There have been inter-ethnic conflicts and wars in Burundi for over 10 years and this has had a negative impact on the socio-economic situation of the population. Burundi has witnessed violence, violations of different types, famine, displacement of persons, the destruction of the socio-economic infrastructure, children not being put in school or dropping out of school, unemployment, etc.
Given that moving to Europe is currently the dream for the majority of young people in Burundi, due to the unstable socio-economic and political situation in the country, ALDP (the Association to Fight Crime and Poverty) provides support for young people, organises outreach programmes and awareness raising/informative sessions on freedom of movement and residence in Europe for those who wish to migrate.
ALDP runs these awareness raising/informative sessions in schools and public spaces in Bujumbura. In total over 1,600 young people have participated in our activities. They tell us about their desire to travel to Europe to study, work and settle down. Our mission is to provide them with support for their migration.
We started doing this in 2014.
We have two different age groups/categories:
1. People aged 13-25 who are in education
2. People aged 13-45 who participate in the activities we organise in public spaces
The awareness raising sessions involve preparing young people for immigration by providing them with information about the harmful effects of clandestine immigration (the dangers, boats sinking, etc.) as well as the different realities of life in Europe (the rules to be met in order to be able to live and stay in Europe). We inform these young people through:
- accounts of experiences from people who have been to Europe (notably westerners and volunteers)
- music, dance and theatre
- messages written on banners and t-shirts
- social games, sports and cultural activities
- projecting documentaries
- radio broadcasts
We also use the support of experts, coordinators and volunteers in these efforts.
But through these activities we also prepare young people for building a future in the local area if they decide to stay - how to support themselves in the local area so they don't have to migrate, how to organise themselves so they can do the job they wish: office work in the local area, IT work, etc. We teach them about how to avoid being dependent and how to organise themselves in the local area.
8 volunteer coordinators from ALDP.
The local administration and schools as well as the APM ('A Portée de Mains') association from Angoulême, France http://apm-asso.com
Partnership with 'A Portée de Mains' (APM)
Informing people and raising awareness about the risks of clandestine immigration is not enough, so APM proposes that these young people take control of their futures in their own countries and that they be proactive. The APM association leads training and awareness raising initiatives and also offers support for projects by ensuring access to micro-credit. ALDP handles the monitoring of these projects with the beneficiaries.
Young people should be stakeholders and a force for proposals and initiatives; APM then helps them implement their ideas.
APM spent a year at ALDP's school leading awareness raising/informative and training initiatives with young Burundians. These sessions fitted into the information/awareness raising project about the risks of clandestine immigration in that the young people, once they have become aware of the risks, should be given support in order to be able to progress in their own country. These activities were co-led by ALDP and APM.
In order to continue with this local support for young Burundians APM decided to launch a call for projects. In January 2013 young people in Kinama, Burundi, answered this call for projects, the objective being to allow young people to organise themselves into groups in order to start income generating activities that would enable them to become financially independent. This initiative was part of a wider effort and was part of the continued awareness raising work (risks links to clandestine immigration, project management, etc.). These activities were co-led by ALDP and APM.
Launching a permanent information centre about immigration.
Thanks to these initiatives young people in Kinama have smashed the barrier of ignorance about freedom of movement and residence in Europe.
To obtain new awareness raising tools:
1. Sound system equipment (sound mixer, microphones, speakers, an amplifier and other accessories)
2. A podium
3. Printing messages on banners and t-shirts
4. Sports equipment (balls for football, volleyball, handball and basketball as well as kits and a scoreboard)
5. Generators and accessories
6. A USB radio for rehearsals
7. A second-hand open-body van (with a cabin) to transport the sound system and other equipment to our events in public spaces.
8. To add texts and multimedia pieces on the topics of immigration and local development to our physical and media libraries
Capacity building with our volunteer coordinators