The programme name “Gira iyo uva nivo uia” means “May you have roots; may you have a future”, which is a traditional Burundian blessing bestowed upon children and young people and symbolizes the programme’s dual emphasis on reconciling the past and building a future. The programme is in its second phase and builds upon the consultation of youth to develop a new, long-term vision for a peaceful Burundi. Using the results of this research, the programme aims to reinvigorate dialogue between people of different (ethnic and political) affiliations both at the community and national levels. It also aims to use the consultation as an entry point to strengthen community – and particularly youth – resilience capacities to both resist manipulation and effectively engage in and promote inclusive governance and peacebuilding processes.
Drawing upon the research on youth aspirations for a future Burundi, CENAP partnered with Youth Permanent Dialogue groups in the provinces of Bubanza, Cibitoke, Bujumbura rural, Rumonge, Bururi, Ngozi, Muyinga and Kirundo to engage young people from diverse political, community and religious backgrounds that have been guided through a process to transcend their differences, to jointly identify their concerns, develop joint initiatives and engage key decision-makers to address their concerns. The exercise allowed youth to connect with each other across divides and to practice values of tolerance, debate and consensus building. It also enabled youth to recognize their capacities to change their situation, and the confidence to engage those in power. The youth engaged have been observed to be exercising their collaboration, leadership and confidence by initiating efforts to strengthen youth’s voice and position in public life.