Since gaining independence in 1962, Burundi has experienced two waves of inter-ethnic violence that triggered massive refugee movements. The death of Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira in a plane crash in April 1994 led to fighting between Hutus and Tutsis. Several hundred thousand people were killed or sought refuge in neighboring countries. Currently, nearly 90 percent of the population lives on less than two USD per day.
DWS Burundi began work in late 2006 with a peace-building focus and launched a community development program in 2009.
DWS Burundi operates in close collaboration with the National Council of Churches of Burundi (CNEB), local actors and ACT Alliance partners: The program assists communities in eastern Burundi that have a high proportion of returnees.
Current focuses are:
- Reintegration of returnees into receiving communities
- Sustainable livelihoods
- Community empowerment
DWS Burundi’s Program for Peace in Burundi works to foster unity and mutual understanding between returnees and receiving communities. It has a cross-border component with the DWS associate program Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service (TCRS) in western Tanzania, building on TCRS’s assistance program for Burundian refugees.
DWS Burundi works with returnees and receiving communities to meet development needs in their villages. The program provides basic social infrastructure in areas that host a high concentration of returnees.
DWS Burundi’s Community Empowerment Project enables community members to take a leading role in meeting development goals by facilitating governance, business management and advocacy skills.
The project includes literacy and vocational training for particularly vulnerable groups in society. It works with community leaders on transparency issues. It also strengthens farming associations and small businesses to increase their involvement in development processes.
For more information please contact:
Dr Colette Bouka-Coula, Program Officer
Mr Jesse Kamstra, Country Representative