December 19, 2017

Burundi Peace Builders Leadership Academy: Jobs & Security

With peace building in Burundi in mind, SPARK has collaborated with UNDP and the Burundi Business Incubator Network (BBIN) to promote communal security, peace and social cohesion amongst youth most affected by the 2015 socio-political crisis. A group of 600 young were identified in the regions of Cibitoke, Kamenge, Kanyosha, Musaga, Mutakura and Ngagara. These 600 were narrowed down to 60 people, who were selected to participate in the Peace Builders Leadership Academy; a series of leadership and entrepreneurship trainings.

Over several months, these young people went from unemployed youth to skilled leaders in work and social life. They each developed a unique business plans, participated in life skills workshops, learned how to make personal budgets and become leaders in their communities by setting personal leadership goals. In order to expand the young people’s impact into their communities, the 60 youth completed trainings on community savings and loans, results based management, as well as advocacy and the use of media. The aim of the course was to enable the youth to create 60 bankable business plans; 60 savings and loans clubs; and 6 effective action plans to contribute to communal security, social cohesion and the development of their respective communities.

Business ideas to employers in a matter of months
The business ideas were imaginative and enterprising! They ranged ranged from retail to wholesale, agribusiness, animal breeding to restaurants and bars,  as well as beauty salons, and molding and welding services. The SPARK Burundi team, in collaboration with BBIN, have coached and provided team-building activities in preparation for the launch of the 60 youth leader’s respective businesses. Furthermore, a guarantee fund of USD 61,000 has been established to assist each enterprise in progressively scaling their business. On November 21st 2017, it was reported that all 60 enterprises had been created and a total of 540 jobs had been made! 

Securing the community
The communal security plans that the young people from each region worked on together demonstrated the areas within communities that could be improved. In some places the youth identified environmental protection as needing improvement, and elsewhere the security plans focused on assisting unemployed youth and youth affected by drugs and illegal brewery. Amazingly, the 60 youth leaders have since organised dialogue events, community cleaning projects, sports tournaments, talent shows, life skills and vocational trainings, to address the issues in their communities.

Taking their new roles in their communities further, the new, young leaders and entrepreneurs took announced their communal security plans to key stakeholders in their zones. In Mutakura, Cibitoke, Ngagara and Musaga, 360 more young people, led by 40 of the graduates of the Peace Builders Leadership Academy, organised a series of action group launches. These events involved local administrators, community elders, media houses, private enterprises and NGO representatives. As a result of the event, young participants were offered employment opportunities, while others made new partnership agreements.

Graduation from the Peace Builders Leadership Academy
A final evaluation of the young people’s contribution to the development of their communities, through enterprise and security, will be conducted soon. And an official graduation ceremony for the successful youth participants in the leadership academy will be held on the 24th January 2018.