Our work in Burundi

Updated: 5 September 2014

Sweden’s efforts in Burundi has mainly been related to strengthening democracy and promote greater peace and security. In a unique cooperation, we and our equivalent in the United Kingdom, DFID, have managed projects that include giving poor people access to legal aid. The phasing out of the bilateral cooperation is now almost completed but regional contributions continue, as well as support through the Swedish civil society and humanitarian assistance when needed.

The Swedish development cooperation with Burundi has focused on peace and security as well as democratic development, but most of the cooperation has now been terminated in accordance with the phase-out plan.

In accodance to the Swedish policy of concentrating development aid to fewer countries, the Swedish government has decided that the development cooperation with Burundi will be phased out. Contractual agreements will be completed but no new projects will start. The one remaining intervention was initiated in 2010 and terminated in 2013.

The programme for Democratic Governance

A cooperation programme was initiated in 2006 together with the British equivalent of Sida, DFID,  to jointly work towards greater democracy and reform of Burundi's judicial system. The goal has been to strengthen poor people’s own abilities to improve their living conditions and to strengthen human rights. Support has also been given to strengthening the state's capacity to respond to citizens 'rights and at the same time, supporting civil society to increase citizens' knowledge of what they are entitled to expect.

Since the start of the programme, more than 19 000 people have received legal assistance. The bulk of the cases were land dispute. Other areas where legal advice has been provided are sexual violence, torture and pre-trial detention. In addition, support is given for alternative treatment of juvenile offenders to avoid children being put into prison. Accountability in a number of schools has improved and the national dialogue on conflict sensitive issues has been strengthened. Because of the unstable political situation in the country and the weak capacity of the country's institutions, there have been difficulties in achieving sustainable results. Great emphasis has been placed on a responsible phase out strategy. The collaboration with DFID in Burundi was unique and a good example of donor coordination.

Peace and security

Sweden has contributed to an initiative to help some 2,000 ex-soldiers with disabilities to be integrated into the Burundian society. The programme, implemented by the NGO Handicap International, provides medical and / or psychosocial help and support to find an economic livelihood. Each participant makes an individual action plan, involving for instance training and start-up packages to set up their own businesses.

Other support to Burundi

Regional support that will benefit Burundi will continue, for instance through the AU, EAC and the international NGO Interpeace.

Humanitarian support is still a large part of the total support to Burundi and it will continue if needed. Support for Burundi will also continue to be channelled through the Swedish civil society, where Forum Syd Forum Syd  and PMU  are active partners.

Page owner: The Communication Department

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