Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi

by Innovations in Peacemaking Burundi Vetted since 2018 Top Ranked Effective Nonprofit
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
A dialogue for peaceful coexistence in Nyakabiga
A dialogue for peaceful coexistence in Nyakabiga


The project aims at bringing reconciliation between youth of different political parties and between the youth demonstrators and the security forces. Dialogues for peaceful coexistence and workshops on trauma healing are strategies to reach its purpose.

During the month of September one dialogue for peaceful coexistence was conducted in Nyakabiga zone with 33 participants including 8 youth and 9 security officers.

Two basic HROC workshops were conducted . The first with 20 participants from  the scouts’ movement members attending different universities in Bujumbura. 16 males and 4 females, all youth. The second workshop was with 25 students from Musaga High School, 12 males and 13 females, all youth.

Following are some testimonies of participants.


I come from Karuzi province and I was appointed in this zone for security purpose. When I left where I was working, everybody was disappointed of that decision. When saying bye to my colleagues, I told to them that our job is to intervene where it’s needed not staying where situation is calm. My participation in this dialogue for peace looks like a dream for me. I didn’t expect meeting youth and political parties in their diversity in a joint meeting to discuss about peaceful coexistence in Bujumbura.   It’s my first time to learn about trauma, its causes, symptoms, consequences and the way of overcoming it. I was surprised to learn that Trauma was known following the work of security forces. I saw how this peace dialogue is a current cure for us and conflict prevention for 2020 elections. After this dialogue, I will tell my colleagues who stayed in Karuzi how Bujumbura situation is moving toward peace through truth telling and reconciliation. I wish this kind of peace dialogue should be organized at a national level and touching more security forces in joint meeting with youth.


I was wounded by the bad behavior of a  boyfriend we felt in love from each other. We committed to love one another and wait for our marriage after our studies.   After a while I learnt that he has other relations with other ladies. I made investigation and I caught him committing adultery with another young woman. Since then, a strong deception affected me until the stage I developed a mistrust in all man. After my secondary school I applied to attend the army and I felt. The aim behind attending the army was to shoot any boy who should plan to get married with me. Today I’m not able to greet men or give a handshake to them. I don’t even sit behind a man either in school or in church. I do hold a series of symptoms of trauma and I’m glad that I come to know how to overcome the traumatic experience I went through.

More thanks for IPB who thought and is implementing this community healing program


I was wounded by my father’s death and the bad behavior adopted by my mother after this death. She sold all wealth left by my father and misused them. Since we don’t stay with any income generation, I was told to look for my school fees and the whole needs for daily life by myself. I didn’t want to say this to anybody worrying that people could know I was born from that kind of mother and a family of dishonest people and without a childcare heart. After learning the way of overcoming trauma and its consequences, I took courage to share this trauma experience I underwent and its after effects on my current daily life. I still believe that the Lord has a good plan for me

More thanks for IPB who organized this workshop

Schadrack (attending secondary school of Musaga zone)

I got struggle to accept the tragic death of my paternal uncle happened during the 2015 Burundi crisis. How this happened? My uncle left home going to Bujumbura down town. Without much time, he made a short telephone calling to let us know he was apprended by the police. We tried to join him on his phone after in vain. We searched for him in different prisons in Bujumbura and in others and no line of his disappearance was finded. The fact of missing his corpse to bury him reinforced my sorrow about him. I developped a number of trauma symptoms including isolations nightmare and others.  I’m glad to attend this trauma healing workshop. What I come to learn will lead toward healing process.

Gretta (secondary school pupil)

I got sorrow due to my father’s death. He got sick for a long period where he was getting blood transfusion once each three weeks at the beginning. His first doctor refused him a surgery saying he had an advanced age. The sickness developed itself until the stage of getting blood transfusion once a week. He looked for another doctor who said that the sickness was very severe and had already affected the liver due to the bad quality of the blood given to him. When the family was still in a process to transfer him aboard for an advanced treatment, he passed away. Other bad things happened to me and wounded me a lot. I do hold so many symptoms of trauma. I’m glad to know what to do and I believe I should be healed soon following the technical ways we come to learn. More thanks for IPB’s facilitators

Photo for scouts
Photo for scouts' students at universities
HROC basic workshop in Musaga high school.
HROC basic workshop in Musaga high school.
A group photo of the Red Cross group.
A group photo of the Red Cross group.

Heads up:

Starting a 9:00 AM eastern time in the United States on Wednesday, July 18, Global Giving will be donating a half match for the first $240,000 donated on that day. A half match means that if you donate $100, Global Giving will match this with $50. The maximum donation for any donor to be matched is $500. Since this match is open to all 4600 projects on the Global Giving webpage, the funds will go quickly. Therefore it is important to donate as early as possible after 9:00 AM eastern time. Our goal for the day is to receive $1000 in donations and $500 in matching funds.

