Started Working in Tanzania
Started Working in Burundi
Direct Beneficiaries & Program Participants
(Women & Girls)
Since 2002, RET has directly supported more than 500,000 direct participants, working with Burundian & Congolese refugee youth in Tanzania (2002 – 2005) and vulnerable youth in Burundi (2005- to date), 44% of them are women and facilitated the construction and/or renovation of more than 438 learning facilities in Burundi.
RET indirectly benefited more than 5 million beneficiaries throughout 47 projects (5 projects in Tanzania) and (44 Projects in Burundi) focused on: Protection, Education, Peace Stability and Transition, Democracy & Governance (Youth Civic Engagement, Peace Building), Economic Growth & Development (Livelihoods and Vocational Training), Basic Infrastructure and Equipment (around the school).
The Situation in Burundi
Burundi remains a fragile country following a succession of conflicts, which resulted in large-scale interethnic massacres and mass displacement both inside and outside the country. Since the 2000 peace agreements and especially since 2008, over 500’000 Burundian refugees have returned to their country. Almost a third of these have moved into the southern provinces where they represent 15% of the total population. This situation created tensions between returnees and the population that had stayed in the country after the conflict.
The 2015 political crisis has created a climate of uncertainty leading to socio-economic decline, In addition, the country is facing multiple challenges in providing basic services, including high unemployment rate amongst young people, lack of health services and disease crises, quality education coupled with a declining agricultural sector declining economic situation. Over 300,000 Burundian refugees are displaced in neighbouring countries, while around 136,000 are internally displaced people. All of them requires assistance.
Burundi, a landlocked country (27’830 km²), is one of the five poorest countries in the world. According to World Bank (2018), close to 72.9% of local population live below poverty line, where more than six out of ten Burundians (6.1 million people) are poor and nearly four out of ten (3.6 million) live in extreme poverty. In 2020, COVID-19 affected Burundi’s already fragile economy leading to a slow recovery. The GDP growth has been revised to 0.3 percent in 2020, which is 1.7 percentage points lower than the pre-COVID projection and a sharp decline from growth of 1.8 percent in 2019.
RET’s mission is to protect and empower people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to gain control of their future and reach their full potential.
RET’s mission is to protect and empower people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to gain control of their future and reach their full potential.
RET has conducted operations in refugee camps in Tanzania, namely in Kigoma and rural and urban areas in Burundi. RET has been active throughout most of the 18 provinces of Burundi, including Bujumbura, Muyinga, Kirundo, Makamba, Kanyosha, and Mutimbuzi.
RET originally worked with Burundian youth in Tanzania from 2002 to 2005, following the Burundian internal conflict of the 1990s and early 2000s, where many communities had to seek refuge in neighboring countries.
As camps started to close and populations began returning home, the needs shifted back to Burundi. RET started operations in 2005, by providing access to post-primary education to youth returning to Burundi in order to facilitate their reintegration. Over time, RET supported over 348 secondary schools, benefiting more than 60.000 students through renovation work and the construction of more classrooms, dormitories, sanitary facilities, staff rooms, and water tanks in Burundi. RET also provided teacher training, language and educational catch-up courses.
In order to allow young people to play a positive role in these transitional times, RET has also put in place responsible citizenship programs covering themes such as conflict resolution and mitigation in order to promote durable peace in the country, allowing youth to be autonomous and become positive actors, leading their communities through this fragile situation and towards development. RET’s projects adopt a participative and inclusive approach. Young people are themselves actors in the projects and partnerships with youth associations allow for durable results. RET conducted operations in Muyinga and Kirundo to reduce the potential for conflict by harnessing the energies of youth to act for peace and social cohesion using a multi-faceted approach which includes vocational education, theatre, sports, forum discussions.
Improving the prospects for income generation and self-sufficiency of young people through vocational training and targeted capacity building in Burundi. (2022-2023)
The project builds on the previous two consecutive years’ implementation experiences in four communes located in two provinces of Burundi, Kanyosha, and Isare in Bujumbura Rural, and Mukaza and Ntahangwa in Bujumbura Mayoral. The project proposes to “Improve the prospects for income generation and self-sufficiency of young people through vocational training and targeted capacity building.” In this third year of implementation, two new localities were added: the locality of Kibuye in Bujumbura Rural and Nyakabiga in Bujumbura Mayoral.
