Smart reintegration in Burundi

Burundi reintegration
Since implementation of the approach in late 2010, the program has created 17,000 short-term jobs for ex-combatants, returnees and vulnerable households. Photo: UNDP

Looking at reintegration as a long-term process, Burundi introduced an innovative scheme that is yielding enormous benefits for ex-combatants, returnees and the communities that receive them.

The program consists of three phases: in the first phase, temporary jobs are created based on community development plans that identify infrastructure rehabilitation needs in communities. Workers receive an average daily salary of $2.40 per day and are obligated to save one third, or $.80.


In the second phase, people have a choice between leaving the program with their savings and pooling them with others to develop a joint project. In the latter case, UNDP would invest three times the amount collectively saved. This not only provides start-up capital for the economic activity or small business, but also results in risk-sharing among UNDP and the group members.

Highlights

  • Burundi's reintegration scheme has created 17,000 short-term jobs for ex-combatants, returnees and vulnerable community members, over one third of them women, since 2010
  • 6,658 people have joined the scheme in its second phase, 44 percent of them women
  • The program will be scaled up to the national level and is already being used in Haiti and Yemen, while UNDP Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone have discussed its adoption



In the third phase, these joint ventures are strengthened through partnerships with micro-finance institutes, business incubator initiatives and other services to ensure they become sustainable.



Since implementation of the approach in late 2010, the program has created 17,000 short-term jobs for ex-combatants, returnees and vulnerable households in host communities, over one third of them for women. In addition, 6,658 people have joined the second phase, 44 percent of them women in eight of Burundi’s provinces with the highest numbers of internally displaced.



The success of the program is attributable to its emphasis on short-term job creation that create community dividends, savings and the entrepreneurial spirit of the participants. The program has not only improved livelihoods but also created relationships and built trust among returnees, ex-combatants and community members.



The program will be scaled up to the national level and is already being used in Haiti and Yemen, while UNDP Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone have discussed its adoption. The approach will also be used as a means to engage the private sector in the rehabilitation of economic infrastructure destroyed and damaged in conflict.



For instance, the Yemen office has already created 3 pilot projects engaging the private sector and the Government’s public works program as well as developing strategic partnerships with two micro-finance institutes that will provide loans to unemployed youth participating in the initiative.