Open conflict erupted in Burundi following the 1993 assassination of the democratically elected President Ndadaye. A 2000 peace agreement laid the framework for Demobilization and Reintegration (D&R) in Burundi, though two major armed political parties and movements, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) and the National Forces of Liberation (FNL-PALIPEHUTU), continued their armed struggle against the government. A cease-fire agreement was signed between the Government of Burundi (GoB) and the CNDD-FDD in 2003, and the group’s leadership was integrated into the government, subsequently winning the democratic elections in 2005.
In response to a request made by the GoB to IDA, an initial operation, the Burundi Emergency Demobilization, Reinsertion, and Reintegration Program (EDRRP) was approved in 2004. The US$$77.8 million project (US$36 million IDA grant and a US$41.8 million grant from the Multi-Country Demobilization and Reintegration Program (MDRP)) demobilized over 23,000 adult ex-combatants, and released over 3,000 children associated with fighting forces by its termination in 2008. However, demobilization was not yet complete, leading to the implementation of the EDTRP in 2009 to support the GoB’s efforts to continue building peace and stability through D&R of the last two remaining armed groups, the FNL and FNL-Dissidents.
The EDTRP aims to demobilize combatants and provide transitional socio-economic reintegration support, with a particular focus on the provision of such support to vulnerable groups, including:
- Demobilization support: encampment, sensitization, validation of combatant status, registration, socio-economic profiling, sampling of expectations for reintegration, voluntary counseling and testing for HIV/AIDS, and transport to communities of return
- Reinsertion support: resettlement kits, a cash transitional subsistence allowance, and counseling and orientation services
- Transitional socio-economic reintegration support: scholarships, employment generation opportunities, vocational and skills training, microenterprise promotion, information and sensitization events with ex-combatants and communities, fostering of reconciliation, psycho-social trauma counseling, and HIV/AIDS counseling and referral
- Support to vulnerable groups: specialized support and additional protection given to children associated with armed forces, women, and disabled ex-combatants.
- As of December 31, 2012, 6,884 combatants had been demobilized, including 243 women, 170 disabled people and 626 minors.
- Sixty-four percent of beneficiaries report greater social acceptance by their communities after the first three months following demobilization.
- Ninety-nine percent of eligible project beneficiaries (8,686 ex-combatants) have received reinsertion and reintegration support.
- Nearly eighty-four percent of the 8,686 eligible project beneficiaries reported using the majority of reinsertion support to provide for basic needs for themselves and/or dependents.
- Thirty-two percent of disabled ex-combatants achieved medical progress as intended by their individual rehabilitation or treatment regimen as of October 31, 2012.
- Approximately 620 children have received appropriate reinsertion and reintegration support.
Bank Group Contribution
IDA has contributed US$10 million in financing to the current project.
The project is co-financed by a Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) with contributions from the European Commission, and the Governments of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Norway. The project was developed in consultation with the above-mentioned donors, as well as representatives from the African Union, France, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United Nations mission in Burundi (BINUB).
The project has been extended until December 31, 2013, with a focus on accelerating delivery of medical services to disabled ex-combatants. Transitional socio-economic reintegration support associations comprised of ex-combatants and community members. Psychosocial support will continue with the identification and treatment of psychiatric cases, as well as psychosocial support at the individual, family, and group level. Additional financing, using the balance of the MDTF and a government counterpart contribution, will support the GoB to provide lodging for severely disabled ex-combatants, and continue providing social reintegration activities with a focus on reconciliation and conflict resolution at the local level, specifically addressing the potential for violence and intimidation in communities through a conflict mitigation initiative.
Désiré Micomyiza, an ex-combatant who owns and manages a video shop in the northern province of Muyinga, Burundi explains, “With my reinsertion support, I started this studio project. Then, with my transitional economic reintegration support, I expanded the shop. I consider this a success as it provides a livelihood for me and my family.” Anicet Miburo says, “With the transitional reintegration support, I chose to purchase a mill. I saved money and was able to purchase a second mill after receiving the support from the project”. When Godelieve Nimenya learned woodworking through project, she said, “my friends and I understood that women are also capable of doing what men do.”