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Peacebuilding and Education - Burundi

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For decades, Burundi has been plagued by cycles of inter-ethnic, political violence and conflict. The violence has left the population divided, and tensions remain high. President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term in office has been met with strong protests, subsequent repression and a failed coup attempt in May 2015. The state is allegedly involved in harassment of political opposition figures and backing youth groups carrying out human rights abuses. At the same time, rebel groups also remain active in the country.

Transitioning to peace in this context requires addressing underlying causes of structural and cultural violence in ways that strengthen resilience, social cohesion and human security in sustainable ways. Meaningfully engaging youth in this process is essential: about half the population of Burundi is aged 18 or below.

This study was conducted to provide reliable population-based data about perception of and experience with social services and outcomes, and an understanding of how social services may reduce fragility and help strengthen social cohesion and resilience. The data is also meant to facilitate the monitoring of peacebuilding and state building goals in the long term. The New Deal provides a relevant framework for analysis as the proposed goals correspond to key challenges in Burundi.

The report is based on research findings from a comprehensive survey conducted in December 2014, before the outbreak of the 2015 political crisis. For the survey, interviews were conducted with a total of 2,991 randomly selected youth and adult residents in all 17 provinces of Burundi to provide nationally and regionally representative statistics.

Key findings highlight the need to close the education gap and ensure effective and equal access to services, engage youth meaningfully in education and economic activities, rebuild legitimate politics, address divisions, build a safer environment, and hold accountable those responsible for human rights abuses.


Vinck P, Pham PN (2015) Population-Based Survey on Peace and Education: Burundi, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative


The results of this study are also presented in an interactive map format here.