Burundi

Context

Since gaining independence in 1962, the Burundian people have suffered various cycles of violence, characterized by the targeted massacre of civilians along ethnic lines. In 1993, revenge killings between the Hutu and Tutsi communities culminated in a civil war that lasted over a decade. Prospects for lasting peace rose with the Arusha Peace Accords (August 2020), which ended the civil war in 2005 and led to democratic elections. Sustained negotiations saw the last rebel group sign the Peace Accord in 2008. Subsequent elections in 2010 and 2015 were held in a dramatic atmosphere that included an attempted coup and demonstrations by the opposition.

However, the general elections held in May 2020 represented for many a new beginning for the Burundian political environment. Before his sudden death in June 2020, the outgoing President Nkurunziza decided to step down and did not present his candidature for a fourth mandate; the elections, although held in absence of international observers, were considered by international partners peaceful “enough”; the election of president Evariste Ndayishimiye, candidate of the Conseil National Pour la Défense de la Démocratie–Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie (CNDD–FDD), was welcomed by international partners and the president’s initial public speeches focusing on his vision of a new Burundi, were considered a good first step towards turning the page of violence and instability. The work of the CVR also highlights the desire to strengthen transitional justice instruments and conduct a profound community work aiming at dealing with the past and supporting the Burundians in quest for a coherent and unified analysis of Burundian history.

Gender inequalities at socio-cultural and institutional levels remain a reality and little opportunities are left for women and young people to play an active role as actors of peace. Although some steps forward have been taken at institutional level with the establishment of quotas at the level of the national assembly and at local level, the political space remains under male control, with political debates dominated by issues imposed by men. This leaves very little space to women not only to play a public political role but also to make sure that specific issues, relevant for women, are taken up in the public debates. Despite all, there is room for dialogue and engaging the government to take part in fostering gender equality and improved inclusion of women and youth in local and national decision-making processes.

Goal


Interpeace has been active in Burundi since 2007. In line with Burundi’s national development plan and national peace consolidation program, Interpeace’s program aims to support Burundi’s sustainable and equitable development through entrenched peace and stability. It contributes to the advent of a united and prosperous Burundi by improving governance, consolidating democracy, supporting reconciliation and strengthening the population’s resilience, particularly for the most vulnerable.

Initiatives


Strengthening of democratic governance practices and citizen participation in decision-making processes

One of the programme’s objectives is to contribute to the strengthening of a culture of democracy through the values of inclusive dialogue, accountability and peaceful coexistence. Through community structures, combined with capacity-building, dialogue and sensitization approaches, the programme contributes to important behavioural changes, which include an increased willingness of youth, men, a...



Political and economic empowerment of Youth collectives

Youth, who make up the majority of the population (65%) in Burundi, have been deeply affected by the cycles of protracted conflict. They have been exposed to direct violence as well as voluntary or forced participation in armed groups and militias and increased vulnerability to political manipulation. They also suffer from inter-generational transmission of trauma, lack of educational opportuni...



Promotion and strengthening of inclusive psychosocial support approaches to dealing with the past

The programme has made great strides toward a more inclusive, consensual and trauma-sensitive reconciliation process. Through a successful trauma-healing pilot initiative implemented by our partners, combined with public engagement on social media platforms, trauma-healing has been placed on the public agenda, at both community and decision-makers’ level. However, works remain to be done in brin...



Promotion of women's participation in governance

The Burundi programme takes into account gender balance and encourages parity and a better representation of women's interests and needs in decision-making bodies at all levels. The Programme has succeeded in increasing the participation of women to more than 30% of participants during programmatic interventions such as local dialogue meetings, community development activities and decision-making ...



Fostering of Insider Mediation in Burundi

Insider mediation has in the recent years proven to be an important process in conflict prevention and peace consolidation. The programme supports insider mediators, both at local and national levels in addressing and resolving conflicts in their communities.  It collaborates with the Office of the Ombudsman and has trained local leaders and mediators in all the 18 provinces.


Past initiatives


“May you have roots, may you have a future”

The programme name “Gira iyo uva nivo uia” means “May you have roots; may you have a future”, 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 aimed to reinvigorate dialogue between people of different (ethnic and political) affiliations both at the communi...


Resources

Forum RĂ©gional de Kinshasa

video

13 January 2016

Ces terres des autres qui sont Ă  nous

Publication

12 January 2016