Burundi

Situation Report

Highlights

  • Over 75,000 Burundian refugees returned through the voluntary repatriation process since September 2017
  • Efforts to combat cholera in Burundi continue
  • FAO’s sustainable food production project shows significant success
  • UNFPA Burundi contributes to efforts to prevent and respond to Gender-Based Violence
  • UNICEF and World Bank join forces on education
UNICEF and the World Bank join forces to provide school kits to more than one million students in 2019
In 2019, UNICEF and the World Bank are joining forces to provide school kits to more than one million students this year and classroom kits to all teachers in the first and second years of primary school in Burundi. Photo Credit: UNICEF Burundi 2019/Barikumutima

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Burundi

Situation Report

Key Figures

1.77M
People in need (2019)
710K
People targeted (2019)
106.2K
People displaced (2019)
1.7M
Food insecure people

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Burundi

Situation Report

Funding

$106.3M
Required
$42.7M
Received
40%
Progress
FTS

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Contacts

Jutta Hinkkanen

Head of Office

Lauriane Wolfe

Public Information Officer

Burundi

Situation Report
Background
Burundians repatriated from Tanzania by IOM/UNHCR 2018.
Photo Credit: OCHA 2018/ Christian Cricboom

Over 75,000 Burundian refugees returned through the voluntary repatriation process since September 2017

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and its partners* have supported over 75,000 refugees return voluntarily to Burundi since September 2017. These returns were formalized by the tripartite meeting of Tanzania, Burundi and UNHCR in February 1998.

From September 2017 to the end of August 2019, over 75,000 Burundian refugees were repatriated, mainly from Tanzania, of whom 74,627 returnees received an initial return package consisting of a financial allocation, basic non-food supplies, and food for each household. According to the protection monitoring conducted in areas of return, returnees often require a wide range of assistance, including access to education, health care, food supplies and water provision.

In February 2019, the convoys reached their peak, with 3,478 refugee returns. From September 2017 to September 2019, there has been an average monthly return rate of around 3,300 refugees, although this has continuously decreased since January 2019.

Over half of returnees are women and children (who constitute 57 per cent of repatriates) and two out of three households are headed by women who are either single or at-risk.

In addition, 1,059 of returnee children are unaccompanied or separated from their families. Under the Tripartite agreement and prior to repatriation, research is being conducted to trace families and reunite these children with their biological families (led by the International Commission for the Red Cross). Over 85 per cent of school-age children were able to return to school, however 73 per cent of children under 12 do not have birth certificates and therefore do not have access to education.

In August 2019, the Governments of Tanzania and Burundi signed a bilateral agreement to repatriate all Burundian refugees from Tanzania, with the aim of dispatching convoys of 2,000 returnees per week as of 1 October 2019, with or without UNHCR's participation. According to UNHCR data, over 343,000 Burundians are still in neighbouring countries, including over 180,000 in Tanzania.

The humanitarian community is committed to supporting the Government of Burundi in its efforts to ensure a dignified, safe and voluntary return. The returnees also require support beyond the scope of humanitarian assistance to ensure their reintegration into their communities.

On 22 August 2019, UNHCR and the United Nations Development Programme presented the Joint Refugee Return and Reintegration Plan to representatives of the Government of Burundi, chiefs of UN agencies and partners involved in the plan implementation. The required budget to support the repatriation and reintegration activities amounts to US$ 77,863,883.

* The voluntary repatriation process is being facilitated by the UNHCR and its partners - the governments of Tanzania and Burundi, the World Food Programme, the International Organization for Migration, the International Rescue Committee, Caritas Burundi, Gruppo di Volontariato Civile, the Tanzania and Burundi Red Cross Societies, the Danish Refugee Council, the Norwegian Refugee Council, HelpAge, and Plan International.

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Burundi

Situation Report
Coordination
Photo Credit: MSF 2018/ Marta Soszynska
Photo Credit: MSF 2018/ Marta Soszynska

Efforts to Combat Cholera in Burundi Continue

According to World Health Organization (WHO), 795 cholera cases including 6 deaths (of which 5 were located in Bujumbura city) were registered from 1 June to 4 October 2019 in the health districts of Cibitoke, Rugombo, Isare, Bubanza, Bujumbura Centre, Bujumbura North and Bujumbura South.

