WILPF is pleased to announce the recent creation of a new National Group, WILPF Burundi.
WILPF Burundi Group has emerged from the gathering of strong and motivated women united by the common aim of improving women’s situation in Burundi. Their objective is that of contributing to positive change in the country towards peace and stability.
A small landlocked country in east-central Africa, Burundi gained independence from Belgium in 1962. However, its history as an independent country has been plagued by ethic tensions and violence. A civil war sparked in the 1990s claiming the lives of more than 300.000 people. The country is still affected by the consequences of the conflict with an unstable political and security situation affecting the quality of life in Burundi today.
Additionally, the international community continues to express concerns over serious human rights violations, including violence against women and the impunity for sexual violence. In particular, the country has experienced increasing instability and violence since 2015 when unrest sparked after the president successfully run for a third term.
Burundians are today confronted with the task of promoting social cohesion and peace while rebuilding the country.
It is in on this backdrop that WILPF Burundi Group has started its activities. After having attended a regional conference in Cameroon in 2015, where they met other WILPF members, the group started to move its first steps into registering as a national NGO and connecting to the whole WILPF family across the world.
We have recently reached out to the Group to find out more about their reasons to join WILPF and their ambitions for promoting women’s rights and peace in Burundi.
What was the main reason to become part of the WILPF family?
The main reason to become part of WILPF was the ambition to work together within the big family, because WILPF pursues the same objectives as we do. It is easier to work together than working separately.
How would you define the place of women in nowadays-Burundian society?
Women in nowadays-Burundian society are exposed to violence and discrimination. Comparing to the situation of men, women in Burundi are considered inferior to men and they are denied some rights such as land inheritance for instance. However comparing to the past situation, nowadays women are aware of their situation, they are willing to change their status and make their situation better.
According to you, WILPF Burundi Group, what is the major problem that women face in Africa these days?
These days, African women face the problem of discrimination and a lack of professional and economic opportunities that leads to poverty. Women in Africa face also violence and are victims of human rights violations.
Knowing that the rate of violence against women is still high in Burundi, in what ways do you believe that WILPF Burundi Group will make a difference in addressing the root causes of violence in communities around the country?
We assume that WILPF Burundi can make a difference in addressing the root causes of violence. We hope that we will gain more experience from other WILPF Groups and National Sections. The issues they have been dealing with, like violence against women, and their successes will serve us as an example to follow. WILPF Burundi will also build networks with other local, regional and international organisations in order to tackle different issues, like violence against women. These networks will hopefully help us to have a common strategy to face those problems and work together.
What difficulties have you faced up until now and what challenges do you believe that WILPF Burundi Group will experience in the future?
The difficulties we have faced are mainly related to the post-conflict situation of our country. For example our efforts to build peace are challenged and the results are slow to be met. Despite all the difficulties that we face, we don’t give up; we go forward and stay positive. Another problem that we have is related to a lack of donors that would provide financial support to our activities.
What are the aspirations of WILPF Burundi Group for the upcoming year, and what do you hope to achieve?
During the upcoming year, WILPF Burundi Group plans to recruit other members from different regions of the country. The objective of WILPF Burundi Group is to work on women’s rights and improve the legal situation among illiterate women; to do advocacy in favour of women whose rights are violated and who are most of the time victims of violence. We will work in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Human Rights in order to implement the UN Security Council Resolution1325. What we aim at achieving during the upcoming year is also to establishment WILPF in Burundi.