Burundi -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1
The Housing Need
Substandard housing 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-1990’s caused the death of an estimated 300,000 people. Over a 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 DR 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.
Habitat for Humanity Burundi
HFH Burundi (HFHB) 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 8m x 5m, and comprise of at least three rooms; one for the parents, one for the children and one common area. The houses have two doors, four windows and a toilet and a composting pit is created on each site.
Local leaders identify the most vulnerable groups for participation in the project, such as widows and disabled people. The collaboration of local leaders, the community, churches, UN Agencies and NGO’s are critical components of the shelter program.
Location: Central Africa, east of Democratic Republic of Congo
Climate: Equatorial; temperatures vary according to altitude
Population: 7.3 million
Economy: Main exports include coffee, tea, sugar, cotton, hides
Religions: Christianity; indigenous beliefs, Islam
Languages: Kirundi, French, Swahili