Burundi, one of the most impoverished countries in the world, is located in Central Africa below the equator. According to the U.S. Department of State, 87% of the population is living below the poverty line as of 2022. The COVID-19 pandemic also hit this country hard in 2020 as Burundi had limited medical resources and health care opportunities available.
Burundi is severely affected by chronic malnutrition related to limited access to clean water and food. Poverty in Burundi also affects many of the children in the population, with limited education and health resources available. Half of the children in Burundi suffer from stunted growth as the result of malnutrition. With the country being so vulnerable to the increase of poverty-like conditions, several charities and organizations around the world provide aid for this country in hopes of alleviating some of the struggles.
5 Organizations Fighting Poverty in Burundi
- CARE International: CARE International works to fight global poverty and inequality and has helped women and children, specifically in Burundi. Severe political violence in 2015 left a multitude of Burundians displaced. As early as 1994, CARE established an office within the country to help those affected by civil conflict and violence. CARE has since then increased its assistance to help refugees that fled to surrounding countries. CARE sees that the female population, both women and girls, suffer the most. They take on many household and family responsibilities and often experience violence. In 2019, CARE provided women and girls with care packages specially made for females. The organization has also helped women start businesses as a way of income.
- International Rescue Committee: The International Rescue Committee has been fighting poverty in Burundi since 1996. In 2017, the IRC issued a strategic action plan, which focused on the large number of displaced persons due to violence and the vulnerability of women and girls. This organization strives to improve the health, safety, economic well-being and education of those living in Burundi. The organization is also fighting for gender equality amongst women and men and boys and girls.
- World Food Programme: The World Food Programme works with the government of Burundi to address malnutrition, especially in children. Alongside the government in Burundi, the WFP works to combat stunting growth in children under 5. Food is provided to children as well as pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. The organization also purchases food from local farmers, using these goods to provide school meals. Helping both the farmers and children, the program aims to cut back on malnutrition rates.
- UNICEF: UNICEF works in over 190 countries to fight for children’s rights and survival. The organization aims to cover all basic needs to improve living conditions and survival rates. In 2022, UNICEF acquired 22 million dollars to assist women and children suffering in Burundi. A large portion of this funding goes to water and hygiene and nutrition efforts.
- ActionAid: ActionAid has been working in Burundi since 1976. Their efforts strive to increase the number of children who attend school and provide food to those facing hunger. Women’s rights are a critical issue, and according to ActionAid, 1 in 5 women are married before they turn 18.
This organization also helps local farmers by supplying them with the tools and education to grow better crops. They also work to increase the number of children who attend school and help refugees find jobs.
Gender inequality is a huge issue in Burundi and ActionAid works to improve the living conditions of women and girls. They spread awareness of women’s rights and the importance of legal marriages rather than informal ones.
These are only a few of the many organizations that work in Africa and provide humanitarian aid to Burundi directly. The country faces a multitude of issues, as it is one of the most impoverished countries in the world. Common trends of hardship that we see this country face are poverty, malnutrition, displaced persons and gender inequality.
There are so many nonprofit organizations fighting poverty in Burundi, and many of them have provided the country with great improvements. While the country still faces many hardships, there is potential for greater development thanks to all of these organizations providing assistance.
– Alesandra Cowardin