Burundi is one of the poorest countries on the planet. With 8.1 million inhabitants in 2008, more than half the population is under 17 years old and life expectancy is only 51 years. More than a decade of wars has left the country in an extremely delicate situation, in which peace is a relative concept and insecurity persists.

Burundi depends to a large extent on international aid, which represents more than a third of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Oxfam’s work in Burundi

Oxfam has been working in Burundi since the 1990s. Our work was initially focused on humanitarian interventions, but it has been progressively shifted towards reconstruction and development.

Emergency Response

The 2015 pre-election tensions led to weeks of violent protests across the capital and rural districts of Burundi. Almost 144,000 Burundians fled to neighboring countries. Most of them went to Tanzania where refugees continue to arrive at a rate of nearly 200/300 each day according to UNHCR. The political situation previous to the Presidential elections (July 15th) is having a major impact on an economy that was already weak, and as a result people’s vulnerability has increased.

Since late May 2015 Oxfam has been responding to this crisis at Kabonga’s refugee camp in Burundi and at Nyarugusu and Kagunga camps in Tanzania. We are providing food, clean water and sanitation to refugees. We are also conducting hygiene promotion programs and have put in place mechanisms to prevent sexual and gender-based violence.

UNHCR and partners are prepared for the arrival of more refugees, but the 207 million USD regional response plan for protecting and assisting up to 200,000 Burundian refugees remains seriously underfunded at only 13 per cent of its total.

Sustainable Livelihoods 

Oxfam strives to boost agricultural production to reduce food insecurity by promoting the development of value chains, particularly among women and young people. We focus on women’s rights across all areas of production to empower them through transformational leadership so they can have access to land and have a voice in the implementation of rural and agricultural development policies.

Basic Essential Services

We work with rural communities to improve access to education facilities and to drinking water and sanitation systems.

Peace and Security

We focus on humanitarian response to crisis, prevention of and preparation for natural and human-made disasters and peace building to promote social cohesion and peaceful co-existence.

The right to be heard

We strive to strengthen citizen’s critical awareness towards human rights, peace, social justice and public accountability; by enabling the understanding of their rights and responsibilities as well as their participation.

Updated: 17 July 2015