Projects in Burundi

KOMEZA WIGE – Keep Studying  (2022-2024)

Since April 2022, RET has been implementing the project “KOMEZA WIGE”- Kirundi language for “keep Studying” in Burundi, a “Multi-Year Education Resilience Program” (MYRP). The program aims to improve the continuity of education for crisis-affected vulnerable children and adolescents, including those with disabilities and those who have been internally displaced, returnees, and other vulnerable children from communities affected by emergencies. It is one of Burundi’s first multi-year education resilience programs to respond to the effects of conflict and crises (including climate shocks), which have left 1.9 million children and adolescents out-of-school in Burundi. 

The MYRP is based on a holistic approach that promotes learning for girls, boys, and adolescents, especially those at risk of dropping out, and reintegrating out-of-school children into formal education while increasing their protection and positively improving their well-being. The program also aims to eliminate the structural barriers that prevent vulnerable children and young people from accessing inclusive, quality, and equitable education. This includes developing institutional capacities to better prepare for and respond to crises and education in emergencies EIE.  The program targets 300,000 children and adolescents (51% of whom are girls), with 136,336 children to be reached in the first year, including children and adolescents with special needs and targets 6,690 primary and preschool teachers and other educational support staff with capacity-building. The project covers two provinces of, Cibitoke and Makamba, which have been prioritized following the high number of repatriated, the recurrence of natural disasters and shocks, and the increased number of internal displacements. The results of the MYRP cover access, quality, coherence, management, and mobilization of resources for education in emergencies (EiE) in crises and protracted crises and the triple nexus of “Humanitarian, Development, and Peace.”

The main objective of this program is to ensure inclusive, quality, and equitable education, including in emergencies for girls and boys, and young people aged 3 to 18 years old. The program is structured to reach four outcomes:

Access and Continuity:

RET, in partnership with the grantee and sub-grantee, will work to improve access to and continuity of education in a safe and protective environment for girls and boys (including children with disabilities) in contexts of crisis or fragility by:

  • Improving Learning spaces through the rehabilitation and construction of classrooms, the provision of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) facilities, and the promotion of hygiene practices.
  • Raising Awareness among families and communities to quarrel stereotypes and barriers to education.
  • Supporting Families and communities to reintegrate out-of-school children, particularly girls, into school. These awareness-raising activities will be carried out through the celebration of key dates, including the day of the African Child, Teacher’s Day, the Sixteen Days of Activism and International Women’s Day, etc.
  • Cash-based assistance to families of children affected by crises to meet their children’s basic needs. Cash transfers will be designed based on terms the community accepts and do-no-harm approach to ensure that cash-based interventions do not create or deepen gender inequalities. In delivering cash transfers, grantees will prioritize female-deaded families; women’s associations will be involved in identifying and targeting beneficiaries.
  • Providing families with income-generating opportunities to build household resilience.
  • Providing children affected by emergencies with school meals to increase their attendance rate and ability to concentrate at school, thus reducing dropout rates. The school feeding program will be delivered in close collaboration with the “World Food Programme” to ensure food quality and best practices.
  • Supporting unregistered children (and their families) to acquire birth certificates to facilitate their reintegration into school. The birth certificate is essential for enrolling children in schools in Burundi. 
  • Setting up and strengthening protection mechanisms in schools. These mechanisms will include reporting and complaint mechanisms involving communal structures (Commune Education Directorates and family and community development centers).

Quality & learning

RET will work to improve the girls’ and boys’ learning results (including children with disabilities) and their active participation in the learning process within the school environment by:

  • Equipping and training teachers on topics that will enhance their technical and pedagogical skills, including during emergencies. The training will also be extended to educational support staff to facilitate their role in monitoring the training’s implementation. It will include pedagogical training and teaching methods customized for different groups, including children with disabilities and gender-sensitive support for girls.
  • Delivering tailored catch-up classes to children between 3 and 18 years (girls, boys, and children with disabilities) who have had their learning interrupted. 
  • Supporting school networks to improve their assessment practices to support the needs of children.
  • Equipping children, including children with disabilities, with adequate learning tools and life skills to support their resilience in emergencies.
  • Training of trainers, mainly the teachers on psychosocial support and life skills teaching. Using the reflect-connect-apply methodology, teachers will pass on these gained skills through recreational activities.
  • Training teachers to identify psychosocial, socio-emotional, and mental health needs and referring students to appropriate service providers where needed. This training will cover primary topics of child protection, gender-based violence, and mental and physical health. 
  • Training students on entrepreneurial skills, inspired by the UNICEF-supported project “Skills for Girls” and “Creatable.” In addition to giving girls negotiation skills, these activities will also improve their financial independence, an essential element in the empowerment of girls and women.

