In Burundi, we currently support some 103,800 children and young people in 3 projects. We have worked in this East African country since 2007. Our projects are distributed throughout the country and are run by local partners.


Helping people help themselves

Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world. The population is still reeling from the devastating impact of an ethnic-based civil war that raged for years. This shattered country is marked by insufficient employment opportunities, food scarcity, and hardly any cultivable land. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable.

Mothers play a key role in their family's well-being. When mothers get access to information and training, this improves the entire family’s situation. We work together with our partners to launch women self-help groups. Women organise themselves, solve problems together, save money, and fight their way out of poverty. The women take in children from the street and integrate them into village communities. Our partners motivate children to establish their own groups and educate them about their rights.

The challenges

Two thoughtful boys leaning on each other. (Source: Karl Pfahler)
For thousands of children in Burundi life is a fight for survival.

Burundi ranks among the world's poorest countries. The aftermath of the civil war between the Hutus and the Tutsis (1993 to 2002), domestic political tensions, and corruption are impeding the country's development. More than two-thirds of the population has to eke out a living on less than $1.25 a day. Many people suffer from hunger, AIDS, and poverty-related diseases.

Burundi has to import many foodstuffs, fuel, and building materials. Export is limited to coffee and tea. For years, the country has posted an enormous trade deficit. Foreign aid finances more than half of the national budget. In 2009, foreign creditors granted Burundi more than $1 billion in debt relief.

Roughly half a million girls and boys have to work to support themselves or their families. Thousands live on the streets. Traumatised child soldiers find it virtually impossible to return to a normal life. Many children die as a result of diarrhoea, malaria and/or malnourishment. Approximately 15,000 girls and boys under the age of 15 are HIV-positive, and 120,000 have become AIDS orphans.

  • Our work in the country

    In Burundi, there are thousands – often single – mothers who do not know how they will be able to support their children. Our self-help-group concept is a unique opportunity to change their situation. Thanks to short-term intensive training courses – for example on how to establish a small businesses – and by collectively saving money and granting loans, they manage to lift themselves out of poverty. Their children receive regular meals and clothing and are able to attend school.

    Kindernothilfe believes that it is extremely important that mothers understand their children’s rights. This has an impact on how they treat their children. Additionally, mothers may recognise and report cases of child abuse and violence in their surroundings.

    The streets of large cities are home to thousands of children who have experienced violence: former child soldiers, child labourers, and children who have run away from home. We intend to reintegrate them into their village communities, their city districts and, whenever possible, their families. The women in the self-help groups help us to achieve these objectives.

    Because education and training are a major factor in the struggle to break out of the vicious cycle of poverty, we help pave the way for children to attend school or receive vocational training.

  • Key figures on Burundi

    10.4 million people live in Burundi

    46 % of all Burundians are under the age of 15

    81 % of the population lives below the poverty line*

    29 % of all children under the age of 5 are underweight

    11 % of all boys and girls attend a secondary school*

    Sources: World Factbook, *United Nations

Who we are

Who we are

Kindernothilfe is a Non-Governmental Organisation founded in Germany in 1959. We partner with local non-governmental organisations in 33 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe to realize and protect children's rights.

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Helping people to help themselves

Helping people to help themselves

We consistently work according to the principle of helping people to help themselves. We are convinced that even the supposedly weakest members of society have the potential to pull themselves up and live a life of dignity.

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An overview of our projects and countries

An overview of our projects and countries

We are currently supporting almost 1.9 million children in 33 countries. Click here to read selected project descriptions.

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