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Burundi: Junge schöpft Wasser von einer neuen Wasserpumpe

We are here in Burundi

The contrast between the glowing, green hills of this beautiful African country and the bitter suffering of the population is poignant. Poverty, scarcity of farmland, and ethnic tensions give rise to a vicious cycle of violence. Our goal is to contribute to breaking that cycle.

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The forgotten humanitarian crisis in Burundi

total population of Burundi
lives below the poverty level
Burundian refugees returned home assisted by UNHCR since 2017

multiple crises

Why work in Burundi?

Burundi is experiencing a chronic crisis. The political situation remains tense, with a devastating impact on the economy. Climate change results in less predictable agricultural seasons, and only half of the population has access to a sustainable source of drinking water. High population density and Burundi’s dependence on subsistence farming causes scarcity of land and triggers land conflicts, exacerbated by a large numbers of returned Burundian refugees from neighbouring countries.

In Burundi, ZOA works with conflict and natural disaster affected populations in Makamba, Cibitoke and Rumonge. We target especially vulnerable farmer households, youth and primary schools. Through our integrated approach, we support vulnerable people who are struggling to survive. We are active in the field of peacebuilding, food security and livelihoods, WASH and Education.

Promoting peace and stability

Since 2014, ZOA implements land certification projects in Makamba province. Our objective is to secure land ownership and reduce the number of conflicts arising around land. The projects are funded by the Dutch Embassy and USAID and pay special attention to women’s land rights, as they are the backbone of households and farms. Since land conflicts are a severe threat to insecurity in Burundi, ZOA trains local village structures Commissions de Reconnaissance Collinaire (CRCs) in land conflict mediation. These CRCS are specifically mandated by Burundian law to resolve disputes between landowners. ZOA has also established five district cadastre offices, through which around 92.000 land parcels were registered between 2014 and 2019. On village level peace committees have been created and trained to make conflict mediation accessible for the most vulnerable. These peace committees represent different social groups and do not ask anything in return for their services. Their approach is to always look for reconciliation between different parties in conflict, so that no grievances remain.

How does ZOA work on land rights?

Facts and figures about ZOA's work in Burundi in 2021

With a team of 50 staff members we supported 48,350 people.

people improved their food security
people participated in peacebuilding activities
of our budget was spent on recovery

Support families to promote food security

Since 2016, ZOA trained around 45.000 households in 134 villages in Cibitoke, Makamba, Muyinga (through local partner RBU2000+) and Rumonge provinces to increase the agricultural production through the PIP approach. These activities were carried out in a consortium with IFDC, Alterra, and Oxfam. The PIP-approach is based on stirring farmers’ intrinsic motivation and triggers a mentality change. Farmers are challenged to visualize their ideas about the change they would like to see in their lives and households in three to five years time. They learn how to create goals and work towards them. A detailed planification of the household’s activities, income and expenditures is made involving all household members. To support their livelihood, village savings and loans committees (VSLAs) were formed as well. To date, around 900 VSLA’s are active and 28 villages have also been supported to develop and implement their own village development plan.

Improve access to clean water and sanitation

Only 52 per cent of the Burundian population has access to a sustainable source of clean drinking water. Combined with inadequate access to sanitary facilities and limited knowledge on good hygienic practices, cholera is a recurring problem in Burundi. We work to improve access to clean drinking water, both in villages and schools. This helps fight diseases like diarrhea and cholera, thus contributing to public health. Through different projects, we rehabilitated water springs, drilled boreholes, constructed latrine blocks and established hygiene clubs at primary schools. We help children attend school, and we particularly focus on the importance of education for girls.

working together

Donors and partners

Our work in Burundi is funded by USAID, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ZOA Business Ambassadors and our constituency in the Netherlands. In Burundi, work with MIPAREC, Réseau Burundi 2000+, OAP, ADISCO, Alterra (Wageningen University) and the  International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC).

Juvénal Ntarima, ZOA's team leader in Rumonge

I was amazed by the strongly increased household cohesion as a result of the simple means of drawing a family tree, creating a joint vision and working towards that vision by sharing responsibilities.