The 2017 JAM sought to assess in particular issues of refugee dependence on food assistance, issues of targeting and vulnerability, the capacity of refugees to meet their own food needs through livelihood opportunities and the suitability of cash based transfers to meet refugees’ food needs.
Rwanda hosts almost 170,000 refugees and asylum seekers, the majority of whom (79%) reside in six camps provided by the Government of Rwanda. Since the last Joint Assessment Mission (JAM) in February 2014, the refugee population in Rwanda has increased significantly, with the arrival of 86,154 Burundian refugees fleeing their home country since 2015. Burundian refugees now constitute 53.5% of all refugees in Rwanda and the 74,302 Congolese refugees constitute 46.2% of refugees.
Just under half (49%) of the refugees in Rwanda are under the age of 18 years while 15% are under the age of 5 years. Almost 9,000 Congolese asylum seekers reside in Rwanda, their refugee status pending until the next verification exercise.
Refugees from Burundi continue to flow into Rwanda at a rate of about 10-20 per day; there is no evidence to suggest that this flow will slow down in the near future, and the interagency planning scenario predicts a total of 114,000 Burundian refugees in Rwanda by the end of 2017. The volatile political and security situations in the DRC and Burundi continue to compromise the opportunity for refugees and asylum seekers to return home.
In line with the Global Agreement between WFP and UNHCR, Joint Assessment Missions (JAM) are carried out roughly every two years to assess the food security and nutrition situation among refugees and to make recommendations for programme review and/or adjustment. While the main focus of the joint assessment is to understand the situation, needs, risks, capacities and vulnerabilities of refugees with regards to food security and nutrition, the 2017 JAM sought to assess in particular issues of refugee dependence on food assistance, issues of vulnerability, the capacity of refugees to meet their own food needs through livelihood opportunities and the suitability of cash based transfers to meet refugees’ food needs.
Five camps have now transitioned to the cash-based transfer assistance modality, as a means of ensuring greater autonomy and a more diversified diet. The JAM found refugees to still be highly dependent on humanitarian assistance, with refugees in cash based transfers camps being slightly more dependent on WFP for their food requirements (92.43%) than those in in-kind food assistance camps (87.02%). The remaining balance is sourced from gifts and own production mostly. Reliance on WFP assistance is still high among the refugees with responses showing the range from 89% in Kiziba to 95% in Kigeme. The greatest source of income for most refugees continues to be the WFP food or cash assistance.