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, 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 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.

 

 

Midterm Review Key Results (May 2019)

17,463

Youth supported

896

Youth self-help-groups supported

130 + 130

Paralegals and mediators trained

The midterm review report further showed 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;
  • 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;
  • supported paralegals and mediators received 3117 cases, which shows that BBB contributed to the reduction of conflicts, instability and illegal migration.

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.