Country Profile: Burundi

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

Burundi is one of the ten poorest countries in the world and has the lowest per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of any nation in the world.

Fast Facts:

  • Location: Landlocked state in central Africa, bordered by Rwanda, Tanzania and DRC
  • Area comparative: Slightly smaller than the state of Maryland
  • Language: Kirundi, French, Swahili
  • Religion: Christian 67%, indigenous beliefs 23%, Muslim 10%
  • Govt: Republic
  • Chief exports: Coffee, cotton, skins, and tin ore
  • Ethnic groups: Hutu 85%, Tutsi 14%, Twa (or Pymy) 1%
  • Access to safe water: 79%

HISTORY

Much of the Burundian current status can be attributed to civil war, corruption, lack of access to education, political instability, and the effect of HIV/AIDS. Political unrest is a large part of Burundi’s history due to the tension amidst the Tutsi and Hutu people, who have occupied Burundi since the country’s formation five centuries ago.

CULTURE:

Food:  Peek under the lid of any Burundian pot, and you’ll likely find red kidney beans. Cooked simply with a little red palm oil, onion, and chili powder, the nutrient-rich bean becomes a delight. Many Burundians mix it up by stirring in slices of sweet plantain, which can be found nearly anywhere. Snack foods include groundnut and sugarcane.

Sports: Football (soccer) is the national game of Burundi, and the country has competed in several African Cup of Nations championships. The second most popular sport of Burundi is basketball. Burundians have also made their international mark in track and field events, including a gold medal won by Vénuste Niyongabo at the 1996 world Olympics for the 5,000 meter race.

Music: One of the most popular forms of music in Burundi is drumming. In this country, drumming is a lot more than making music—it’s a great honor. Drumming in Burundi signifies the pride of the nation.

Five Greetings (In Kirundi):

  1. Hello:                                (Bite or gute)
  2. Goodbye:                        (Bye)
  3. What’s your name?:    (Witwa nde?)
  4. How are you?:               (Murakomeye?)
  5. Thank you:                     (Urakoze)

FUN FACTS:

With 93% of the roads being unpaved, the best way to describe transportation in Burundi is…bumpy! The most popular and accessible way to get from point A to point B is by Bicycle Taxi. Many Burundians travel by bike taxi on a daily basis.

WORLD VISION IN BURUNDI:

World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Burundi to enhance their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their communities, families, and children. Currently, 500 children are registered in the World Vision sponsorship program and in addition, World Vision operates several projects throughout the country including:

  • The Burundi Health Project seeks to provide preventive health care to vulnerable people and to promote health programs in local schools
  • The Peace and Reconciliation Project  aims to ensure effective, ongoing peace efforts in Burundi by targeting church leaders, parliament members, local associations, and the general population. Thousands of community members have attended seminars on civil rights, conflict management, and ways to resolve post-election conflict.