In Burundi Cordaid launched a UNPBF project named ‘Youth leading the way for gender equity in an inclusive society in Burundi’. The launch, on June 28, took place in close collaboration with the Burundian Ministry of Youth, and in partnership with implementing partners YELI (Youth Empowerment and Leadership Initiative) and REJA (Network of Youth Organizations for Peace and Reconciliation).
(Young Burundians participating in the UNPBF project.)
Launching ceremonies took place on June 28th. They were conducted by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Youth, who represented the Minister, the PBF program coordinator, local authorities of the various provinces and municipalities in which the project will work and other stakeholders.
Daily peace and security
This project is being implemented in six provinces out of the eighteen provinces of Burundi (Bujumbura, Cankuzo, Cibitoke, Makamba, Mwaro and Bujumbura town hall). It has been funded by the UN Peace Building Fund for a period of 18 months, with a budget of USD 600.000. The main goal of the project is to bring young leaders to work together as allies and thus contribute to peace building and security in their communities with a special attention to daily peace and security of young girls and women.
Youth leaders, women and men, will increase their skills and knowledge to advocate and influence decision-makers on peace and security issues that require sustainable solutions within their communities.
2/3 of Burundians younger than 25
In his launching speech, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Youth indicated that the Government has a great concern for young people, given that 66% of the Burundian population is under 25. With this in mind, the Government of Burundi has set up a national youth policy and is in the process of putting in place a Bank for youth. He took the opportunity to call all young people to work together and come up with competitive and innovative initiatives both for peace building and self-development.
Burundi is a small African nation with a high population density and one of the poorest countries in the world. In his recent past, Burundi has known cyclic ethnic violence despite regional and international initiatives to restore peace end security. The Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, otherwise known as the Arusha Accords, was signed in August 2000 after protracted negotiations facilitated by late and former Presidents Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Nelson Mandela of South Africa. It ended years of civil war and cycles of massacres, dating back to Burundi’s independence in 1960. Critical voices accused these negotiations of being politicised and too isolated from communities. They advocate for more inclusive and community-based initiatives. This project is one of them.