Access, Equity, and Gender Equality

RET will support the strengthening of the education system to prevent risks and respond to emergencies affecting girls, boys, and children with disabilities by:

  • Advocating for the effective integration of disaster risk reduction into school curricula.
  • Training teachers and other educational support staff to effectively implement disaster risk reduction at the school level.
  • Organizing frameworks on legal aspects that may form a barrier to accessing education and supporting advocacy actions to improve the legal framework and policies related to education.
  • Developing a mechanism for collecting and sharing information (not provided in the education management and information system) on education during emergencies, to inform decision-making. 
  • Strengthening the collaboration between school governance structures (school management committees, Commune Education Directorates, and provincial education directorates) and child protection structures (child protection committees at different levels, family and community development centers at different levels). This will allow for a multisectoral approach tailored to the needs of girls, boys, and children with disabilities to effectively mitigate risks and respond to emergencies.

Resource Mobilisation RET, in close collaboration with other stakeholders, will seek to increase financial resources for the expansion of quality, inclusive, safe, and equitable education services within the MYRP. The overall financial requirements of the program exceed the ECW seed funding amount by US$ 18 million. However, World Vision and UNICEF grantees will be primarily responsible for delivering the advocacy and resource mobilization strategy.

Improving the prospects for income generation and self-sufficiency of young people through vocational training and targeted capacity building in Burundi. (2022-2023)

The project builds on the previous two consecutive years’ implementation experiences in four communes located in two provinces of Burundi, Kanyosha, and Isare in Bujumbura Rural, and Mukaza and Ntahangwa in Bujumbura Mayoral. The project proposes to “Improve the prospects for income generation and self-sufficiency of young people through vocational training and targeted capacity building.” In this third year of implementation, two new localities were added: the locality of Kibuye in Bujumbura Rural and Nyakabiga in Bujumbura Mayoral.
The project targets 2,064 young people aged between 15 and 30 years, comprising both schooled and non-schooled beneficiaries, and indirectly targets 10.320 beneficiaries during the one-year project cycle.  In line with RET’s Gender Equality and Female Empowerment (GE/FE) approach, RET will work to reach a gender parity of 50% female.  The project will target four youth centers, 24 youth associations from previous years, four girls’ committees, and 12 new youth associations while involving 100 young Burundian returnees to create a “Multimedia Centre” in Makamba.

The project consolidates the achievements of the two prior years, 2020 & 2021, in 4 localities while scaling up activities in two new additional localities, including youth returnees in planning and running the vocational training center. Through these activities, the project goal is to empower vulnerable youths (15-30 years) through personal development, skills training, economic empowerment, and promotion of active participation in community development.

The project’s first pillar aims to consolidate the achievements of 2020 & 2021 activities in the current four localities to ensure sustainability:
Ensuring the sustainability of activities
Strengthening youth to access credits
Forum discussion
The second pillar of the project seeks to scale up activities implemented during the past two years in 4 communes. RET added two new localities while including activities for youth returnees in Makamba, including:

Building capacity for young people through Life Skills training for self-actualization.
Strengthening the organizational capacities of youth associations governing bodies.

RET will provide 100 youth with professional skills training and accredited certification through the continued operation of the vocational Training center in Kanyosha

Support the empowerment of refugees in five camps in Burundi.

RET is implementing a one-year project aimed at:
(1) empowering refugees in camps 
(2) granting university scholarships to refugees and returnees. The empowerment activities are implemented in five (5) refugee camps namely Musasa camp in Ngozi province, Kinama camp Muyinga province, Bwagiriza and Nyankanda camps in Ruyigi province and Kavumu camp in Cankuzo province. The university scholarships will be awarded to young refugees from the same camps, from urban areas (Makamba, Rumonge and Bujumbura) and to young Burundian returnees.