Since the declaration of the cholera epidemic in these areas on 5 June 2019 by the Ministry of Public Health and the Fight Against AIDS (MoH), new cases of the disease have been registered in Bujumbura Mairie, Rumonge, Mwaro and Bubanza provinces, mainly due to insufficient drinking water and inadequate hygiene practices in households.

Men represent 55 per cent (162) of cases admitted to Prince Regent Charles hospital in Bujumbura province and 55 per cent (52) in Rugombo Cholera Treatment Centre (CTC) in Cibitoke province. Women account for 67 per cent (28) of cases admitted to the Ndava CTC in Mwaro province.

With the heavy rains starting in October 2019, there is a risk of flooding in the coastal areas of lake Tanganyika, which can cause latrines, septic tanks and sewers to overflow. In addition, the health district of Rumonge and some outlying districts of Bujumbura Mairie are experiencing problems of insufficient drinking water – which forces people to use and share untreated lake water.

Following this epidemic, Regideso, a public company in charge of supplying drinking water in Burundi, has allowed the inhabitants of the affected districts to access water free of charge from public standpipes. The districts concerned include Buterere, Kinama, Kamenge, Kanyosha rural and Mugoboka.

WHO proposed a cholera vaccine to the MoH in September 2019 which accepted to launch it as soon as possible. A rapid investigation will be carried out to determine the quantities of vaccine needed and the areas to be targeted. A cholera campaign will be conducted before the end of 2019 to encourage affected populations to get vaccinated. In the meantime, Ebola Virus Disease kits containing sprayers that can be used to protect households from cholera have already been distributed to the affected districts by WHO. An estimated $350,000-400,000 will be required by the affected health districts to address this epidemic.

Under WHO’s leadership and in collaboration with the MoH, UNICEF, and MSF, health sector partners mobilized and provided substantial assistance, including technical support to affected communities. WHO is committed to supporting surveillance, training, supervision and quality care services. MSF is supervising four CTCs operating in the most affected areas: Bujumbura Mairie, Bubanza, Mwaro and Rumonge provinces. MSF is also building a new CTC with a capacity of 50 to 100 beds at the Kamenge Neuropsychiatric Centre in Bujumbura. The new structure is expected to open in early October 2019.

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Burundi

Situation Report
Feature
CEP members showing harvest results on beans
Photo Credit: FAO Burundi 2019/ Barnabé Ndayikeza

FAO’s Sustainable Food Production Project Shows Significant Success

After one year of implementation, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) project 'Support for sustainable food production and enhancement of food security and climate resilience in Burundi's highlands' in Mwaro, Muramvya and Gitega provinces is making great progress. The beneficiaries, principally members of the Farmer Field Schools (FFSs), have seen their agricultural production become more profitable, thanks to FAO’s support.

The project’s success is based on ‘action research’; an approach combining research and concrete action with a view to achieving transformative change.

FAO has supported the establishment of the FFSs, so-called 'schools without walls', where students learn by conducting research and practicing in their own fields. To date, there are 200 FFSs in 4 provinces, each containing 30 members. To be eligible for membership, candidates must come from an approved farming organization and have proof of vulnerability. Each FFS is also required to have a 50 per cent gender ratio. Thanks to the use of tools supplied by the FAO, such as chemical fertilizers, agricultural tools and seeds, project beneficiaries found that combining different types of manure is more cost-effective than using only one type, and that some crop varieties were more productive than others.

The training provided by FAO has allowed FFSs’ members to swap their old farming habits for modern cultivation techniques. As a result, yields have significantly increased, and the amount of seed sown has reduced. "In the old days, when I sowed, the seed wasn't enough. I was even going to ask my neighbors for some. Now, I use few seeds but harvest a lot" said Philomène Bandyambona, member of the FFS Gurumwete of Gitega province.

Students have also learned how to install composters and use them at home. “Before, I didn't know that a composter was important. We didn't have any at home as a family. With the arrival of the FFSs, we now have them," said Godeliève Nizigiyimana, president of FFS Terimbereburundi of Mwaro province. She noted that each member has at least two composters.

