Burundi

WFP Burundi: Annual Country Report 2020 - Country Strategic Plan 2018 - 2021

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2020 Overview

In 2020, WFP supported the food and nutrition needs of 1.07 million vulnerable people throughout Burundi, out of 1.3 million planned. Despite funding challenges, particularly for the CBT modality, WFP provided essential daily food assistance to the refugees in camps and a three-month assistance package to Burundian returnees as they arrived back in-country from neighbouring countries.
Cooperation with local authorities to advance the Home-grown School Feeding (HGSF) programme gained momentum as the First Lady of Burundi chose to champion the programme and the Government further increased its contribution towards the programme from USD 2 million to USD 2.5 million. However, due to the withdrawal of some donors, the programme faced resource constraints which compelled WFP to reduce the number of assisted children from 602,168 in the early months of 2020 to 412,000 from September onward. Despite the reduced funding, the HGSF programme remained active throughout 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Burundi identified the HGSF programme as the largest and most important safety net for vulnerable people in Burundi and has placed nutrition at the top of its agenda. In addition to strengthening social protection through school feeding as a critical safety net, WFP supported the Government's priority of establishing a social registry.[1] An early engagement with the new administration established after the May general elections was key for positioning WFP and ensuring new key decision-makers understood all areas of WFP’s work in-country. This fostered trust and identified concrete areas of collaboration between WFP and the Government. While WFP continued its assistance to the Congolese refugees, following the elections there was an influx of Burundian returnees from September requiring WFP to significantly scale-up support.
While treatment of moderately malnourished pregnant and lactating women and girls (PLWG) and children aged 6 to 59 months continued in four provinces, WFP adopted an integrated approach to tackle the root causes of chronic malnutrition by involving grassroot communities through the “care group” approach and through social and behaviour change communication. The fight against malnutrition was further enhanced through WFP’s support to the strengthening of the milk value chain and the promotion of milk consumption by vulnerable communities in general, by providing milk and fish to school children through the HGSF programme. WFP provided 602,000 school children with milk, cereals, pulses, vitamin A fortified vegetable oil and fish. These efforts, coupled with WFP’s promotion of locally fortified food, the fight against micronutrient deficiencies and other multisectoral nutrition interventions initiated by other stakeholders play a crucial role in improving the nutrition situation in-country. Results of the November Standardised Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions (SMART) survey showed a decrease of four percent in the chronic malnutrition rate in Burundi over three years.[2] While the fight against malnutrition remains Burundi’s main challenge, this is a remarkable achievement considering only a two percent reduction was achieved over the eight years between 2008 and 2016.[4] Resilience-building activities implemented in Karusi and Gitega equipped targeted households with kitchen gardens, small livestock, soil with improved fertility, improved toilets and contributed to enhacing the overall food security of beneficiaries. A key lesson learned from programme implementation is that in order to enhance effectiveness and resilience sustainability, longer project periods and linkages with nutrition interventions need to be considered in areas with heightened vulnerability and food insecurity.
To promote the use of the Three-Pronged Approach (3PA) [4] in programmatic planning, WFP provided capacity strengthening to the Government and partners on this approach for building community resilience. WFP’s support to the Government and the humanitarian community in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic enhanced the capacities of WFP partners.
Within the framework of the Government’s COVID-19 response plan, WFP contributed to strengthening the COVID-19 screening and testing infrastructure and the transport and storage capacities of the national pharmaceutical warehouse. WFP's Global Air Service facilitated humanitarian flights in and out of Burundi, allowing for transportation of humanitarian staff amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, important milestones have been met on the Lake Tanganyika Corridor Revitalization initiative,[5] with the organization and implementation of the Corridor Competitiveness Analysis, the recruitment of a port captain and the organization of a pilot shipment.