Burundi has an urgent need for development. It is one of the hungriest countries in the world; 58% of children under five are stunted due to malnutrition and 1 in 10 children die before their fifth birthday. This is mainly due to poor weather, low investment and plant disease.
Yet Burundi’s problems are also rooted in history: its agriculture was devastated by the 1993 – 2005 war – the culmination of decades of inter-ethnic conflict. Today, climate change, crop disease and the over exploitation of soil have only added to its difficulties.
Some 90% of people depend on agriculture for a living but 67% of people are malnourished. 78% of the population live on less than $1.90 a day and the 2016 UN Human Development Index ranks Burundi as one of the least developed countries in the world - 184th of 188 countries.
Ripple Effect began working in Burundi in 2013. As such, Burundi is a relatively new challenge for Ripple Effect and one of our smallest country programmes and one we hope to grow.
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The challenges and opportunities for Ripple Effect Burundi
1. 65% of our population are under 25
Our population is very young. There are limited employment opportunities for young people in Burundi which can lead to low self-esteem.
Ripple Effect Burundi works to support young people in financial literacy and developing savings and loans schemes. Our young people have an entrepreneurial mindset and when equipped with skills and knowledge come up with innovative ways to diversify their incomes from their families’ farms.
2. 90% of Burundians rely upon subsistence farming
Like other countries in the Great Lakes region, Burundi is subject to severe environmental constraints (global heating, deforestation and soil degradation). Our agricultural sector suffers from low productivity, serious structural problems, and is highly vulnerable to changes in rainfall and climate.
Climate-resilient agriculture is not widely practised in Burundi and current extension services lack capacity and skills which leads to food insecurity. Ripple Effect Burundi is working to change this by introducing farmers to drought-resilient seeds and planting indigenous tree species on community land.
3. Gender inequality is a significant issue
Women do not have the same rights as men in our country. They cannot legally inherit land. In the organisation of households they are responsible for collecting firewood and water, for cooking, cleaning and childcare as well as most agricultural work. Despite this heavy workload, men continue to control household resources and decision-making.
The impact of Ripple Effect Burundi
76% of families are now food secure after phase one of our Gender and Nutrition Centred Agriculture project
50% more women are now making decisions in the home after our project in Mwaro and Bujumbura Rural
62% of households now carry out more than four income-generating activities
Where we are working
Gender and Nutrition Centred Agriculture (GANCA)
Mwaro province has a high population density (330 people per km2) and most people rely on the land for their livelihoods. The majority of farmers have limited knowledge of agricultural techniques and are unable to sell surplus crops. Gender inequality is extreme in Mwaro; unemployment within men is high, whilst women undertake the majority of tasks within the household and on the farm.
With a focus on gender relations, this project engages both male and female farmers within the household, aiming to improve family relations and equality of workloads. We aim to improve the availability of nutritious food through training in increased and diversified agricultural production and improved food storage and conservation. Families will also be trained in WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) skills.
Food and Income Security for Communities affected by Climate Change
Mwaro Province is a hilly region vulnerable to erosion. Climate change has already had a direct impact on productivity and livelihoods. Flooding damages crops, soil and infrastructure - increasing the spread of pests and diseases.
Our integrated approach of Farm Systems, Enterprise Development and Gender and Social Inclusion training, will equip communities with the skills needed to grow nutritious food all year round and develop their resilience to financial or climatic shock. Communities will establish successful agribusinesses, whilst ensuring equitable access to resources and rejuvenating the land for generations to come
How our work supports Burundi’s national targets
The Burundi government’s National Development Plan (2018-2027) includes a focus on:
Developing growth-promoting sectors for the structural transformation of the economy
Ripple Effect Burundi is prioritising financial security to see more households lifted out of poverty and earning more than the international poverty line of US$1.90 per person, per day. We are supporting farmers in creating or joining cooperatives that promote value addition.
Ensuring sustainable management of the environment, mitigating climate change and improving land use planning
Ripple Effect Burundi is building the capacities of farmers, peer farmers, their communities and local authorities to become sustainably resilient to the consequences of climate change and effectively engaged in restoring ecosystems.
- We are prioritising nutrition security, to ensure that families have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food all year round.
- We are deepening our impact in Bujumbura Rural and Mwaro, and expanding to new communes.
Our work in Burundi has established strong, relationships with government bodies, partners and the wider community. Government extension workers (especially commune-level agronomist and veterinary technicians) are closely working in collaboration with our project facilitators in training and monitoring an Agroecological Climate Positive Approach to farmers.
Ripple Effect Burundi is also working closely with well-established local community structures such as Mamans Lumières and Community Health workers that help disseminate approaches beyond our direct project participants.
Racine de l’Espoir | Project: Youth Enterprise & Agri-business Stimulation project 2019 to 2021
Ripple Effect has been working in partnership with a local community based organisation Racine de l’Espoir (Roots of Hope) which specialises in working with young people. This partnership has helped to implement training and networking for young people to address the challenges faced in securing employment. Currently, we are also partnering for our GANCA II project.
Talk to us
Gloria NimpunduCountry Director
Please speak to me about opportunities for collaboration on programme delivery and partnership, and any media queries.
Vicomte NkundeProgramme Development & Funding Manager
Please speak to me about programme delivery and partnership opportunities.