Enhancing Education and Livelihoods of Refugees and their Host Communities in Zambia



Project implementor: Caritas Czech Republic

Donor: Czech Development Cooperation

Implementation period: 2021-2023


Zambia has a long history of receiving and supporting refugees from surrounding countries dating back to the 1960's. In early 2021, Zambia hosted more than 93,000 involuntarily displaced persons, predominantly from the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as from Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia and Ethiopia, Syria, Turkey and other countries. Currently, there are three refugee settlements in Zambia— Meheba, Mayukwayukwa, Mantapala. All three settlements are located in remote rural areas with poor road infrastructure. Therefore, the main source of livelihood for the majority of the population is crop and livestock production. Nearly 92 % of the population in refugee settlements lives below the poverty line. "Settlements" differ from traditional refugee camps in that incoming families and individuals are given land to build homes and basic agricultural livelihoods. These are freely accessible areas.

Although the Zambian government has been very welcoming of refugees for a long time, there are still laws which restrict their free movement and access to work and entrepreneurship. Refugees who have long-term residence permits outside the refugee settlements (for health, study, or work reasons) mostly live in larger cities with the highest population of nearly 10,000 refugees in the capital city of Lusaka. They usually live in slums. Provision of support (including livelihood support) is rather in a one-time manner and not comprehensive.


The main objective of this project was to improve access to livelihood and self-sufficiency of refugees and members of host communities in Zambia by supporting sustainable and profitable agricultural production independent of one-time aid and by developing product value chains.


The HS team developed an expert water study assessing the potential for aquaculture, irrigation and flood control measures, including technical proposals in Mantapala refugee camp based on field visits. The study focused on three main components – flood protection, aquaculture potential and irrigation systems - and recommended appropriate technical solutions for each of these components.

The HS team also visited several urban refugee farms in Lusaka to assess their agricultural production potential. Based on the technical design and recommendations of Zambian agricultural experts, simple technical solutions were implemented to increase and diversify production.