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 that support agriculture and improve community health with particular emphasis on reducing HIV/AIDS and ending gender-based violence (GBV).
To increase food supply while protecting the environment, communities in Burundi are improving their land by planting trees and digging contour trenches to reduce erosion and conserve water. Farmers are learning climate-smart crop management techniques and contributing to seed nurseries. At the household level, families are planting kitchen gardens to increase availability and diversity of nutritious food. In 2014, Episcopal Relief & Development and the Church of Burundi launched a partnership with Cornell University to expand the kitchen garden program and provide field study opportunities for students.
The Church of Burundi has had a strong presence in national-level advocacy forums on GBV, HIV/AIDS and other social and health development issues, and its community-based programs address these issues at the local level. HIV/AIDS prevention activities focus on mother-to-child transmission, with faith and youth leaders working to raise awareness and reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with the disease (similar strategies were used during the Ebola epidemic). GBV prevention and response efforts equip faith and lay leaders to support survivors of violence and change destructive attitudes and behaviors related to gender and sexuality.