RET has developed this socio-economic empowerment program targeting refugees from the five camps with a multi-faceted vision and an approach that can reach both young people and other older people.  The proposed interventions target 1,660 direct beneficiaries from 5 refugee camps in Burundi who will benefit from increased employability through vocational training.  The project will support 65 students (49 refugees and 16 returnees) for the education component. Throughout the process of identifying beneficiaries, particular emphasis will be placed on women’s participation in promoting gender equality and the emancipation of women. To improve the socio-economic conditions of refugees through self-reliance and available means of subsistence, RET has developed a set of activities for each component.  The empowerment of refugees is axed on three main outputs, namely:

(1) training and support for small businesses
(2) Targeted vocational training, 
(3) Use of ICT. Organization of an entrepreneurship and skills development program

The objective is to motivate beneficiaries to consider entrepreneurship as one of their career options. The program will aim at building the capacities of existing IGAs and promoting new IGAs, with particular emphasis on production units.

Organization of professional training
Creating and strengthening production units
Strengthening the partnership with the public and private sector
Participation in events and festivals
Strengthening access to agriculture and livestock
Training in ICT 
Training in digital storytelling
Tertiary Education Opportunities

The Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI) Higher-education Scholarship Program (2022)

The Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI) is a project managed at the global level by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on behalf of the Government of Germany. It aims to provide higher education scholarships for refugees and returnees. 

The project has been implemented in Burundi since 2011. DAFI Program aims at strengthening refugees’ capacity by enabling them to become more self-reliant and actively contribute to the development of both refugee and host communities. The project aims to facilitate the professional integration of young graduates of the state examination, refugees, and returnees, through guaranteed access to quality higher education and a promising future for the community. It targets young refugees living in different camps in Burundi (Kinama, Musasa, Bwagiriza, Kavumu, and Nyankanda), in urban areas, and repatriated Burundians. The DAFI project will support 106 students in 2022, including 14 repatriated Burundians and 92 refugees from different camps and urban areas. These students are enrolled in five (5) private universities: Light University of Bujumbura (ULBu), University of Ngozi (UNG), University of Lake Tanganyika (ULT), University of the Great Lakes (UGL), and Polytechnic University of Gitega (UPG). 

RET will be facilitating:
Granting university scholarships
The grant awarded to students covers the living expenses (catering, accommodation, health care, and travel), equipment (school materials, clothing allowance), research costs, and internship allowances (for finalists) and is paid quarterly. Moreover, the scholarship covers all the tuition fees of the beneficiaries (school fees, administrative documents, etc.)
Academic follow-up for scholarship holders:
RET will carry out regular monitoring missions at different universities, and the missions are scheduled every two months. RET will also conduct regular meetings with scholarship holders. Moreover, RET will organize workshops to build students’ capacity and strengthen their skills for professional integration.
Extra-academic training: 
RET will organize training workshops to allow the personal development of scholarship holders (refugees) and prepare them for professional integration, including time management, communication techniques, Financial education, and development of self-esteem.
Women Power Program: 
RET will establish a learning program to enable girls/women beneficiaries of the DAFI program to become self-reliant women, and empower them to realize their potential. The program will extend six (6) months with one-on-one mentor meetings. Discussions will include personal development, leadership development and mentoring, Economic empowerment, reproductive health/HIV, use of social networks, etc.

RET will support the finalist scholarship holders by:
Organizing the coaching sessions for employability
RET will organize professional orientation and coaching sessions for program beneficiaries. These sessions will facilitate individual or group support and opportunities to meet expert professionals on various topics of interest for young people, including the monitoring of the implementation of personal development plans, information sharing, and support in the production of necessary documents required to apply for jobs. 
Giving technical and financial support to IGAs initiated by scholarship holders
By connecting them to microfinance institutions, RET will technically and financially support scholarship holders with income-generating activities. Creating IGAs by students is necessary to facilitate socio-economic empowerment, especially for students who complete their university studies, considering the difficulty of securing work. 

Reducing the Potential for Conflict in Two Regions of Burundi by Harnessing the Energies of Youth to Act for Peace and Social Cohesion

The goal of this project was to mitigate the potential for conflict in two regions of Burundi in the Province of Kirundo and the Province of Muyinga by building youth’s self-reliance and enhancing their employability profiles using a sustainable intervention for community stabilization as an alternative to violence and conflict, as well as providing vocational trainings complemented with literacy classes to vulnerable youth. The project offered quality and varied components to increase community interaction, and build bridges across traditional divides such as age, gender, political affiliation and ethnicity, to mitigate conflict through community led peace building activities designed and implemented by the youth. The project aimed to create a positive and lasting impact on attitude/action to resolve the cycles of poverty and violence.

This project, implemented between April 2017 and March 2018, was funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, S03 Division and implemented by RET in Burundi.

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