To this day, the people of Burundi feel the impact of their long history of ethnic and political conflict. The sense of social cohesion is low and violence is a daily reality. Governmental corruption and the lack of an honest and accessible judicial system adds fuel to the fire. Together with local and international partners, Mensen met een Missie works to address the root causes of conflict and focuses on building bridges between authorities, communities, and individuals.


€1,800,000 over 5 years




Local partners



Participants activities



Indirect reach

Ongoing community-level conflict

Situated in the Great Lakes area in Central Africa, Burundi is one of the smallest and most densely populated countries on the continent. It is also one of the poorest, with 65% of the population living off less than $1.90 a day.

Since its independence in 1962, the country has struggled to emerge from ethnic and political conflict. In 2005, after 12 years of civil war, the Tutsi government and Hutu rebel groups signed a peace treaty, but tensions remained. After another outbreak of violence in 2015, conflicts at the community level have intensified. With a weak justice system in place and no reliable agencies that people can turn to, impunity reigns. Small disagreements can quickly escalate into violent conflicts in the face of lawlessness. Community members need informal and/or semi-informal mechanisms to prevent and rapidly peacefully resolve conflicts.

Burundi struggles to emerge from ethnic and political conflict. With a weak justice system in place and no reliable agencies that people can turn to, impunity reigns.

Our response

Along with our local partner and three international partners, we work on the programme ‘Addressing Root Causes (of conflict) – Building Bridges in Burundi’ (2017-2022). The programme aims to promote social cohesion, human security and resilience for Burundian youth and local communities. We do this through:

Local Committees for Good Governance
We have trained volunteers to form Local Committees for Good Governance (LCGG). An equal number of women and men make up these committees that play a key role in their communities’ advocacy. They know how public administration works and stand up for the rights of their people. They educate both their communities and local authorities on good governance and human rights. LCGGs are a bridge between local communities and the administration.

Conflict resolution through mediators and paralegals
To navigate local conflict resolution and prevent further escalations in the community, we have trained 130 paralegals and 130 mediators; half of them being male and half female. The paralegals help and support people to find their way through the formal juridical system. Mediators are active in their local communities and mediate between parties with a conflict – ranging from domestic issues, land conflicts, and gender-based violence.

Volunteers train to form ‘Local Committees for Good Governance’ or to become paralegals and mediators; fostering social cohesion.

“Although I had the proof of ownership papers, the former landowner didn’t allow me to enter my land. Instead of filing for an expensive lawsuit, a paralegal helped me get a complaint to the proper authorities – now I can finally start farming my land.”- – Jacqueline, mother of 6


Together with our local partners, Mensen met een Missie has managed to:

  • Inform 650 local government officials about local legislation, good governance and accountability.
  • Help resolve 65% of the 3,117 conflicts received in 2019 through our trained mediators and paralegals.
  • Train 156 volunteers to form LCGGs and continue to educate them on lobbying, advocacy and gender issues.
  • Organise exchange sessions between 250 mediators to build a network that can support each other, exchange knowledge and discuss the challenges they encounter.
  • Inform over 200,000 people in local communities on peaceful conflict resolutions and human rights.
  • Sensitise 45,461 people in local communities in 2019 on human rights, civic participation and socio-cultural topics.

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