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Burundi is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It covers an area of 27,834 km², which is slightly smaller than the state of Maryland, and its population is 8.3 million. The official languages of Burundi are Kirundi and French. Burundi has many similarities with Rwanda — size, geography, ethnic background and even history.
Burundi has suffered from a series of tribal based wars that have raged off and on since 1972. Some of the worst violence occurred in 1993, after the democratically elected president was assassinated after only 100 days in office. During the years that followed, more than 200,000 people were killed and another 200,000 were displaced either internally or to other countries. Since 2004, there has been relative peace, but Burundi faces the formidable tasks of reviving a shattered economy and of forging national unity. The instability over the last decades has hampered development, keeping the economy weak and preventing many of the people from receiving an education. Churches have also struggled as there have been few opportunities to train leaders.
ALARM in Burundi
ALARM has been active in Burundi since the beginning of the ministry—the need for leadership development and reconciliation in Burundi are as great as in any country ALARM serves. ALARM’s office is located in the capital of Bujumbura, but ALARM holds conferences and workshops in all regions of the country.
Since the fighting ended in 2004, churches are rebuilding and refugees are returning to the country. ALARM is working hard to make sure the church leaders are equipped to disciple their congregations, to help them heal from the trauma of war, and to plant new churches. ALARM meets these needs through its three year Pastoral Leadership Training Institute (PLTI) and other conferences. A similar program for women leaders, the Women’s Leadership Training Institute (WLTI), graduates its first class of leaders in 2010.
In 2005, the government of Burundi heard about ALARM’s work and realized that the entire country needed reconciliation and peacebuilding. Since then, ALARM has been working to train community leaders and church leaders together in these topics in every province of Burundi. ALARM has also had the privilege to train Burundi’s police and army officers. This is instrumental in the country’s future because the government melded together nine different rebel groups to make one national army and one police force. They need to learn to work together, forgive each other, deal with a civilian population and become models for the community.
- Deogratias Nshimiyimana, Country Director
- Mrs. Justine Nibogora, Orphan Care Program Coordinator
- Ndaboroheye Christine, Community Transformation Program Coordinator
- Bigirimana Deus, Peacebuilding & Reconciliation Program Coordinator
- Mbanzendore Joelle, Administrative Assistant
- Mpitabavuma Theogene, Logistician and Driver