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Case Study: Burundi | Sustainable Livelihoods

Years of conflict due to political and ethnic rivalry have contributed greatly to Burundi’s lack of economic and social development the past two decades. High population growth and limited agricultural lands on top of inadequate basic health and education services contribute to the cycle of poverty that many Burundians experience.

In partnership with the Anglican Church of Burundi, Episcopal Relief & Development supports multi-sector development programs throughout Burundi. Our programs concentrate on helping communities to address their primary challenges. We work with communities to improve food security and adapt to environmental challenges. The program also focuses on improving prevention and health-seeking behaviors related to HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence (GBV), sexual and reproductive health and malaria.

The Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi's Sustainable Livelihoods Program uses an integrated approach to help meet the different needs of vulnerable groups in all seven of its dioceses. The Province supports sustainable solutions to food insecurity, with activities ranging from increasing access to fruit and vegetable seeds to providing training on agricultural techniques and crop disease control to over 30,000 farmers. In order to help farmers adapt to changes in the climate, which has resulted in erratic rains and droughts in many areas of the country, the program is initiating large-scale community efforts to dig trenches and plant vegetation in order to prevent erosion on Burundi’s steep, hilly terrain. Additional efforts in 2015 will include working with women to create home vegetable gardens, part of an overall effort to improve and diversify family nutrition, as well as rehabilitating and installing clean water sources and latrines in a number of communities.

HIV/AIDS prevention activities are centered around mother-to-child transmission prevention through voluntary counseling and testing (VCT), as well as youth awareness and mobilization through school health clubs. The training of faith leaders on HIV/AIDS prevention and ways of supporting people living with HIV/AIDS is a key strength of the program.  The program used the same participatory learning and community engagement strategies for its Ebola prevention and response efforts as well.

The gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and response interventions focus on equipping faith and lay leaders with the information, skills and networking opportunities needed to support survivors of violence, such as trauma counseling, pre- and post-marriage counseling and referral linkages. These leaders also participate in intensive workshops on the root causes of GBV and the ways they can help transform the cultural and social constructs that lead to destructive attitudes and behaviors related to gender and sexuality.

The Church of Burundi participates in NetsforLife®, our program partnership to fight malaria. The program trains volunteers to distribute long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets and educate communities on their proper use to help prevent the disease. For more information about this partnership, please visit our NetsforLife® page.

Promoting Health and Fighting Disease

  • Preventing malaria through the NetsforLife® program partnership
  • Promoting awareness and fighting discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS through youth clubs and adult education
  • Providing access to clean water by setting up rainwater harvest projects in schools, parishes and rural communities
  • Preventing and responding to gender-based violence through building capacity to support survivors and address the root causes of violence

Alleviating Hunger and Improving Food Supply

  • Offering training in advanced farming methods to help communities improve the quality of their crops (watch the video from the Anglican Church of Burundi)
  • Establishing a networking group to enable farmers to diversify sources of income, strengthen the food supply and increase animal production

Burundi Stories

Where is the Water Coming From?Better than Food AidAcademic Partnership Equips Communities for a Brighter Future

Fast Facts

An estimated 200,000 Burundian children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

Burundi’s economy is dependent on coffee and tea exports.

The United Nations Human Development Index ranked Burundi 174th out of 177 countries in the world because of its economic struggles.


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