RET began local operations
What We Do
Areas of Intervention
Democracy and governance
Youth civic engagement and peacebuilding
Economic growth and development
Livelihoods and vocational training
Infrastructure and equipment
Peace, stability, and transition
Located in central Africa between Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi remains a fragile country following a series of conflicts that resulted in large-scale interethnic massacres and mass displacements. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, with the World Bank estimating that four out of ten people in the country live in extreme poverty.
After over a decade over civil war, a peace agreement was signed in 2000. Since then, over half a million Burundian refugees have returned to their country. Unfortunately, this has created tensions between returnees and those that stayed in the country post-conflict.
In order to contribute to finding sustainable solutions by enabling the effective integration of young repatriates into the Burundian school system, RET began taking action in favor of Burundian refugees living in Tanzania in 2001.
Between 2001 and 2005, we provided direct support to all secondary schools offering the Burundian curriculum in Kirundi and French in Ngara camps in Kigoma, as well as those located in the unprotected refugee camps not covered by UNHCR, from where the majority of repatriates from 1972 originated, and who had adopted the Tanzanian curriculum in English and Swahili.
In 2022, we rolled out Komeza WIGE (“Continue Learning” in Kinyarwandese), a project that aims to improve education for crisis-affected children in Burundi. The program is ambitious in scope, targeting 300,000 children and prioritizing vulnerable groups. It includes rehabilitating classrooms, providing WASH facilities, reintegrating out-of-school children, offering cash-based assistance, and providing school meals. It also includes a teach training and life skills component.
Those life skills tie directly into another program: Enhancing income generation and self-sufficiency among young people. RET has targeted over 2,000 young people ages 15–30, tapping into previous relationships with four youth centers and 24 youth associations, as well as new partnerships with four girls’ committees and 12 additional youth associations. The project is intended to provide vocational training and capacity building, as well as promotes access to credit and organizes forum discussions.
The vocational training includes certification to enhance youth’s employability and economic development. In addition to vocational training, French and English languages are offered to ensure that participants have the basic language skills to take advantage of all offered courses.
In 2022, and in partnership with UNHCR, RET implemented a project to empower refugees and contribute to the reduction of vulnerability factors through the creation of socio- economic opportunities for 15,000 Congolese refugees, hosted in the five camps in Burundi (Kinama, Musasa, Bwagiriza, Kavumu, and Nyankanda).