Burundi, while having recently experienced political upheaval, has an economy that is recovering with a growth rate of 2 per cent recorded in 2018. Of the estimated 11 million population, adolescents make up 25 per cent and children overall a total of 55 per cent.
Schools for Africa (SFA) is a global initiative, started by Peter Krämer, which aims to achieve quality education across sub-Saharan Africa, ensuring that all children, including the most remote and marginalized children, are learning and gaining the skills for succeeding in life and work. SFA convenes businesses, governments and individuals; and has a proven track record in partnering with the private sector to achieve education results for children. The challenges Burundi is emerging out of the 2015 socio-political crisis, during which time many donors withdrew support. In response, UNICEF and the Peter Krämer Foundation are working in tandem with partners and the government to rebuild trust to ensure sustainable investment is in place so that children continue to receive basic services.
However, key challenges remain:
• Poverty – Nearly three quarters (75 per cent) of the population lives below the poverty line of $1.90 a day;
• Lack of inclusion – Although Burundi has introduced education reforms enabling the achievement of universal primary and lower secondary education, vulnerable children, including young mothers, children with disabilities and internally displaced persons and returnees tend to be excluded;
• High associated costs to education – costs such as for school uniforms, books and transport, remain a problem and particularly affect poor families;
• Climatic shocks – Burundi is prone to climatic shocks ranging from flooding, landslides and drought to disease outbreaks such as malaria and cholera;
• Insecurity – Pockets of insecurity and violence remain and nearly 380,000 Burundians have fled the country and live in exile.
Apart from supporting adults education, a specific foucus on girls empowerment and enhancing the overall quality of education the Peter Krämer Foundation – along with UNICEF – shines a light on children with disabilities
In Burundi, disabled children are often hidden from society, with only three inclusive schools currently in operation in the entire country. Awareness needs to be raised among communities highlighting the
importance of enabling children with disabilities to go to school. The Peter Krämer Foundation and UNICEF are committed to building the capacity of the newly created Inclusive Education Department of the Ministry of Education through fostering
learning exchanges with specialized partners in inclusive education, building a model inclusive school in Bujumbura, and training specialized teachers – a significant start for inclusive education in a country where
disabilities and special needs remain difficult to accept and understand.