The project targets 2,064 young people aged between 15 and 30 years, comprising both schooled and non-schooled beneficiaries, and indirectly targets 10.320 beneficiaries during the one-year project cycle. In line with RET’s Gender Equality and Female Empowerment (GE/FE) approach, RET will work to reach a gender parity of 50% female. The project will target four youth centers, 24 youth associations from previous years, four girls’ committees, and 12 new youth associations while involving 100 young Burundian returnees to create a “Multimedia Centre” in Makamba.
The project consolidates the achievements of the two prior years, 2020 & 2021, in 4 localities while scaling up activities in two new additional localities, including youth returnees in planning and running the vocational training center. Through these activities, the project goal is to empower vulnerable youths (15-30 years) through personal development, skills training, economic empowerment, and promotion of active participation in community development.
The project’s first pillar aims to consolidate the achievements of 2020 & 2021 activities in the current four localities to ensure sustainability.
Ensuring the sustainability of activities
RET will strengthen the achievement of 2020 and 2021 through additional activities to support and empower youth associations to continue the design and implementation of their actions independently and sustainably.
RET will help the four youth centers, 24 youth associations, and 4 Girl’s Committees that have benefited from the 2020 and 2021 program to develop a 5-year strategic sustainable plan and a financial and administrative procedures manual. With short and medium-term goals, the strategic plan will help members to focus their efforts on achieving desired outcomes while ensuring the sustainability of their actions.
Strengthening youth to access credits
Youth trainers will benefit from a 2-day training in financial management skills and technical assistance provided by RET. RET will target 24 youth associations and four girls’ committees. They will be trained and mentored to form Youth Savings and Loan Associations (YSLAs) so they can ultimately start savings on their own.
The government of Burundi set up “the youth Bank” to support youth groups and/or cooperatives with finances. RET will support youth associations during the development of their strategic plans so they develop a reliable project that the youth bank can potentially fund.
RET will organize two-day discussion forums per commune for youth and adults to build intergenerational understanding and tolerance. Through an informal dialogue format, young people can voice their needs and concerns and exchange their views and ideas with multiple stakeholders, including government officials, civil society organizations, employers’ organizations, workers’ organizations, and other relevant actors.
The second pillar of the project seeks to scale up activities implemented during the past two years in 4 communes. RET added two new localities while including activities for youth returnees in Makamba, including:
Building capacity for young people through Life Skills training for self-actualization.
Selection of new youth associations and returnees: RET will identify six (6) new local associations in each commune, 12 in total, where the proposed activities will be carried out. Each association will choose five (5) of its members as youth trainers (YT) to receive intensive TOT training, with the aim of the ripple effect of peer training. In parallel, RET, in close collaboration with the local administration, will ensure the fair and transparent selection and identify 50 unemployed youth returnees in each commune (Mabanda and Nyaza-Lac) to participate in the empowerment activities.
Building the capacity of new youth associations and youth returnees: 60 youth trainers will follow a Life skills program designed to address several topics, including Mindset and Personal Development, Leadership, Peace Building, Health, and Hygiene. The program will empower youth on the core principles and critical life skills required to be highly successful. At the end of the training, each participant will develop his/her personal development plan with concrete short, and medium term actions.
Strengthening the organizational capacities of youth associations governing bodies.
Training of youth associations’ governing bodies:
RET will provide a comprehensive entrepreneurship training program to 232 youth, including 60 youth trainers from 12 new youth associations, 72 young girl members of the committees (girls from 2020-21 + girls from 2022), and 100 youth returnees added in 2022. The program will consist of:
- Capacity training needs assessments to provide an objective picture of the skills and capacities required by the youth entrepreneurs.
- Business training in core areas to improve entrepreneurs’ business skills, including basic concepts of entrepreneurship, how to generate business ideas, developing a business plan etc.
- Business coaching in practical sessions with experienced business coaches who accompany the entrepreneurs as they introduce changes and track their progress.
- Access to finance: during the training sessions, financial service providers will give insights into the financial services they offer and how youth can access these products and services.
Young returnees who were newly registered but were not previously part of any youth group will be encouraged to create their cooperatives or to join existing ones to run IGAs.
The trained youth will organize peer sessions on skills needed to start and grow a business and orient other youth in the start-up/expansion process by preparing them to convert their ideas into business plans and apply for funds from local microfinance institutions.
