Rina Komiya
Associate Protection Officer
Duty Station: Kasulu, Tanzania

I’m addressing the challenge of how to create more sustainable and empowered communications amongst refugees and with UNHCR at Nyarugusu.

We are looking to address three challenges: the lack of communication between refugees and UNHCR, the information gap between Congolese refugees and Burundian refugees, and the sustainability of communications-related interventions.

Nearly 151,000 refugees stay at Nyarugusu – about 90,000 are Burundi and about 60,000 are from the DRC. Those from Burundi are new arrivals to the camp, arriving since May 2015. The Congolese, on the other hand, have lived in the camp for close to 20 years.

Assistance to the newly arrived Burundian population during emergency response resulted in some tension due to a lack of clear understanding about available services. In the absence of comprehensive and accurate information, refugees often rely on inaccurate information, misinformation, and rumors. Sometimes, a misunderstanding causes mistrust and/or conflict among refugees, between refugee populations, and between refugees and UNHCR.

Another concern related to communications is the information gap between the Congolese, who have lived in the camp for over 20 years, and the newly arrived Burundians. This is because many Congolese already have mobile phones and radios.

I want to find a solution to this challenge because communications between refugees and UNHCR is considered one of the essential protection activities.

By harnessing the power of communications, tensions related to misunderstanding and misinformation can be resolved.