Burundi, a landlocked country, is part of Central Africa by its history and it is attached to East Africa because of its topography and climate. Although it is a small country, it has one of the highest population densities on the continent. It shares borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo at the West, Tanzania at the South and East, and Rwanda at the North.

The Burundian economy mainly relies on subsistence agriculture, characterized by a very high agricultural population (more than 90 percent of the total population), a sector of farming (averaging lower than 0.5 ha) and low overall production. During the last decade, the growth of agricultural production (2 percent) was lower than the population increase rate, which is around 2.6 to 3 percent.

Additionally to the structural weaknesses of the economy, the land locking of the country is also noteworthy, the weak competitiveness of external trade, as well as uncontrolled demographic growth. These weaknesses have been aggravated by conflicts, as well as the recent crisis and economic shocks due to the inflation of food products. The country is still on the list of the poorest countries in the world and approximately 67 percent of the population lives under the poverty line. The majority of socio-economic indicators are very low and malnutrition still causes heavy damage.

Context of the area of intervention

The issue of food insecurity in Burundi is much more exacerbated in the natural region of Moso, where constraints of availability, access and use of food are the most revealing. The targeted area for the FBSA programme is constituted of 3 adjacent municipalities (Cendajuru, Kinyinya and Gisuru). They form a continuous block which spreads over two different provinces, Cankuzo and Ruyigi, at the border with Tanzania. The population of the area is estimated (2012) at approximately 215,000 inhabitants.

The municipalities targeted by the FBSA programme are very different from one another, nonetheless, the equipment of these three administrations is very basic and none of them is connected to an electricity network. The two most populated municipalities must now face the reintegration of refugees of which an important percentage does not have any land. The creation of settlement regrouped into villages is favored in these areas where governmental programmes contribute to the building of homes in regrouped villages alongside the main roads around the trading centers.

The programme

In Burundi, UNCDF has participated since 2014 to the multi-actor Global Programme of the Belgian Fund for Food Security that fights against food and nutritional insecurity in 3 municipalities of the Moso region in the Eastern side of the country (Cendajuru, Kinyinya, Gisuru). This programme has the objective to enhance sustainably the food and nutritional security of vulnerable groups by favoring their access to the production factors, technologies and markets and by strengthening the capacities of local actors in the management of food security in local development. UNCDF sets up the “institutional capacity building of local governments” component and its intervention is based on the necessity to make the local communities play an important role in the adequate management of food insecurity problems.

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The PRCIC strategy

The RCIC project searches to support the government in its objective of improving local governance and the functionality of local governments through piloting approaches and tools in the targeted areas. It relies on a participative approach of territorial and financial planning, co-funding (state, municipalities, local actors, projects) of local investments.

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Local Planning Process

The UNCDF approach consists in setting up a structuring and sustainable approach in order to assist the local communities in the search for a greater food security. The objective of the RCIC project in matters of planning is to bring methodological elements on the territorial planning model in Burundi, but especially, to introduce financial planning as an operational instrument of programming with the aim of their institutionalisation.

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The tools

The RCIC project aims at to reach a consensus from the majority of the local actors around the orientation and a common vision relative to certain local issues. The purpose is to support the operationalisation of the local decision-making environment based on consultation, dialogue and accountability as structural bases for the public management of the municipality. Several types of tools provide a support to this approach.

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The capacity building strategy

The sustainability and durability of the interventions goes through the capacity building of men and women in managing their local community and investing in it. A specific plan is made on this strengthening capacities question. The RCIC project carries a particular attention to this dimension by developing local capacity building strategy.

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The vulnerable groups (VG)

The vulnerable groups are the least involved in the exercise of public powers, they have the least access to the public economic resources, exercise barely any influence on the sharing of public wealth and are the least capable of maintaining subsistence and the research for self-development in a decent manner. The PRCIC looks for supporting the local governments so that they can offer them opportunities to get out of the vulnerability circle.

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The disengagement strategy:

The disengagement strategy of the project will develop around three main axes:

  • Appropriation of the planning/budgeting process by the local governments;
  • Implementation by the State of a decentralized financial facility for the local governments and the adoption of a local policy of equipment management;
  • Management by municipalities of the recurring costs generated.

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Bujumbura, Burundi

Souleymane Sow
Programme Manager