Cord has worked with local organisations in Burundi since 2014 providing communities with training in agricultural and livestock husbandry skills, allowing them to produce more for sale and to build up crucial savings. In the long-term, this helps communities to establish more sustainable livelihoods.

Reliance on agriculture for income increases the level of competition over access to land. By providing skills training in tailoring, masonry, and carpentry we create opportunities to diversify income generation, reducing this reliance.

We are also working to promote healing between the minority Batwa and the larger Tutsi and Hutu groups, supporting their reconciliation through the use of peace committees. These help primarily to address disputes over land access and usage, so important at a time of national insecurity and growing mistrust between communities.

Jean de Dieu Niyongabo, a 36 year old non-Batwa neighbour of a Batwa community in Bubanza province, has six children. For a number of years, his family and their community perceived their Batwa neighbours as petty criminals, leading to deteriorated relationships between the two groups.

In response to this widely held prejudice toward the Batwa, Cord has worked with partners and communities across Burundi to establish peace committees, whose mandate is to provide a collective and safe space for Batwa, Hutu and Tutsi representatives to talk.

These committees have presented opportunities to discuss and resolve disputes and have contributed toward a level of sustainable healing and reconciliation between ethnic groups that had previously come into conflict.

“Before, it was not possible to imagine sharing a drink or a meal with a Batwa. Today, things have changed. Thanks to the project’s support, we discuss together about our community challenges and how we can build on each other’s expertise. We also share moments of recreation. This approach has strengthened our cohabitation.”