Building Bridges in Burundi

Project duration: 1 December 2016 – 30 November 2021
Location: Cibitoke, Bujumbura, Makamba, Rutana, Kirundo and Bujumbura Mairie provinces

The Building Bridges in Burundi (BBB) ​​program is developed to mitigate the root causes of conflict and instability in Burundi. The program aims at transforming the lives of young men and women between 15 and 25 years old, by giving them the means to become responsible and resilient citizens. One of the key activities of the program is to support youth from diverse social, ethnic and religious backgrounds to organize themselves in Self-Help Groups. Within these groups, they set up a loan and savings system and receive training in nonviolent conflict management at the same time.

Paralegals and mediators
In the absence of a formal, well functioning, justice system, Burundians make extensive use of informal justice systems at the local level and take part in transitional justice. The program supports paralegals and mediators to deal with grievances and (juridical) claims within local communities to come to nonviolent conflict resolution. BBB supports paralegals and mediators to deal with grievances and (juridical) claims within local communities to come to nonviolent conflict resolution.

"Before BBB, I hated anyone of this other ethnicity, following the painful experiences of my family in the past. When I started to participate in the BBB program, everything really changed in me. I have given myself the job of changing my friends who see things as I saw them in the past.”

BBB Youth Group participant
Youth present at a play about social skills and conflict resolving. Art, sports and music are used to help youth to reflect on these and other issues.



Key Results (2020)


Youth supported


Self-Help Groups supported


Youth and women who completed technical vocational training

The key results (2020) further show that:

  • youth, supported with vocational training, increased their average monthly income tremendously from 23,636 BIF (11.08 EUR) before to 117,684 BIF (55.17 EUR) after training, and after being in the program for a while to 203,929 BIF (88.34 EUR).
  • youth-members of Cluster Level Associations have been called in decision-making meetings on colline and commune levels with local authorities and other civic leaders;
  • 95% of the beneficiaries report that the level of violent conflict reduced.

The BBB Consortium, comprising Help a Child (lead), American Friends Service Committee, Cord and Stichting CMC Mensen met een Missie as well as ten implementing partners, is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands under the Address Root Causes (ARC) program.



External research

The key results and recommendations of the external research ‘The role of informal justice in fostering the rule of law’ where presented during the Annual Conference of the Knowledge Platform on Security & Rule of Law (14 October 2021). Find here the learning paper presented there. With many thanks to the KPSRL.


The role of informal justice in fostering the rule of law

General Information

Find here some background information about the three result areas of the Building Bridges in Burundi program: Functioning rule of law, Human security and Income-generating and livelihood opportunities.




Rule of Law explained - BBB
Human Security - BBB
Income-Generating Livelihood Opportunities - BBB

Gender studies

Several gender studies have been carried out researching gender in dynamics in transitional justice, socio-economic resilience and good governance. You can find them below.

Gender and transitional justice - BBB
Gender and socio-economic resilience - BBB
Gender and good governance - BBB