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Since the 1970s, the small eastern African country has experienced persistent political and social conflicts. Significantly, more than 300,000 people fell victim to the armed conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups in the 1990s.

A failed coup attempt in 2015 further worsened the political, social and economic situation of the country. In the wake of the crisis, over 430,000 people have fled to the neighbouring countries of Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda since 2015.

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More security for children and improved healthcare in Burundi

In collaboration with various local partner organisations, Malteser International has been supporting the people of Burundi in the areas of (mental) health, cholera prevention and child protection since January 2018.

Together with the local partner CNPK, we provide psychological and psychiatric care near the Tanzanian border, which is extremely important especially for returning refugees from Tanzania and other people who have been subjected to violence.

At the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in turn, we contribute, together with the Burundian Red Cross, towards the prevention of cholera by supplying people with clean water and carrying out prevention campaigns. In collaboration with our partner ADP, we dedicate ourselves to the medical care of disadvantaged groups.

Other victims of the crisis are the street children, whose number has significantly increased in recent years. In two homes of the Fondation Stamm funded by Malteser International, the children receive not only protection, but also comprehensive support and care.

Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world. Around 65 percent of the population live in poverty. In 2017 the country was ranked 184th out of 188 countries in the Human Development Index, the prosperity indicator of the United Nations. The healthcare system in large parts of the country has also collapsed. Added to this is the fact that, on account of political unrest and conflicts, a large number of people have had to experience violence and are urgently in need of psychological care, but access is inadequate. Since the middle of 2015, hundreds of thousands of refugees have moved to the neighbouring countries of Tanzania, Rwanda, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a result of the failed coup attempt.

Since the refugee camps in Tanzania are severely overcrowded, more and more refugees are returning to Burundi. In the provinces of Rutana, Makamba, and Muyinga, we support returnees and residents with psychological and psychiatric care.

At the same time, due to fighting in the region of South Kivu bordering Burundi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, more than 8,200 Congolese refugees have come to Burundi – mostly via Lake Tanganyika. In the host provinces of Rumonge and Bubanza, we especially pursue the prevention of cholera and the improvement of medical care.

Street children are engaged in a daily struggle for survival in the big cities of Burundi. They are usually entirely at the mercy of violent and arbitrary behaviour. The crisis of 2015 caused the number of street children to increase significantly. As a result, we sponsor the admission of street children to two homes of Fondation Stamm in the capital Bujumbura and in Ngozi, an urban centre in the hinterland.

Rutana, Makamba, and Muyinga Provinces

  • Improving access to psychological and psychiatric care

Bubanza Province

  • Preparing for fresh cholera outbreaks
  • Expanding the supply of drinking water and improving hygiene behaviour

Rumonge Province

  • Building a youth network
  • Improving medical care for disadvantaged groups

Bujumbura and Ngozi

  • Promoting and strengthening the protection of children from violence and abuse

Rutana, Makamba, and Muyinga Provinces

  • Training of healthcare personnel and provision of appropriate medication for psychological and psychiatric treatment
  • Renovation of hospitals
  • Training of community health workers in psychosocial support,
  • Support for developing social networks and self-help activities

Bubanza Province

  • Building a clean water supply network and training water committees for maintenance of infrastructure
  • Training households towards improved hygiene measures through community hygiene workers
  • Guidance for the individual construction of latrines in a village of the indigenous Batwa people
  • Establishment of a cholera committee and creation of a crisis reaction plan to combat cholera at provincial level (including procurement of emergency kits)

Rumonge Province

  • Building a network of young people for sensitisation campaigns on first aid and health counselling in their communities
  • Construction and equipment of a youth centre
  • Coverage of medical care costs for particularly vulnerable persons

Bujumbura and Ngozi

  • Development of holistic solutions for street children
  • Procuring the necessary equipment for two homes
  • Coverage of medical costs, provision of educational and vocational training, and legal assistance for children and young people


Duration: January 2018 - August 2018
Donor: German Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt)
Partners: Action pour le Développement et pour la Paix (ADP) ; Burundian Red Cross (Croix Rouge Burundi) ; Centre Neuro-Psychiatrique de Kamenge (CNPK) ; Fondation Stamm (FS)

Last Updated: June 2018



Ricarda Stienhans
Email: Ricarda.Stienhans(at)malteser-international.org

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