Economic Empowerment and Peace Building in Burundi

 Financial literacy training in Burundi brings communities together

In the first half of 2016, seventy one new savings groups were formed in Burundi.

 With your help we've reached 1,767 new members so far this year in Burundi alone with business skills training, spiritual formation, access to savings and loans, and the creation of community savings groups.

This includes women like Souavis who sells bananas and beans. As part of a savings group, Souavis has been able to establish her business and support her family. After participating in two loan cycles, she says "we don't eat without salt or oil [anymore] because of lack of money to buy it."

  Members deposit savings during a group meeting in Central Burundi.

Members deposit savings during a group meeting in Central Burundi.

Community Savings and Business Development

All of the savings groups are locally managed and have set up their own emergency funds. There is active saving and lending among the members and the groups promote unity and local community development. The training members received has helped them to establish new businesses and to improve household incomes. In addition, a new course in parenting has helped families develop tools to invest in their children's emotional, physical, and spiritual health.

One participant shared that "this is the most needed and relevant [training] regarding our challenging role as parents during this time of crisis. You have brought us a precious gift from God!" 

Promoting Peace and Community Development

Country Coordinator, Claudette Kigeme, points out that the "program is contributing not only to economic empowerment but also to peace building as it brings together people from different backgrounds to work together in a cohesive and transparent way to improve the conditions of life for their families and communities."

  Members of a community savings group of rural farmers in Burundi.

Parents are learning new skills in business as well as how to raise their children to care for their neighbors and serve their country.

Following a political crisis and attempted coup in 2015, many Burundians fled their homes amidst fears of ethnic violence.  The savings groups, however, have helped to promote social cohesion and unity. "The gathering of participants during crisis even if they were not saving has helped reduce fear and suspicion", Claudette says.

This has improved security in some communities and has diffused threats of violence, with savings group members promoting peace and defending ethnic minorities in their groups. Those who fled their homes in 2015 have begun to return. Recently, 109 members returned from exile in Tanzania to Makamba and were warmly welcomed by their fellow savings group members. Access to savings and emergency loans has helped families cope during time of crisis and has enabled resettlement.

Your support of Five Talents programs in Burundi continues to promote peace and economic development across the country through all seven dioceses. Thank you for partnering for peace.