Since independence, 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, 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. As Burundi heads towards the 2020 general elections, its context is marked by a political impasse between a ruling party that has secured a near-complete dominance of the political space, and a fractured, weakened opposition.
Over the course of 11 years, Interpeace and its Burundi partner, the Conflict Alert and Prevention Centre (CENAP), have implemented a long-term peacebuilding strategy in Burundi. The current programme, “May you have roots, may you have a future” is in its second phase and builds upon the consultation of youth to develop a new, long-term vision for a peaceful Burundi. In 2017, CENAP and Interpeace consulted over 4,000 young people to discuss their perspectives and visions for a peaceful, economically dynamic Burundi with a competent education system and respect for the rule of law. Young people currently constitute 65% of the population.