Operation: Opération: Zimbabwe



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Key Figures

2020 year-end results
100% of people of concern (14,750) had access to primary health care
100% of households (14,750) had access to at least 15 litres of water per person per day
97% of people of concern (14,307) received at least 450 grams of soap per person per month
97% of women and girls (4,324) received sanitary materials
93% of registered refugee children (2,850) were enrolled in primary education
55% of refugees and asylum-seekers (8,200) were reached with COVID-19-related messaging
2021 planning figures
30,000 people of concern out of the approximately 109,552 still affected by the Tropical Cyclone Idai will be provided with support, in close collaboration with the protection cluster
14,600 people of concern will have access to primary health care services as well as water, sanitation and hygiene facilities
3,000 people of concern will receive livelihoods support in the agricultural sector
2,633 children will be enrolled in primary education and 845 children will be enrolled in secondary education

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Decrease in
2020 22,442
2019 291,583
2018 18,891


[["Refugees",9266],["Asylum-seekers",11929],["Returned refugees",280],["Others of concern",967]]
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2020 {"categories":[2016,2017,2018,2019,2020,2021],"budget":[6.43412162,10.957979280000002,7.81785047,11.409489940000002,7.59425855,9.47940736],"expenditure":[4.95217574,7.07456308,5.7709857300000005,9.324982290000001,7.03718988,null]} {"categories":[2016,2017,2018,2019,2020,2021],"p1":[6.084611440000001,10.525885220000001,7.564022469999999,7.7204812800000004,7.29630655,7.80841336],"p2":[0.34951018,0.43209406,0.253828,0.28500566,0.297952,0.623874],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,3.404003,null,1.04712]} {"categories":[2016,2017,2018,2019,2020,2021],"p1":[4.75229399,6.83835733,5.59678891,7.14654874,6.96333334,null],"p2":[0.19988175,0.23620575,0.17419682,0.20431911,0.07385654,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,1.97411444,null,null]}
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  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021

Operational context

The working environment in Zimbabwe was marked by recurring political tensions and escalating socio-economic challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic reached Zimbabwe in March 2020 and was aggravated by a difficult macro-economic situation, as well as by a slow recovery from Tropical Cyclone Idai and severe drought. Key challenges included insufficient supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), laboratory kits and consumables, and the weak capacity of the national health system to provide intensive care for COVID-19 patients. UNHCR prioritized health and water, sanitation and hygiene activities to prevent and respond to COVID-19. Education was also highly affected with schools closed for 80% of the school year. Infrastructure development continued, despite the negative impact of the pandemic on livelihood activities.
UNHCR continued to advocate the implementation of 14 pledges made by the Government during the Global Refugee Forum and the High-Level Segment on Statelessness. The Office also engaged with the Government, UN, and other stakeholders to develop the Zimbabwe National Development Strategy (2021-2025). Registration and refugee status determination (RSD) processes were hampered due to restrictions in movement, with fewer temporary permits issues, as well as limited meetings of the Zimbabwe RSD committee. The African Development Bank project on “Innovative solutions to support livelihoods of vulnerable communities” entered its second year. The first year of implementation achieved the installation of 135 solar lights and saw the reconstruction of a 25 hectare irrigation scheme which benefited 250 households including, host community members UNHCR also successfully advocated for the inclusion of refugees and asylum-seekers in the inter-agency Zimbabwe Humanitarian Response Plan. 

Population trends 

Zimbabwe hosted 22,442 people of concern including refugees (9,266), asylum-seekers (11,929) and others of concern (967) under UNHCR’s assistance and protection. This represented an increase of 5% compared to 2019.
Tongogara refugee camp and Harare hosted 14,750 and 872 biometrically registered refugees respectively.

