SPARK in consortium with BBIN, in collaboration with ASB and WVI with the support of UNDP has launched a project to promote peace building through sustainable reintegration for peace in Burundi. A group of 640 persons comprising of returnees, IDPs, vulnerable youth and women community members were identified in Makamba and Kirundo. Through cash for work projects, business incubation and leadership programs, these women and youth will be assisted to develop SMEs and action groups to contribute to the development of their respective communities.
CASH FOR WORK
UNDP and its implementation partners guided by local authorities and community members conduct a community needs assessment with the aim of identifying priority infrastructure for rehabilitation, construction or maintenance.
The identified infrastructures provide a variety of livelihood activities that empower youth and women with temporary employment opportunities, thereby preventing protection risks. For 3 months, all selected women and youth participate in cash for work projects aimed to rehabilitate, constructed and/or maintain the selected infrastructures. Each participant earns 2 dollars a day and 1 dollar is automatically saved on their behalf upon successful completion of their daily tasks. At the end of the cash for work projects, participants form groups of maximum 10 individuals (based on compatibility and business ideas) in their community. The following groups then begin to reflect on joint business ventures and community development projects.
BUSINESS INCUBATION AND LEADERSHIP
Following the formation of women and youth groups, each community selects representatives to join the leadership academy. This is a 6 months business incubation and leadership program through which 2 participants per group are trained to later train their peers and collectively elaborate bankable business plans and action groups to contribute to the peace building, social cohesion and the development of their community. Prior to the end of the program, these MSMEs and action groups are registered. Thereafter they receive additional funding and coaching from BBIN SPARK to ensure that they are able to overcome early start up and community development challenges.
COACHING MEETINGS, TEAM BUILDING AND NETWORKING EVENTS
On the course of the business incubation and leadership programme, the consortium BBIN SPARK also organises coaching meetings, networking and team building events for the youth. This is intended to assist them in the creating networks and partnerships with key stakeholders in their sectors.
On the 31st October 2017, it was reported that approximately 411,367 refugees fled Burundi as a result of the 2015 socio political crisis. According to statistics gathered from UNHCR and government reports from neighboring countries that provided temporary shelter for Burundians in exile, 60% refugees (242,463) were hosted in Tanzania, 21.5% (88,520) in Rwanda and 10% (40,474) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It is estimated by IOM that in addition to the returnees 188,000 people were internally displaced. These internally displaced persons (IDPs) are currently being hosted in 18 provinces around Burundi. Among these 34% were displaced directly due to the political crisis and 66% due to natural disasters.
The number of returnees identified by UNHCR in June 2017 through protection and verification programmes conducted in collaboration with local authorities is about 57,400 people among whom 7,800 were identified as refugees who were still in exile as of the 31 st January 2017. According to these reports, due to harsh living conditions in countries of exile some of the returnees identified returned to Burundi with reservations on a temporary basis to explore the situation before making a final decision to either stay or return in foreign lands.
More updated figures in 2018 indicate that 60,000 Burundian refugees have returned to Burundi on a voluntary basis and 30,000 of them have returned in an organized manner supported by the government and humanitarian organisations.
4 zones of interventions have been identified in for this project based on the number of returnees, IDPs and vulnerability levels of concerned populations, the following include:
Zone of intervention Number of returnees Number of IDPs
Ruyigi 16,817 5,779
Muyinga 17,592 8,063
Kirundo 11,676 3,536
Makamba 8,015 14,060
Following a vulnerability assessment, Ruyigi and Kirundo were ranked as the provinces with the highest number of vulnerable people groups while statistics gathered in Muyinga and Makamba indicated an overall medium level of vulnerability.
In order to facilitate sustainable reintegration and an improved capacity of vulnerable people groups, households and communities, these populations will be supported by UNDP and its partners through the creation of various income generating activities to reinforce their resilience and ability to cater to their wellbeing.
The project will have a focus on agriculture and entrepreneurship based on sustainable approaches, these mainly revolving around the revitalization of food production, trade fairs and the creation of MSMEs with the aim of strengthening social cohesion and peace building.