Following the Burundian internal conflict of the 1990s and early 2000s, many communities had to seek refuge in neighboring countries. Therefore, RET originally worked with Burundian youth in Tanzania from 2002 to 2005. 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 two hundred 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. We also provided teacher training, language and educational catch-up courses and a responsible citizenship program. RET has been active throughout most of the 18 provinces of Burundi implementing over 36 projects.
RET has been conducting 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 and more recently, RET has been implementing programs to improve the income generation and self-reliance prospects of youth through targeted capacity-building and vocational trainings.
RET has directly supported 469,587 Burundian youth and Congolese refugees through 38 projects along with the renovation and establishment of 348 learning facilities.
Improving the income generation and self-reliance prospects of youth in through targeted Capacity Building & Vocational Training
The goal of this project is to enhance the self-reliance and income generation prospects of targeted youth by building the entrepreneurial and self-reliance skills of 600 youth aged between 15-30 years through the administration of Open Mind Global program along with providing 120 youth with professional skills training and accredited certification through the Vocational Training Centre in Kanyosha.
Youth unemployment is affecting both local and national development, whilst the limited economic and livelihood prospects can prompt the youth to resort to negative coping mechanisms as a survival strategy, including joining armed or rebel groups. It is of fundamental importance for the
stability of Burundi that realistic and relevant programs that aim at countering the marginalization of vulnerable adolescents by endorsing “a gender balanced approach” to youth agency pillared around: (i) cultivating leadership; (ii) designing and administering technical and vocational capacity building modules conducive to economic integration; and (iii) supporting youth resilience, as a conduit for conflict transformation and sustainable peacebuilding.
The youth are in dire need to engage them and train them to be job creators, and role models for positive and responsible behavior. Only with the tools for self-reliance can this be achieved. One of the main challenges facing young entrepreneurs in Burundi is access to finance, so the project includes a microfinancing component to support the launch of new small businesses. Through direct engagement with youth and communities, this is a bottom-up approach will help build the self-reliance and income generation capacity of youth, and by engaging them in a positive manner at the local level, RET will be endeavoring to create a positive and lasting impact on attitude, behavior, which is the only way to resolve the cycles of poverty and violence. RET believes that its intervention will be most effective and that it will help to restore the fragile social cohesion, reduce youth manipulation by political factions, stabilize the communities, and reduce the causes of internal and external displacement. This project is in line with the policies of the Government of Burundi regarding creation of youth employment