To donate to the Innovations in Peacemaking – Burundi, go to

Thanks for your support.


This is the IPB/ HROC June 2018 narrative Report. Eleven activities were conducted during this period of June including two HROC basic workshops with AGLI support,  four workshops within Bukire –Tubane project of  CRS Burundi,  four peace dialogues with QSN project,  and participating to the Global Giving Accelerator campaign .   

These activities aim at “Contributing to the Burundi peace consolidation through  trauma healing, social cohesion and economic resilience”.

Activities performed.

  1. HROC Basic workshops

Two HROC basic workshops were conducted during this month of June using African Great Lakes Initiative funds. One with Universality students and one with Buyenzi zone Red Cross volunteers.   


NKURUNZIZA Odette (Red Cross volunteer)

I lost my husband during the recent political crisis of 2015. Since our marriage, I had always woken up early in the morning to prepare his morning breakfast. But the day I lost him, I got a heavy sleep and I woke up when he had gone for work. I was disapointed by this act as it was my first time to miss his breakfast. I cooked very quickly for his lunch. When he reached home at twelve, he found that the food was not yet ready and he went back without eating as he was in hurry. Due to the fact, he didn’t eat either breakfast nor lunch. I went shopping to look for a good meal for super. When he came in the evening, I told him that the food could be ready as soon as possible. He told me that he was going out the gate for a short time and was coming back in few minutes. Just when he reached our gate, many guns were shooting and I ran to hide my little children in the room. When I was still calming down my children, one of our neibghor came in and told me, “You’re here when your husband is seriously wounded by guns!”. I ran out and I found he was evacuated to the hospital. Reaching there, he was in the emergency room. I tied to get in to see him and the physician urged me to wait. A few minutes after that I was told that he passed a way. I directly lost my mind. After a time I developed a kind of avoidance saying that he was not my husband who died. When I saw his corpse, I missed words to express myself and went back blaming myself saying, “If I had prepared supper quickly, he wouldn’t have left home that moment. He could be eating and miss those guns’ shootings.” And continuing by saying, “He died with much hunger.”

After the funeral, his parents and brothers kicked me out of our house and urged me to live in one bedroom extended to our main house. It was very small to host me and my children and I went to rent a convenient house. What makes me suffer more is when I think how my husband built the house and, when I missed money to pay the rent or food to fed my children, my own house is occupied by those who were suppose to support my life and that of my children.

Other thing hurting more is when children are asking me why his/her uncles did this act? I don’t have what to tell them as I avoid to sow hatred within the whole family.

After the lesson about trauma symptoms, I find myself traumatized. I committed myself to be practicing what we come to learn to see I should be completely healed as we learnt that “life must continue after traumatic experiences”.

Let congratulate IPB/HROC for having developped these teaching to help express their traumatic event. It’s my first time to express it and I feel released.

Thank you for your active listening

KWIZERA  Marie  Chantal (a university student)

I was very shocked by the death of my neice who was not sick. I was with her at 2:00 pm playing with her. After 2 hours I got information saying that she had passed away. Her death remained in my mind as whenever I saw her photo or heard a similar name, I went back where we were playing together two hours before she died and say,  “Oh she was telling me ‘bye’ without knowing it.” Since her death I have never played with my other remaining neices thinking they could die too. It was like a had anger to them. After this three days workshop and sharing this, I feel released and able to continue sharing about this death and able to play or joke with other neices. More thanks for IPB/HROC facilitators who invited me to participate in this workshop. I commit to share with my whole family about trauma, its consequences and how to recover from it.



From 18 to 29 June 2018, trauma healing activities were organized in both Bujumbura and Bubanza in the framework of Dukire -Tubane project of Catholic Relief Services -- Burundi using the Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC) methodology.  Dukire -Tubane projectaims to strengthen the resilience and cohesion of Burundian youth, targeting Bujumbura Mairie and Bubanza, two provinces most directly affected by the 2015 violence. Activities feature trauma healing and social cohesion workshops among youth, as well as between youth and local authorities, while forming youth savings groups and developing entrepreneurial skills to strengthen resilience.  

The following activities were carried in this month of June with the technical support of HROC program:

(i)                 A community healing companions workshop and setting network

(ii)               Complementing the social cohesion workshops

(iii)             Two workshops on principles and practices of trauma healing

(iv)             A cultural events/community celebration accompaniment

Accompanying the social cohesion workshops

         A five days workshop was organized from June 25 to 29th with local leaders and youth from Kamenge and Ngagara. The first four days were organized in separated settings and the two groups met together the last day for a whole day for a joint exchange on their own collaboration for the social cohesion as common goal.  HROC was present in both sides to share on how trauma is one of the hindrances of social cohesion in Burundi today in general and their own provinces and communities in particular. Along with the social cohesion facilitators on 3 B (Binding, Bonding & Bridging), one HROC facilitator was present for a complementary facilitation on trauma healing as one component to restore social cohesion.

