises this kind of camp, particularly the destruction of trees and other fauna. Refugees are provided with charcoal for cooking by UNHCR, which relieves the environment from supplying firewood, usually one of the main aspects that effect the environment in many refugee situations.

Key Actors in the Camp: The main actors in the camp include NAR, UNHCR, World Vision, Camp Police, World Vision and World Relief. NAR is responsible for day-to-day administration of the camp as well as food distribution. World Vision has been constructing semi-permanent houses for camp residents, whereas World Relief has been involved in a micro-credit initiative, poultry farming and improvement of sanitation.

A ten-member camp committee of five men and five women has been elected from amongst the refugees by the refugees. They assist in the operation of the camp, help solve problems and council refugees.

Description of Possible Disaster Scenarios

All refugees were moved to the Nampula area mostly to be far from South Africa. The likelihood that refugees would try to reach that country has thus been reduced. However, most refugees have just moved from the Maputo area and there is little hope of a reasonable future in Nampula, the way things are at this time. It is feared therefore that refugees will resort to infighting and other negative activities in the camp, as has been seen before not so long ago!

The most preferred future of the refugees, as expressed by the Camp Committee, is safe return to their home country. Young people who have not been engaged in useful activity and education are likely to fail in their home country upon their return.

There is still fear for an increased influx of refugees from Zimbabwe, as the situation gets worse in that country. However, it seems that most Zimbabweans prefer to go to South Africa, with more than three million being there at this time!

Current Security Situation

The current security situation is calm. Political violence is not considered a threat in the camp at this time, but there is fear that the situation could become tense again.

As far as Mozambique is concerned the situation is calm as well, and expected to continue to be so during the time of this application. The municipal elections in 2003 did proceed peacefully and results seemed fair. There is hope therefore, that the 2004 national elections will also be peaceful, even though it is somewhat unsure when it will take place.

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