Mozambique: Lessons from African Experiences in Hosting Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

The displacement of individuals and communities due to conflict, violence, natural disasters, or other crises has become an unfortunate reality in many regions across the globe. Mozambique, a nation in Southeast Africa, has faced its share of internal displacement, with an estimated 575,000 people displaced as of 2022. As Mozambique grapples with the challenges of managing and assisting internally displaced persons (IDPs), it can draw valuable lessons from the experiences of other African countries that have navigated similar circumstances.

Lessons from Neighboring Countries

Mozambique shares borders with several African countries that have significant experience in hosting IDPs. Among these are:

  • Tanzania: Tanzania has hosted the largest number of IDPs in Africa, estimated at over 2 million at the peak of the crisis. The country has developed a comprehensive framework for IDP protection and assistance, including the establishment of IDP camps and the provision of essential services.

  • Kenya: Kenya has a long history of hosting IDPs, particularly in the wake of ethnic conflicts and political violence. The country has adopted a community-based approach, integrating IDPs into local communities rather than relying solely on camps.

  • Uganda: Uganda has faced several protracted displacement situations, including the influx of refugees from neighboring countries. The government has implemented a progressive policy that allows IDPs to settle in local communities and provides them with land and support.

Key Insights for Mozambique

By examining the experiences of these neighboring countries, Mozambique can gain valuable insights into:

  • The importance of a coordinated response: IDP management requires a coordinated effort involving multiple government agencies, humanitarian organizations, and community groups. Establishing clear roles and responsibilities is essential for effective assistance.

  • The need for a legal and policy framework: A clear legal and policy framework that defines the rights and responsibilities of IDPs is crucial for their protection and well-being. This framework should address issues such as camp management, access to essential services, and durable solutions.

  • The value of community-based approaches: Integrating IDPs into local communities can foster social cohesion and promote self-reliance. Providing IDPs with access to education, healthcare, and livelihoods can enable them to rebuild their lives.

  • The importance of sustainable solutions: Finding durable solutions for IDPs is a long-term goal that requires addressing the root causes of displacement. This may involve peacemaking efforts, land restitution, or economic development.

Best Practices for Hosting IDPs

Based on the experiences of other African countries, Mozambique can adopt best practices to ensure the protection and well-being of its IDPs. These include:

  • Establishing designated safe havens for IDPs, such as camps or community centers, where they can receive immediate assistance and protection.

  • Providing essential services to IDPs, including food, water, shelter, healthcare, and education.

  • Respecting the rights and dignity of IDPs, ensuring their participation in decision-making and protecting them from discrimination and abuse.

  • Promoting community-based approaches that foster social integration and empower IDPs to rebuild their lives.

  • Exploring durable solutions for IDPs, such as resettlement, return to their homes, or local integration, in consultation with the affected communities.


Mozambique can benefit greatly from the experiences and best practices of other African countries in hosting IDPs. By adopting a comprehensive and coordinated approach that incorporates these lessons, Mozambique can enhance its capacity to protect and assist IDPs, promote their well-being, and find sustainable solutions to their displacement.

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