Our work in Burundi
NIMD, together with partner organization the Burundi Leadership Training Program (BLTP), aims to contribute to democratic consolidation in Burundi through a combination of different interventions. We enhance democratic institutions by implementing organizational and programmatic capacity strengthening for political parties, and by providing democracy education programmes for party members. A priority for NIMD’s work in Burundi is supporting the participation of women and youth in politics, and bolstering these groups’ representation in national and local leadership positions. NIMD also facilitates interparty dialogue and multi-stakeholder dialogue at the local level.
In all its activities in Burundi, NIMD adheres to its principles of inclusivity and diversity. The participation of women and youth is stimulated and facilitated across all projects. In addition, NIMD and BLTP organize meetings specifically for women of different political parties. In these meetings, the participants discuss the opportunities and challenges faced by women in politics, and together formulate strategies to improve their levels of participation.
As such, women within the political parties have focused on developing action plans for their participation, and each party now has a national consultant assisting with the plans’ finalization and implementation. Political parties are supported by NIMD to implement these action plans. Involvement of (male) senior party members and committees is essential in this.
A key focus for NIMD in Burundi is with young members of the political parties, whose political leadership potential for the future is supported through special activities and trainings. As part of the “Political Leaders for the Future of Burundi” project, a specially designed Youth LAB was opened in Burundi in 2018. The Youth LAB serves to encourage dialogue between young people of all political backgrounds and create a direct link between them and the parties tasked with representing them. Youth LAB is run in partnership between BLTP, NIMD, and Burundi’s Ministry of Interior and Public Security, with funding from the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund.
From 2011 to 2018, NIMD and BLTP ran Democracy Schools in Burundi, where participants internalized democratic values at the lowest community level: that of the “collines”, the Burundian hills. At its peak, NIMD had Democracy Schools in eight of Burundi’s eighteen provinces. Hundreds of young activists, civil servants (including police officers), and party members passed through the doors of NIMD’s Democracy Schools in Burundi, almost a third of whom were women. 52 alumni have so far been elected onto local councils, while 21 have been elected council chiefs.
While BLTP continues to train new participants in Democracy Schools, NIMD and BLTP together involve alumni in multi-stakeholder activities with local administration officers, local politicians and local police to find solutions to local community problems through dialogue.
Main contact Rutger Groothuis Programme Manager
In-country contact Augustin Cissé Senior Advisor
Burundi is a small but densely populated country in the heart of Africa. It ranks at 180 out of 184 on the 2020 Human Development Index and has witnessed decades of violent civil conflict between ethnic groups since its independence from Belgium in 1962.
The Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement ended the large-scale violence of the 1993-2005 Civil War, which claimed as many as 300,000 lives, and hopes were high for multiparty democracy to thrive in the aftermath. However, subsequent decades have been characterized by a restriction of democratic opposition and competition, and elections results in 2010, 2015 and 2020, as well as a constitutional change, were disputed both nationally and internationally.
The 2015-2019 government under the late former President Pierre Nkurunziza is accused of political repression by human rights organizations and opposition parties. These claims are denied by the ruling CNDD-FDD, however it has nonetheless created a complicated relationship between Burundi and the international community. President Evariste Ndayishimiye succeeded Mr. Nkurunziza in 2020.