TRAFIG Practice Note No. 8

Local connections for local solutions: Lessons learned in Tanzania

Dar es Salaam is Tanzania’s largest city with a population of around 6.7 million people. Amongst them are approximately ten thousand vulnerable migrants who find themselves in refugee-like situations. Most of these vulnerable migrants are forced to live ‘underground’ because they do not have a government-issued permit to live outside of refugee camps. They nevertheless take their chances to build a productive life in the city, even if they must live covertly.

In these situations, local connections are crucial: Without local connections and/or legal status, these urban refugees have to hide their identity in the city and risk living their lives in a perpetual state of marginalisation, displacement and not belonging.

visual_connecting-to-find-solutions © Caitlin Katsiaficas (ICMPD)

As TRAFIG Practice Note No. 8 shows, local connections of vulnerable migrants in Dar es Salaam often rely on:

  • Personal connections to “Good Samaritans”, i.e. Tanzanians who support people in refugee-like situations and facilitate access to public services.
  • Connections to local Tanzanian and faith-based organisations that help to keep people in refugee-like situations afloat.

For vulnerable migrants living in the city, their lack of a legal status affects:

  • Their ability to move freely and connect with public services and organisations offering support.
  • Their ability to regularise their undocumented status because they cannot meet certain conditions resulting from their undocumented status. A vicious cycle ensues.

Learn more about these insights and which measures can help those affected in TRAFIG Practice Note No. 8, based on insights from the TRAFIG case study on Tanzania, which can be found in TRAFIG Working Paper No. 8.

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