Key achievements

  • 8,200 refugees and asylum-seekers were reached with COVID-19-related messaging. This ensured preparedness and prevention of COVID-19 in the Tongogara refugee camp.
  • Access to water was improved for all 14,750 people residing in Tongogara refugee camp as well as host community members following the construction of a piped water system.
  • 132 solar lights were installed in Tongogara and in host community areas. This eliminated cases of human-wildlife conflict and ensured access to basic services in safety during the night.
  • A 25-hectare irrigation scheme was constructed and commissioned. This improved access to livelihood opportunities.

Unmet needs

  • Access to civil status documentation could not be ensured in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic restricting movements. Civil documentation issuance will be prioritized in 2021, resources permitting.
  • As a result of remote learning and limited resources, 2,850 refugee students were disadvantaged due to a lack of access to radios and technical devices.
  • Access to sufficient water in the old sections of Tongogara remained low due to power outages. Solarizing water network in old sections will require additional resources.
  • Due to resource constraints, UNHCR could not provide additional livelihoods support, as well as other income generating activities to 283 returnees during their reintegration process.

Use of flexible funding (unearmarked or softly earmarked funding)

  • With flexible funding, UNHCR was able to reprioritize health and water, sanitation and hygiene activities to prevent and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • UNHCR ensured the sustainable monitoring and integration of 283 refugees from Dukwi refugee camp in Botswana.  

Working environment

Despite the economic crisis, the operational and security environment in Zimbabwe is expected to remain stable during 2020 resulting in a favorable protection environment for refugees and asylum-seekers. The Government continues to provide transit center facilities, land, access to services and social amenities as well as personnel for the refugee response.
For the refugee response, UNHCR priorities will focus on the provision of shelter, healthcare, livelihoods, education, water and sanitation as well as ensuring child protection, strengthening prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence and facilitation of durable solutions. In order to reduce the risk of statelessness, UNHCR will, in close coordination with the authorities, conduct a comprehensive study on statelessness and publish a report on the findings.
In March 2019, Tropical Cyclone Idai hit the Southern Hemisphere, including Zimbabwe. Heavy rains and strong winds caused riverine and flash flooding affecting 270,000 persons including 122,000 in Chipinge District where Tongogara Refugee Camp hosting some 15,000 refugees and asylum-seekers is located. Approximately 6,000 refugees and asylum-seekers were severely impacted as over 1,000 houses, latrines and water boreholes were completely or partially damaged. As part of the collective UN system response, UNHCR deployed emergency staff, provided core relieve items to nearly 66,000 affected persons – both Zimbabweans and refugees - and co-led the UN Protection Cluster.
As part of the multi-year multi-partner protection and solutions strategy, UNHCR will enhance partnerships with the government line ministries,
Registrar General’s Office, parliamentarians, the UN system, civil society, faith-based organizations and academia. UNHCR will also seek to diversify the pool of partners which will provide the platform for rolling out the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) of the Global Compact on Refugees in Zimbabwe.

Key priorities

In 2020, UNHCR will focus on:
  • Partnership diversification for sustainable protection, assistance and solutions for both the refugee and statelessness programmes;
  • Improving the self-reliance of people of concern through diversified and context specific livelihoods activities in line with the graduation approach;
  • Advocacy for the improvement of the government refugee status determination procedures;
  • Conducting a comprehensive study on statelessness in Zimbabwe, and enhancing the network of partners to implement a national action plan to respond and prevent statelessness.
Latest contributions
  • 25-NOV-2021
    United States of America

    private donors

  • 24-NOV-2021
  • Germany
  • 23-NOV-2021
    United States of America

    private donors

  • 22-NOV-2021
    United States of America

    private donors

  • Japan

    private donors

  • 18-NOV-2021

    private donors

  • Argentina
  • Romania
  • Qatar
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • 17-NOV-2021

    private donors

  • Germany
  • 15-NOV-2021
    United Arab Emirates

    private donors

  • 12-NOV-2021
  • 11-NOV-2021
  • Angola
  • 09-NOV-2021
  • 08-NOV-2021
  • Hungary