Happy Peace Day! The United Nations established the International Day of Peace with the goal of humanity putting peace above all of our differences and working towards a better world.
This year, the theme of Peace Day is “Climate Action for Peace” in order to raise awareness of the threat climate change poses to international peace and security. According to the UN, natural disasters – which are exacerbated by climate change – currently displace 3 times as many people as conflicts. The food security of communities around the world is increasingly threatened by the salinization of water and crops, which is negatively impacting public health. These climate change-driven mass displacement and escalating tensions over increasingly scarce resources are affecting every nation in the world, and Burundi is no exception.
According to the World Food Program (WFP), the prevalence of chronic malnutrition in Burundi is the highest in the world, with over 50% of Burundi’s population identified as chronically food insecure and 56% of children suffering from stunted growth. Poverty, poor access to clean water, and worsening access to health care and education drive food insecurity in Burundi, with a lack of diversity in diets contributing to the situation. On top of this, Burundi’s hilly landscape makes the country vulnerable to droughts, floods, and mudslides. As the majority of Burundi’s poor live in rural areas and rely on subsistence agriculture, such natural disasters are a dire threat to their livelihood.
We at Burundi Friends International are doing our part to assist the Burundian community in meeting their food security needs. Through our G20’s savings initiative, small groups can pool their savings toward projects like planting tomatoes and rice or raising chickens or rabbits. The Women Empowered (WE) savings groups done in partnership with Project Concern International (PCI) facilitate financial planning and allow group members to invest in one another’s projects through micro-loans, enriching the level of economic opportunity available. Our English Clubs provide students across all 18 of Burundi’s provinces with a free learning environment and access to technology and books. This can help native Burundians connect with the global community and develop their communities economically and agriculturally.
Climate change poses the largest threat to poor communities like those in Burundi, where the people live stretched beyond their limits and have little room to adjust when disaster strikes. And while large-scale policy change is essential to keep climate change under control, the needs of those most vulnerable to climate change must be addressed as well. By providing Burundian communities with educational and economic opportunities, we can not only facilitate the agency needed to break out of the cycle of poverty but also increase the ability to adapt when crisis strikes.
Please click here if you wish to make a donation in support our continued efforts in Burundi. Thank you!