Habitat for Humanity Burundi
Burundi News and Stories
This program is currently inactive
Habitat for Humanity discontinued its program in Burundi in 2008. Currently, there are no plans to build houses in this region in the near future.
Why Habitat is needed in Burundi
Burundi is a small country in Central Africa, devastated by years of conflict and political turmoil. Ethnic violence between Hutus and Tutsis in the mid-1990s caused the death of an estimated 300,000 people. Over an 11-year period, more than 1 million people became refugees—primarily in neighboring Tanzania—or were internally displaced. Less than half have returned home. Burundi has also become the recipient of nearly 50,000 refugees, mostly from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Following reconciliation efforts between Hutus and Tutsis, the country is gradually regaining stability, and refugees have begun to return home. However, with limited natural resources and industry and 90% of the population dependent on subsistence farming, Burundi’s troubles are far from over, and it remains among the poorest ten nations in the world.
How Habitat helps
HFH Burundi was formed in 1987 and constructed 35 houses in Gitega before closing in 1993, due to political instability. In 1998, HFHB formed a partnership with World Vision to rebuild homes for returning refugees.
One of the most affected provinces during the conflict was Makamba, on the border of Tanzania, now the destination of tens of thousands of returning refugees. HFHB is currently partnering with World Relief to build 750 rural homes for 4,500 people over 12 months in the Mukungu Zone of Nyanza-Lac, the worst-affected community of Makamba. The demand for shelter among returnees in Nyanza-Lac is high and is expected to increase when as many as 40,000 more refugees return to the area.
The homes built in this project measure 40 square meters and have at least three rooms: one for parents, one for children and one common area. The houses have two doors, four windows and a toilet. A compost pit is created on each site.
Local leaders identify the most vulnerable groups for participation in the project: widows and disabled people. The collaboration of local leaders, the community, churches, United Nations agencies and nongovernmental organizations are critical components of the shelter program.
Since 2006 Habitat has been funding a housing project in Burundi through World Relief, and as a result we have been able to improve the shelter conditions of almost 1000 families over this period.
Facts about Burundi
Location: Central Africa, east of the Democratic Republic of Congo
Population: 7.3 million
Languages: Kirundi, French and Swahili
Climate: Equatorial; temperatures vary according to altitude
Religions: Christianity, indigenous beliefs and Islam
Economy: Main exports include coffee, tea, sugar, cotton and hides