The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in Burundi was initiated to prevent and mitigate conflict and reach sustainable peace after several decades of civil war. But one of the conditions for the success of this commission is ownership by the people of Burundi.
ACORD in Burundi supports the TRC by translating national peace accords negotiated by the top leadership into reality at the community level. Through a community social peace & recovery approach communities are gradually encouraged to create, sign and respect their own social contract. This grassroots approach builds on, improves and strengthens community conflict resolution mechanisms. It helps to bring conflicting communities together to negotiate their peaceful co-existence through facilitated dialogue.
Areas of focus
ACORD has been present in Burundi since 1994 contributing to the improvement of livelihoods of internally displaced people and returnees, fighting against their marginalization and exclusion. Until 2005, the programme focused on creating a favourable environment for communities previously estranged to come closer to each other and find common grounds. Through its current strategic plan "consolidating social peace", ACORD extends the conflict resolution and peace-building activities bringing in components of participation, food sovereignty as well as creating space for women's leadership.
>> Peace building: ACORD is targeting government officials through capacity building on conflict resolution. This is aimed at equipping them with effective dialogue skills as a model for democratic governance.
>> Food sovereignty: Capacity building and organisation of locally-owned associations, regrouping more than 3,000 small-scale agricultural producers is at the centre of ACORD's focus in Burundi. Beneficiaries of livelihood initiatives also include victims of sexual and gender-based violence and former sex workers.
>> Women`s rights: in a joint program with Oxfam International, ACORD Burundi is implementing a nationwide campaign to end violence against women. ACORD is organising trainings throughout the country to sensitise community and national leaders on gender issues. ACORD has recently completed 'judicial audits' on sexual and gender-based violence in five countries in the Great Lakes region of Africa, including Burundi, Congo DR, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
>> HIV/AIDS: ACORD addresses HIV and AIDS through building skills and competence of people living with HIV/AIDS, developing capacity and creating partnerships that influence reflection, policies and practices that contribute to the fight against the spread of HIV.
Where we work in Burundi
ACORD's programmes on conflict resolution, peace building and local governance are being implemented in Cibitoke, Gitega, Karusi, Kayanza and Makamba provinces. Food sovereignty projects have also involved communities from Gateza in Bururi Province, Nyamabuye in Ruyigi Province, and Gatumba located in Bujumbura Rural Province.
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Communities in Burundi tell their stories
Leoncie is a 40-year old widow who lives in Kayanza Province in Northern Burundi. She supports community-based programmes that empower victims of sexual and gender-based violence in her province. "ACORD supported my project giving young women strength to overcome their traumas following sexual abuse. I was offered training and resources that enabled me to give back to the community though this noble initiative. Initially I formed ‘Murekerisoni' which is an association for victims of gender-based violence giving them opportunities to meet and share their experiences.
‘Murekerisoni' means ‘Preserve our Dignity!' and involves 274 members whose roles include reaching out to other victims and offering them a helping hand. The members are spread out to all the 13 communes of Kayanza. Our motto is to help somebody in need without expecting to be paid back, just like we have received help without paying for it.
Our partners in Burundi
At community level, ACORD works closely with the internally displaced persons, returning refugees, host communities, Community Based Organisations (CBOs), Community Development Committees (CDCs) and other traditional local structures.
At national level ACORD participates in the international NGOs Network (RESO), network for peace and reconciliation (REPARE) and the network for education in gender and development (RENAFOGED). These networks are important for ensuring coordination and for facilitating joint advocacy and lobbying.
ACORD also works with a number of UN organisations including UN Women, Food and Agriculture Organisation, World Food Programme, UNESCO, as well as IFAD and Government ministries at national and decentralized levels and research institutions.
Photos, videos and publications
African women and girls at the grassroots - their say on their world post 2015
Women's voices from citizen-driven workshops on the post-2015 framework held in 13 African countries
Unraveling the Dynamics of HIV/AIDS Related Stigma and Discrimination, the role of Community-Based Research: Case Studies of Northern Uganda and Burundi. The basic premise of the two cases is that responses and strategies for tackling stigma and discrimination must be built on communities own understanding of the problems and the solutions they propose.
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Faire valoire la loi: Burundi: un audit sur les pratiques judiciares en matière de violence sexuelle. A review of legal practice on sexual violence in Burundi. The review looked at: what national laws deal with sexual violence; how judges and other court officials interpret the law; police attitude to sexual violence; the role of health institutions. The review also makes recommendations for civil society advocacy to improve the response to sexual violence.
You can also find more resources on ACORD's work in Burundi on our website.
Video: Launch of the 'We Can' campaign in Burundi (October 2010). The campaign works by recruiting ordinary people as 'change-makers'. They commit to end violence against women by influencing the behaviour and attitudes of their communities. Watch the video and read more about the campaign.
Photos of ACORD's work in Burundi can be sent upon request. Contact us by e-mail.
How you can support communities in Burundi
You can support ACORD's Burundi strategy that aims to promote lasting and all-inclusive peace in Burundi.