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|2019 year-end results|
|100%||of people of concern had access to primary health care|
|4,700||refugee and asylum-seeking children were enrolled in primary education|
|600||people of concern received livelihood assistance|
|480||people of concern departed for resettlement|
|2020 planning figures|
|100%||of primary school-aged children will be enrolled in primary education|
|100%||of households will be living in adequate dwellings;|
|80%||of people of concern with their own business/self-employed for more than 12 months|
|50%||of laws relating to refugees will be consistent with international standards|
|150||people of concern per water tap|
People of Concern
Opeartional contextIn March 2019, Malawi was affected by Tropical Cyclone Idai, which displaced some 87,000 people across 15 districts. UNHCR co-led the protection cluster response and provided shelter and core relief items to affected people. Malawi was a roll-out country for the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework and the inclusion of refugees was incorporated into the Government’s “growth development strategy” and in the UNDAF 2019–2022. The Government made five pledges at the Global Refugee Forum in December 2019, related to the inclusion of refugees in the national development agenda; legal and policy reform; registration and documentation; settlement approach and self-reliance; as well as reception and admission to territory.
Operational priorities for UNHCR in 2019 included the implementation of a multi-year multi-partner strategy supporting the Government’s efforts to include refugees in national systems. UNHCR continued to advocate for the review of the Refugee Act, in line with the Government’s pledges at the Global Refugee Forum.
Population trendsMalawi hosted nearly 30,300 asylum-seekers and 14,100 refugees in 2019 (mainly from the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa), in Dzaleka refugee camp. The number of new asylum-seekers, particularly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), continued to increase steadily, with more than 5,700 new arrivals registered by the Government.
In 2019, the Government adopted prima facie determination for asylum-seekers originating from North and South Kivu provinces in the DRC, as well as the Katanga region.
- 320 residential plots were demarcated, and a one-room shelter material kit was procured for each plot.
- 450 people of concern benefitted from the “graduation approach” supporting the poorest and most vulnerable refugee and host community households.
- The Government of Malawi made five pledges at the Global Refugee Forum in December 2019.
- Inadequate funding continued to hamper the operation’s activities.
- Dzaleka refugee camp required upgrading and new sites needed to be identified to alleviate overcrowding.
- Food shortages led to food rations being halved as of May 2019, resulting in negative coping mechanisms.
- People of concern only received 7 litres of water per day – far below the standard of 20 litres per day.
- 53% out of 9,800 school-age children did not have access to education.
- 70% of the refugee population were below the ultra-poverty line. Only 2% of people of concern were able to access livelihood interventions.
- UNHCR was unable to support measures to address the backlog of 30,000 refugee status determination cases.
Operational EnvironmentMalawi enjoys a stable and democratic political environment and the presidential elections scheduled for May 2019 are anticipated to be peaceful. However, the cost of living and breakdowns in essential social services remain high. This coupled with floods and droughts impacting food security weakens the operational environment for UNHCR.
UNHCR coordinates its response with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security, the government entity responsible for refugee status determination and camp management. UNHCR and partners deliver protection and humanitarian assistance in cooperation with partners to some 35,000 refugees and asylum-seekers hosted in Dzaleka camp.
Dzaleka refugee camp was originally built for 10,000 people, but is currently hosting over 35,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, resulting in urgent need of decongestion. The number of new asylum-seekers, particularly from the Democratic Republic of Congo, is expected to increase in 2019 due to continued instability and violence in the country, potentially putting a further strain on the existing infrastructure. The total number of people of concern to UNHCR in 2019 is estimated at 55,000.
Despite the increase in some population groups of concern, for others durable solutions have been found. Some 2,600 Mozambican asylum-seekers returned from Luwani camp to Mozambique in late September 2018 as a result of the peace process.
The Government of Malawi supports the refugee response through the provision land and personnel. UNHCR has developed partnerships with the private sector, civil society, NGOs and government bodies. UNHCR is advocating for the inclusion of its people of concern into national mechanisms of protection, as well as seeking to strengthen linkages to the development sector.
As a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) roll-out country, UNHCR is pursuing the CRRF approach in Malawi. Enhanced inclusion of refugees has been included in the forthcoming national development plan, as well as in the UNDAF 2019–2022. Furthermore, a multi-year, multi-partner protection and solutions strategy has been developed, entailing legislative action, a relaxation of the encampment policy and improving the public perception towards refugees. The strategy seizes on a number of opportunities that have emerged recently within the Government, private sector and the UN Country Team, alongside innovative donor support.
Key PrioritiesIn 2019, UNHCR will focus on:
- Inclusion of refugees in the national health and education sectors;
- Improving access to quality education through enhancing of the capacity of teachers and provision of learning materials;
- Decongestion of Dzaleka refugee camp, including a phased relocation of people of concern to a suitable settlement site, once identified by the Government;
- Achieving self-reliance through the enhancing of livelihood activities aimed at empowering people of concern.