Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranked 184 out of 188 countries on the UN’s Human Development Index (2015). Burundi is a small land-locked country in Eastern Africa with a population of 8 million. It is the world's most rural country and ninety percent of the population rely on agriculture and subsistence level farming. Since independence in 1962, Burundi has been plagued by ethnic and political conflict. The country is still recovering from a civil war that devastated civil society structures, contributed to high illiteracy rates and poor health care, exacerbated gender disparity and plunged large numbers of the population into abject poverty. Thousands of people died and others were driven from their homes, leaving women and children in particular vulnerable to gender based violence or abduction.
Five Talents has worked in Burundi since 2008 to support literacy and business skills training and the development of community savings groups. Our programme helps members learn to read, write and manage their finances, as well as develop skills and attitudes they can apply in their homes and businesses. Five Talents works closely with the Anglican Church of Burundi and the Mother’s Union women’s ministry.
To date, our programme has reached over 40,000 participants in Burundi and 200,000 family members have benefitted from the programme. These benefits include improved household income, as well as more adequate food, education, and medical care.
Five Talents provides business skills training as well as savings and credit group formation to the literacy programme participants. Members have access to mentorship, basic financial services, and emergency funds. 80% of these groups are now self-managing, and 8 out of 10 participants are female.
The programme is managed by Five Talents USA office in partnership with Mothers’ Union. Read more about Burundi by visiting their website.