Workshop on principles and practices of trauma healing

A one-day workshop was organized for the new Community Healing Companions respectively on June 26th in Bujumbura and 29th in Bubanza. That single day was dedicated to principles and practices of trauma healing. The agenda of this workshop includes (i) the cycle of violence and revenge and the way of breaking it, (ii) the uniqueness and particularity of HROC through its philosophy as a community healing program and (iii) listening practice:

Accompanying cultural event / community celebrations

Cultural events/community celebrations were organized in both Bubanza and Bujumbura during the month of June to provide an opportunity for beneficiaries to express what they have already gained from the project and sensitize to the whole community the benefit of social cohesion and the way to restore it in their own community. This was an opportune moment for representatives to present Dukire Tubane project to the community and appreciate how communities are joining it through its activities when the coordinator of HROC supported them by sensitizing what is trauma and its current consequences on social cohesion and how the project is providing appropriate solutions through trainings, permanent community healing facilitators and community healing companions. The counselor of the communal administrator presented his appreciations of the project. “The conflict and violence are going to reduce significantly in Gihanda commune and Bubanza,” said the counselor of Gihanga commune”

We should note that, a soccer match, a beating tambourine, cultural dances and sketches explaining the cycle of violence and revenge and the way of breaking it were presented , followed by personal testimonies.

Participants in all these peace activities promised to be good Healing Companions and good models in their communities and that they are ready to intervene and help people in need of healing accompaniment in their communities.


IPB/HROC met one hundred sixty three (163) people in training and a huge number of people in cultural event in this June 2018, among them one hundred forty five (89) male  and eighty four female (84). Note that one hundred fourty five (145) are youth and many of them in cultural events.

Thanks to donors and AGLI regional coordinator who continue advocating for the program in Burundi. Thank you Dave Zarembka for connecting IPB/HROC to new donors and Red Cross volunteers who looked for a place to conduct the two HROC basic workshop in a high school facilities in Buyenzi zone without any financial charge. Many thanks go to IPB for the positive collaboration and HROC program facilitators and new staff for their commitment.




Relaxation exercise.
Relaxation exercise.
The university students
The university students' group photo.
Group photo of new community healing companions.
Group photo of new community healing companions.

Innovations in Peacemaking -- Burundi (IPB) succeeded in its Global Giving's Accelerator goals of at least 40 donors and $5,000. IPB had 51 donors who contributed $5010. We just made it. Thanks so much to those 51 donors. Actually there were 66 donors. Due to the fact that the Burundi franc is no longer an international currency, $405 of small donations from 16 Burundians had to be rolled together and donated as one donation made internationally by David Bucura from the African Great Lakes Initiative.
Put this was a nail-biter like the best of the World Cup Football matches. Kenya where I live is 7 hours ahead of eastern daylight time in the United States. So when I woke up at 7:00 AM on Friday morning, the last day, it was just midnight in the US. At that point IPB needed 10 more donors and $1095 to succeed. I was discouraged by what we had to accomplish in that last day, but determined in that never give up sense. So I sent out an email to the Reports from Kenya listserve and my facebook page, asking for help to meet the goal.
By the time I went to bed at 10 PM Uganda time (where I was staying that night) IPB had received 7 contributions and $280. Therefore when I went to bed, IPB still needed 3 more donors and $815. I sent out another request to my Report from Kenya list serve asking people to respond. I said that I would get up at 5 AM, two hours before the end of the campaign. Immediately before I had logged off my computer, IPB received 4 new donations so we had reached the goal of the number of unique donors.
I was so concerned that instead of waking up at 5:00 AM I woke up at 3:30 AM, 3 1/2 hours before the end of the campaign. Wow, had received 18 more donations for $750 so IPB needed only $65 more dollars. The internet connection in Bududa, Uganda, was extremely slow and often unable to connect. By the time I looked again we received the last donation of $75 which put us over the top. I went to bed again relieved and happy.
There were 674 organizations that were participating in the Global Giving June Acceleration and only 88 or 13% succeeded. IPB was one of those 88. Again thanks so much for the response from the donors. Since IPB was only $10 over the needed goal, everyone who donated during the campaign can pat him/herself on the back as the one who made the project succeed.
There was one other interesting aspect to this accelerator campaign. Notice where the donations came from:
Burundi = $875 (17.5%)
Rwanda = $335 (6.7%)
Europe (including England) = $760 (15.2%)
United States = $3040 (60.7%)
This is the first time that a significant percentage (almost 25%) of the donations for peace projects have come from African itself. Elie Nahimana was the one responsible recruiting the donors from Burundi and Rwanda. Thanks, Elie, for your efforts.


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Organization Information

Innovations in Peacemaking Burundi

Location: Bujumbura - Burundi
Project Leader:
Elie Nahimana
Bujumbura, Burundi
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