Throughout the learning, FFSs use group dynamics, particularly through song, prayer, exercise, and theatre games, to boost team spirit and strengthen members’ participation in learning sessions.

Making crops profitable and promoting household nutrition through vegetable consumption

Many FFSs have succeeded in making their production profitable by adopting effective conservation methods that better protect their crops. FFS Duterimbere of Bubanza province stored 4 tonnes of potato seeds this season, some of which it intends to sell to grow maize on at least two hectares next season.

Most members have set up kitchen gardens in their homes to grow vegetables throughout the year. "We will no longer buy vegetables at the market. The FAO has given us seeds and we produce them ourselves. We only buy oil, salt and flour for the dough," says Concilie Ndikiminwe of FFS Girumwete of Gitega province. "You see, we are healthy because we regularly eat vegetables," adds Philomène Bandyambona of FFS Girumwete. Neighbours are so interested in planting vegetables that they try to replicate the kitchen garden approach.

The FAO welcomes the Government of Burundi’s commitment to the project and calls on the beneficiaries to continue to take ownership of it. "We would like these achievements not to be attributed to the FAO, but to you, the beneficiaries. A very active FFS facilitates the work of the Government by acting as a bridge for development" says Donatien Karumbete, an expert in charge of monitoring and supervising the FFSs within this FAO-supported project.

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Burundi

Situation Report
Feature
Displaced women receiving UNFPA assistance in Kirundo province
Photo Credit: UNFPA 2019

UNFPA Burundi contributes to Efforts to prevent and respond to Gender-Based Violence

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), with support from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), distributed 2,772 dignity kits to vulnerable women and girls of reproductive age last August 2019. This included 1,700 women and girls repatriated from Tanzania. UNFPA has strengthened referrals and access to quality medical care for survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) by pre-supplying post-rape kits in three health facilities (a public hospital in Makamba and two specialized centres, including Seruka and Humura) to prevent HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancy and hepatitis B incurred after an incident of rape.

19 health providers and 39 community health workers were trained in clinical management of rape cases using post-rape kits. 80 GBV survivors identified as the most vulnerable benefited from economic reintegration kits, consisting of a thermos, sugar and cooking utensils.

UNFPA, thanks to CERF funding, has enabled health workers to better manage cases and enhanced access to timely, better quality care services for GBV survivors.

GBV, including sexual violence, remains a problem in Burundi, particularly among refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). According to the security assessment conducted in August 2019, water and firewood collection are activities that put women and girls at most risk of GBV in 80 per cent of the hills assessed. Moreover, in 40 per cent of the hills assessed, key informants indicated that women and girls were most at risk of GBV when working in the fields, and in 30 per cent of the hills assessed, key informants indicated that women and girls are at greatest risk when at home. 68 per cent of respondents indicated that there were no locks on their home doors, which also poses significant GBV-related risks. Lastly, availability of menstrual hygiene materials remains limited. Access to income-generating activities also remains a major challenge for at least half of IDP households, thereby increasing the risk of GBV due to adoption of negative coping mechanisms.

Despite the low funding for GBV activities, significant efforts are being made by humanitarian actors and national services to address the protection issues faced by women and girls. Psychosocial support and referrals to appropriate services are available for GBV survivors but remain insufficient and several provinces still do not have the required services. Only 6 out of 18 provinces in the country have integrated care centres (providing legal, psychosocial, medical and socio-economic services).

Additional funds as well as improved coordination and communication are required to address the scale of GBV protection problems in Burundi.

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Burundi

Situation Report
Coordination
Photo Credit: UNICEF Burundi 2019/ Barikumutima
Photo Credit: UNICEF Burundi 2019/ Barikumutima

UNICEF and World Bank Join Forces on Education in Burundi

UNICEF and the World Bank have joined forces to provide school kits to over one million students in 2019 including classroom kits to all teachers in the first and second years of primary schools in Burundi. The school kits, which include posters, scissors, rubbers, pens, crayons, counting frames, notebooks, compasses, rulers, radios, and more, were distributed during the first week of the school year. The beneficiary schools are located in six priority provinces; Cankuzo, Kirundo, Makamba, Muyinga, Rumonge et Ruyigi. These are the main areas of refugee return where many children are in need of humanitarian assistance

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