Burundian women have historically played an important role as agents of peace, using their unique position in society to initiate mediation and reconciliation processes, bring conflicting parties together and to re-start peaceful dialogue between various actors.
Our work in Burundi
WPHF is working to promote the leadership of Burundian women and their organizations through community level economic empowerment projects while supporting advocacy initiatives in the field of peacebuilding and recovery. We’re empowering local women to participate and lead in effective early warning and conflict prevention initiatives such as undertaking direct conflict mediation, advising victims and liaising with local authorities.
In January 2016, WPHF invested $700,000 to support a pilot project on women’s contribution to conflict prevention efforts in Burundi.
WPHF is proud to support the following women’s organizations in Burundi:
- Abazimyamuriro Bazira Imbibe (ABI-Burundi) on a project supporting 525 women grouped in 35 mutuelles de solidarite, enabling them to participate in socio-economic recovery in 10 provinces.
- Burundi Leadership Training Program (BLTP) on a project to strengthen social cohesion at the community level through dialogue, information sharing and civic education, providing capacity building and economic empowerment for women mediators.
- Dushirehamwe et Association Des Guides Du Burundi (AGB) on a project promoting the leadership of women and their organizations through community level economic empowerment initiatives and support to advocacy initiatives in the field of peacebuilding and recovery.
WPHF is supporting Burundian women to participate in and lead effective early warning and conflict prevention.
With support from the Women’s Peace & Humanitarian Fund since January 2016, a nationwide network of women mediators has proven effective in preventing violence at the local level, hampering the possibility of spillover into wider tensions, dispelling false rumors, and mitigating the impact of the ongoing political crisis on populations. Through their collaboration with provincial and local authorities, this network of women mediators has prevented and resolved conflicts and encouraged the organization of local consultations to identify strategies to build community security.
The nation-wide Women Network for Peace and Dialogue composed by 516 women mediators and 18 provincial focal points reached the following results:
- Conflict prevention and resolution at the local level. The conflicts they deal with on a regular basis within their communities are social, familial, land related and political ones. The initiatives they take to solve a conflict include undertaking direct conflict mediation, advising and assisting victims, referring them to appropriate structures, liaising with local authorities, etc. On average, the network of women mediators managed to resolve the conflicts in 62% of the cases. Half successes represent 26 % and failures 12 % of the cases.
- Establishment of local networks of actors involved in conflict prevention and resolution. Partners include: CSOs, local authorities, women leaders, religious organizations, etc. These networks aim at coordinating their actions, and identifying community concerns to prepare for dialogues at hill, municipality and provincial level. In total, over 14 000 actors were involved in these local networks.
- Organization of dialogues at hill, municipality and provincial level. Dialogues are organized on a quarterly basis at the municipality level and at the hill level when possible. The local networks of actors prepare an agenda and women mediators and provincial focal points oversee the organization of the dialogues, reporting and monitoring of the implementation of recommendations that are made. In 2016, 7063 dialogues were organized at hill, municipality and provincial levels.
- Training of mediators and provincial focal points. In June 2016, the 534 mediators and provincial focal points benefited from a two-day training sessions. The training was delivered by a partner NGO and aimed at further building their capacities and supporting them to achieve the new objectives they were given in 2016. Main issues covered during the two day training include: networking and partnerships, organization of public events and advocacy.
- Exchange sessions between women mediators and local authorities. At the end of each session, the participants identified joint initiatives to tackle the main challenges faced by their municipality. Mediators and local authorities have committed to implementing them and evaluating progress at the end of the year. These sessions also allowed the local authorities to better understand the role of the women mediators and to seek their support to prevent and solve conflicts.
WPHF is empowering Burundian women to engage in formal and informal peace negotiations
The Women’s Peace & Humanitarian Fund is also supporting national consultations for the elaboration of the Women’s National Agenda. These consultations were aiming at ensuring that women could speak with a common voice so that their concerns could be taken into consideration within the political dialogue. To that effect, from 16 – 22 November 2016, UN Women and the NGO Accord organized, together with two women’s platforms (Forum National des femmes (FNF) and Plateforme des femmes pour la paix et la sécurité), national consultations in the 18 provinces of the countries in order to elaborate a Women’s National Agenda.
The consultations were attended by 472 women and achieved the following results:
- The main challenges facing women as well as root causes were identified;
- Women’s priorities were established;
- The common agenda for women was drafted and shared with the Gender Ministry in order to be integrated with consultations organized by other stakeholders.
- 6,000: the number of conflicts dealt with by the network of women mediators between January and July 2016.
- 62%: their average rate of full success, 26% the average rate of half success and 12% the average rate of failure.
- 14,000: the number of stakeholders engaged in the local networks constituted by women mediators at the hill and municipality levels.
- 7,063: the number of dialogues that have taken place in 2016, led by the women mediators.
- 300,000: the total number of community members who participated in these dialogues.
- 534: the number of women mediators and provincial focal points that have been further trained.
In Burundi, political and electoral conflicts have led in 2015 to confrontations between security forces and protesters, displacement of populations and growing tension throughout the country. This is compounded by a lack of reliable information that has had the effect of inflaming tensions.
After its government signed the Arusha peace agreement in 2000, Burundi initiated a democratization process that culminated in the organization of general elections in 2005. During the 2015 national elections, a violent conflict among the country’s political elites sparked a security crisis that ravaged the country and is still currently underway.
Burundi’s conflict has dramatically shaped the lives of women and girls. In addition to bearing the brunt of the country’s economic hardship, women are victims of detention, disappearances, and often stand witness to the slaughter of their children and relatives. Women in Burundi represent most of the refugees or IDPs whose gendered needs often go unaddressed as they struggle to survive in camps. Violence against women in Burundi is rampant and women and girls are victims of rape with limited legal recourse.
Additional Funding Needs
$2,000,000 over 2 years