Work skills training to increase self-reliance and positive engagement:
In addition to entrepreneurship training, RET will organize short-term professional development training courses lasting approximately 1 month for the project’s beneficiaries, enabling them to acquire specific skills that can be used directly to create jobs. RET will identify partners specialized in the themes identified to provide training and support for young people. Therefore, RET will seek to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with potential employers to provide them with suitably trained candidates.
Set up a multimedia center in Makamba to facilitate better access to employment opportunities and livelihoods by organizing digital learning activities: Organisation of digital learning and activities
More young returnees will follow an ICT program through the multimedia center in Makamba by learning essential skills like advanced internet usage, use of different software, basic computer sciences etc.
The third pillar of the project focuses on providing youth with professional skills training and accredited certification through the continued operation of the Vocational Training Center in Kanyosha.
RET will provide 100 youth with professional skills training and accredited certification through the continued operation of the vocational Training center in Kanyosha
The selection will be based on vulnerability criteria, specific needs and existing capacities. RET will avail five sections, namely computing, Bakery and kitchen, Handicraft, livelihood, and agriculture, for a certified nine months vocational training program in tandem with a one-month internship in different enterprises by the beneficiaries to complete the training.
In addition to vocational training, French and English languages are offered to beneficiaries to ensure that trainees have the basic language skills required for the courses.
This project, implemented between March 2022 and February 2023, is being funded by Carpe Vitam International and implemented by RET in Burundi.
Support the empowerment of refugees in five camps in Burundi.”
RET is implementing a one-year project aimed at:
(1) empowering refugees in camps
(2) granting university scholarships to refugees and returnees. The empowerment activities are implemented in five (5) refugee camps namely Musasa camp in Ngozi province, Kinama camp Muyinga province, Bwagiriza and Nyankanda camps in Ruyigi province and Kavumu camp in Cankuzo province. The university scholarships will be awarded to young refugees from the same camps, from urban areas (Makamba, Rumonge and Bujumbura) and to young Burundian returnees.
RET has developed this socio-economic empowerment program targeting refugees from the five camps with a multi-faceted vision and an approach that can reach both young people and other older people. The proposed interventions target 1,660 direct beneficiaries from 5 refugee camps in Burundi who will benefit from increased employability through vocational training. The project will support 65 students (49 refugees and 16 returnees) for the education component. Throughout the process of identifying beneficiaries, particular emphasis will be placed on women’s participation in promoting gender equality and the emancipation of women. To improve the socio-economic conditions of refugees through self-reliance and available means of subsistence, RET has developed a set of activities for each component. The empowerment of refugees is axed on three main outputs, namely:
(1) training and support for small businesses
(2) Targeted vocational training,
(3) Use of ICT. Organization of an entrepreneurship and skills development program
The objective is to motivate beneficiaries to consider entrepreneurship as one of their career options. The program will aim at building the capacities of existing IGAs and promoting new IGAs, with particular emphasis on production units. Including:
- Training of 250 people (150 young people and 100 adults) in entrepreneurship and leadership skills to overcome social and psychological constraints.
- Training in Business Support for 30 refugees who will work with IGA holders and support them in developing strategies to mitigate failure and help them put in place essential tools for managing their business.
- Organization of two Business Networks that will provide opportunities to build partnerships for quality production and marketing. The Business Networks will also incorporate practical sessions with experienced business coaches who will support refugee entrepreneurs in introducing change and monitoring their progress. Financial service providers will also be invited to participate in this activity to give an overview of the financial services they offer and how refugees can access them.
- Reinforcement of the managerial capacities of 75 cooperative representatives. RET in partnership with cooperatives, will examine the possibility of founding social enterprises whose income can be distributed evenly to members according to their participation rate. This strategy will strengthen the financial autonomy of members of the cooperative in the camps.
RET will organize targeted vocational training to improve the self-employability and self-sufficiency of refugees, including:
Organization of professional training
RET will organize professional development training for 250 beneficiaries to enable them to acquire specific skills that can strengthen their employability profiles.
Creating and strengthening production units
RET will help beneficiaries to create and/or strengthen production units and to break into markets with new untapped opportunities. For existing units such as soap production, RET will support them to exploit all related value chains to achieve better production and sales.
Strengthening the partnership with the public and private sector
RET will regularly carry out feasibility studies for potential partners with the public and private sectors, such as local businesses and hotels, to develop relationships likely to increase the visibility and sales of the beneficiaries’ products/services.
