Why we work in Burundi
Burundi is a landlocked country in Central East Africa. One of the poorest countries in the world, Burundi is struggling to recover from a 12-year civil war, where over 300,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands of people displaced. 1
Since the end of the war in 2005, insecurity has persisted, with civil unrest flaring again in 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he was running for a third term. Since this time, a failed coup attempt, mass protests and a government crackdown has caused widespread violence, forcing over 250,000 people to flee to neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. 2
Years of war and ongoing political unrest, combined with extreme poverty and recurrent natural hazards has hit Burundi’s economy hard. Hunger is widespread.
For women and girls, life is especially hard. Sexual violence, abuse and not having access to education is common. However, the situation for women is improving. Equal numbers of boys and girls now attend primary school and enrolment rates have reached an impressive 96%.
Burundi also offers free healthcare to pregnant women and children under five, an initiative which has halved infant mortality rates over the past 10 years.
How we’re changing lives for good
We work in across Burundi supporting smallholder farmers, training people with skills to earn their own income, and helping communities learn about and protect women and girls’ rights.
Supporting small holder farmers
Glosiose Nitonde, pictured left, is a smallholder farmer in Karusi Province, Burundi. To cope with the hard conditions in this area she and 233 other families formed a federation of associations called Shirukubute.
ActionAid supports Shirukubute through a local partner to help farmers increase the production of crops and make sure that the seeds they use are stong enough to adapt to the changing weather conditions. ActionAid also provides training in tree planting to prevent erosion.
Glosiose said: "I feel we all learn a lot from the federation. Together we are stronger, than if we are alone."Donate to support ActionAid's work
Helping young people set up their own businesses
When Joselyne finished her diploma in teaching in 2012, she couldn't find work. "Finding a job is very difficult nowadays because there are many graduates and very few job opportunities," she said.
In 2013, ActionAid supported Joselyne and 27 others from a local youth organisation, Shigikirurwaruka Association, with training and support to start their own business. "I am happy that I am learning new skills to earn an income," Joselyne said. "ActionAid helped us set up a bakery to make bread that we can sell in our village.
"The money we make is helping us to set up other small businesses. I expect my business to grow and make more money which I will invest."Learn more about how we support women to earn a living
Supporting women farmers to cope with the effects of climate change
Marie Consolate is Vice-President of Synergy Horaniteka - a network of eight organisations problem-solving in their communities. Food shortage and malnutrition made worse by climate change is a serious problem in Karusi Province. "Due to the weather conditions farmers don’t have anything to store any more," Marie Consolate said.
Rural women are a vital - yet seldom seen - part of the solution to this crisis. ActionAid supports women to improve the crop production and the quality of seeds.
Ahead of the COP17 Climate Change Conference in 2011, ActionAid's HungerFREE campaign also gave women the opportunity to write messages to world leaders. Here Marie holds her sign saying 'support rural women'.Read more about our work on climate change