This Dialogue and Exchange Program (DEP) facilitated a study tour for members of the Burundi parliament to South Africa, where they exchanged ideas and learned from experts—former commissioners and victims—in transitional justice from South Africa, Togo, Sierra Leone, and Ghana through live and virtual encounters to have a better understanding of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission process.
Damienne Ndoricimpa (right) got a loan from an association of her neighbors, which helped her start a small business.
Recovering from years of ethnic and violent conflict is a long and complicated process that requires healing from the trauma of war, rebuilding a cohesive community life, and stimulating an economy so that people can make a living and get what they need to build resilience.
With half a million refugees affected by war returning to Burundi in the course of a decade, the government and United Nations have prioritized the need to reintegrate people, both socially and economically.
Associate General Secretary for International Programs Kerri Kennedy reports on her recent trip to Burundi.
Burundi is celebrating its independence day this week, marking the day the country achieved independence from Belgium in 1962. In honor of this holiday, I thought I would take some time to reflect on my recent visit to the country. I had the opportunity to visit the Burundi programs during a quick trip that I took in June.
Drawing from experiences in Burundi and Maine, Lucy Duncan shows how telling stories of violence and trauma in a context in which those stories will be believed, listened to, and deeply held by the community can lay the foundation for healing and for reconciliation between perpetrators and victims—and pave the way to ending harmful practices and conflicts.
David Niyonzima on the role his faith plays in his work
Listen to David Niyonzima, founder and director of the Trauma Healing and Reconconiliation Services (THARS) in Burundi, on how his faith influences his peace work. David leads workshops on trauma healing and providing community spaces for peaceful dialogue and reconciliation.
This audio is an excerpt from a longer interview with David Niyonzima, conducted by Friends Liaison Lucy Duncan and Friends Relations Fellow, Madeline Schaefer. As well as being the director of THARS, David is also a Quaker pastor and member of Burundi Yearly Meeting.
David Niyonzima on the traditional role of elders as peacemakers
Listen to David Niyonzima, founder and director of the Trauma Healing and Reconconiliation Services (THARS) in Burundi, on the traditional role of elders as community peacemakers. David's work involves leading workshops on trauma healing and providing community spaces for peaceful dialogue and reconciliation.
Peacebuilding policy and practice continues to evolve at the UN, and while support for national ownership and building local capacity are frequently highlighted, UN peacebuilding often takes a top down, rather than a bottom up, approach. QUNO continued to engage with the UN work in Burundi, contributing to discussions on peacebuilding and transitional justice. We worked with Chinese academics to explore the UN’s approach to peacebuilding and peacekeeping, including jointly hosting delegation visits to the African Great Lakes region and to New York.
Dependence on the land has long been a source of conflict in Burundi. Its soil can’t keep up with the rate of population growth—among the highest in sub-Saharan Africa—and the courts are crowded with cases of conflicting claims to property.
At the root of the problem is the fact that many Burundians’ livelihoods are tied to agriculture while the land is increasingly infertile, says Triphonie Habonimana, AFSC program officer. Food shortages, combined with high unemployment rates, spur conflict.
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in Burundi organized a regional conference on good practices for promoting income-generating activities (IGAs) as part of socioeconomic reintegration. The conference was organized within the framework of AFSC’s dialogue and exchange program, which brings together key groups to discuss peace issues and shares the resulting recommendations within Burundi and internationally.
AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more
Where we work
AFSC has offices around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.