Participation in events and festivals
RET and participants will regularly attend events and festivals to promote beneficiary products/services and reach other potential customers. Furthermore, RET will also organize events in camps to promote refugee products as part of the celebration of entrepreneurship week and/or World Refugee Day.
Strengthening access to agriculture and livestock
RET will organize agricultural and livestock activities aiming at helping refugee producers to improve their production, increase their sales, enter new markets, and develop resilience to climate-related issues. Refugees who have chosen to professionalize in agriculture and livestock will be supported in the search for land and agricultural inputs.
Training in ICT
RET will set up a Multimedia Center in Kinama camp to help more refugees access ICTs and seize various business, training and/or employment opportunities remotely. Training will include: Online and distance qualifying and professional training, basic and advanced computer training, production of a community newsletter, training in new professional skills such as negotiation techniques, community mobilization, writing reports, and other professional documents, etc.
Training in digital storytelling
RET will organize training on the use of video cameras, the production and narration of videos for 25 young people from Kinama refugee camp. These trained young people will have to organize story-sharing sessions with other refugees. During this training, they will also learn the art of photography and an exhibition of their produced artworks and films will be organized for the public.
Tertiary Education Opportunities
RET will grant university scholarships to 65 young refugees and returnees who will benefit from access to quality higher education. RET will be making Academic follow-ups of scholarship holders through organized monitoring missions. RET planned multiple strategies to support and equip these students with good tools for a relatively successful professional integration. RET will be organizing extra-academic training to facilitate personal development while launching Women Power programs…etcetera.
This project, implemented between January 2022 and December 2022, is in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Burundi.
The Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI) Higher-education Scholarship Program (2022)
The Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI) is a project managed at the global level by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on behalf of the Government of Germany. It aims to provide higher education scholarships for refugees and returnees.
The project has been implemented in Burundi since 2011. DAFI Program aims at strengthening refugees’ capacity by enabling them to become more self-reliant and actively contribute to the development of both refugee and host communities. The project aims to facilitate the professional integration of young graduates of the state examination, refugees, and returnees, through guaranteed access to quality higher education and a promising future for the community. It targets young refugees living in different camps in Burundi (Kinama, Musasa, Bwagiriza, Kavumu, and Nyankanda), in urban areas, and repatriated Burundians. The DAFI project will support 106 students in 2022, including 14 repatriated Burundians and 92 refugees from different camps and urban areas. These students are enrolled in five (5) private universities: Light University of Bujumbura (ULBu), University of Ngozi (UNG), University of Lake Tanganyika (ULT), University of the Great Lakes (UGL), and Polytechnic University of Gitega (UPG).
RET will be facilitating:
Granting university scholarships
The grant awarded to students covers the living expenses (catering, accommodation, health care, and travel), equipment (school materials, clothing allowance), research costs, and internship allowances (for finalists) and is paid quarterly. Moreover, the scholarship covers all the tuition fees of the beneficiaries (school fees, administrative documents, etc.)
Academic follow-up for scholarship holders:
RET will carry out regular monitoring missions at different universities, and the missions are scheduled every two months. RET will also conduct regular meetings with scholarship holders. Moreover, RET will organize workshops to build students’ capacity and strengthen their skills for professional integration.
RET will organize training workshops to allow the personal development of scholarship holders (refugees) and prepare them for professional integration, including time management, communication techniques, Financial education, and development of self-esteem.
Women Power Program:
RET will establish a learning program to enable girls/women beneficiaries of the DAFI program to become self-reliant women, and empower them to realize their potential. The program will extend six (6) months with one-on-one mentor meetings. Discussions will include personal development, leadership development and mentoring, Economic empowerment, reproductive health/HIV, use of social networks, etc.
RET will support the finalist scholarship holders by:
Organizing the coaching sessions for employability
RET will organize professional orientation and coaching sessions for program beneficiaries. These sessions will facilitate individual or group support and opportunities to meet expert professionals on various topics of interest for young people, including the monitoring of the implementation of personal development plans, information sharing, and support in the production of necessary documents required to apply for jobs.
Giving technical and financial support to IGAs initiated by scholarship holders
By connecting them to microfinance institutions, RET will technically and financially support scholarship holders with income-generating activities. Creating IGAs by students is necessary to facilitate socio-economic empowerment, especially for students who complete their university studies, considering the difficulty of securing work.
This project, implemented between January 2022 and December 2022, is implemented in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Burundi.