Burundi

USAID Field Report Burundi Dec 2002

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Other
Source
Posted
Originally published
United States Agency for International Development
Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance
Office of Transition Initiatives
Program Description

Program Goals and Objectives

USAID/OTI's goal in Burundi is to promote good governance and the active and informed participation of citizens. To work towards this goal, OTI has the following objectives:

  • To increase active and informed discussions among people of diverse ethnic groups about common public issues.

  • To encourage the evolution of government institutions at all levels to be more transparent and accountable.
To achieve these objectives, USAID/OTI is undertaking the following activities:

Legislative Strengthening Initiative

OTI is supporting a legislative assistance program to enhance the Burundian legislature's role in promoting peace and reconciliation. The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) are working closely with the National Assembly and the Senate to enhance awareness among Burundian legislators of their roles and responsibilities under APRA, and to increase dialogue and cooperation among legislators from different political parties. The program will also encourage representatives to undertake outreach initiatives that increase public dialogue and participation.

Burundi Initiative for Peace

The Burundi Initiative for Peace (BIP), implemented with the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), will provide a series of small grants to encourage popular support for APRA and for the transitional government. The small grants program will work in targeted geographic areas to support activities that maintain the momentum for peace.

COUNTRY SITUATION

On December 3, a cease-fire was signed between Pierre Nkurunziza's faction of the CNDD-FDD (Forces pour la defense de la democratie) and the Government of Burundi. The agreement called for a cessation of hostilities within seventy-two hours of signing, and gave combatants fourteen days to inform their troops. The agreement also calls for the deployment of an African military force that will protect the cantonment camps and facilitate the implementation of the accord. The Government of Burundi is rapidly moving forward with a plan for the demobilization, disarmament and reintegration (DDR) of the troops, however the plan cannot go forward without the input and agreement of the CNDD-FDD. Donors, led by the World Bank, met to discuss funding for DDR, but await the final plan from the Government of Burundi.

The only rebel group that has not signed a cease-fire agreement, the National Liberation Forces (FNL) which is led by Agathon Rwasa, stated that it is "waiting for the 'strict respect' of the seven other agreements." The heads of state at the nineteenth summit on Burundi directed the FNL to immediately enter into negotiations and sign a cease-fire agreement by December 30, or they would face "robust sanctions."

Following the signing of the cease-fire agreement, the CNDD-FDD requested food assistance, claiming that its soldiers were forced to steal food from local villages in order to stave off starvation. In response to the rebel's request, the donor community delivered food and supplies with the permission of the Government of Burundi.

HIGHLIGHTS

A. Narrative Summary

Planning for the next phase of the public outreach campaign continued with the Parliament. The nine provinces that have not yet been visited by the public outreach campaign will be targeted in 2003, and of those nine provinces four will be covered in January during the parliamentary recess.

Planning continued with the Parliament on the installation of computer resource centers. A total of fifty computers will be purchased for the resource centers, twenty for the Senate and thirty for the National Assembly. The computers and training will be available to all parliamentarians for research and communication purposes.

Thirty-five grant proposals were received in December of which twenty-three are pending review of organizational capacity and budget verification.

2002 Grants Activity Summary

Two grants were awarded in December totaling $31,000:

The first grant, for $26,000, was awarded to the Burundian Scouts, a local youth organization. The grant gathered 1,000 young people from Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in workshops addressing issues of regional peace, tolerance and mutual acceptance, the components of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Accord, human rights, and HIV/AIDS. The objective of the project was to build networks among young people in the region. UNICEF and the Canadian Institute jointly funded this $72,000 project for International Cooperation, along with CARITAS and OTI.

A second grant for $5,000 was awarded to Bureau Tout Contact, a local civil society group. This project, which is implemented in Gitega province, uses theater to promote messages of peace and reconciliation in public schools. After each performance, facilitators engage the audience in a discussion of what they learned from the play and the importance of living together peacefully.

B. Indicators of Success

In his remarks at the closing of the Senate in December, President of the Senate, Libere Bararunyeretse, thanked USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) for its support in bringing Burundian legislators and their constituents together. Bararunyeretse said that OTI's program had provided individuals in Burundi with a better understanding of their legislators and institutions, and sensitized legislators to the problems faced by their constituents.

NEXT STEPS/IMMEDIATE PRIORITIES

  • Coordinate with the World Bank and donor community in the planning of DDRR activities.

  • Continue the public outreach program with the Parliament
For further information, please contact:

In Burundi: Cyndi Scarlett, OTI Burundi Country Representative, e-mail: scarlettcl@state.gov; telephone: 257-955-635
In Washington, D.C.: Patrick Wingate, Program Manager, e-mail: pwingate@usaid.gov; telephone: 202-712-0827.