We’re in Burundi, giving children and young people equal opportunity to reach their full potential.

Set within the African Great Lakes region, Burundi is a small landlocked nation with a long and complex history of instability and conflict. Considered one of the most disadvantaged and poorest nations in the world, the children and young people of Burundi face multiple challenges; from climate pressure and natural disasters to weak infrastructure and limited access to essential services such as health care and education.

UNICEF has been on the ground for over 60 years, working alongside our partners to implement long-term development programs. We’re focusing on keeping mums and their babies healthy, protecting children from harm, and ensuring young people stay in school so that they can reach their full potential.

1 in 5

girls aged 15-24 years old are illiterate.

54%

of children under five years old are stunted (a form of malnutrition).

A young girl jumping across flooded streets in Burundi© UNICEF/UN0436094/Prinsloo

Burundi’s many challenges

The children and young people of Burundi are facing multiple challenges; high unemployment, political instability and limited access to essential services such as health care, education and safe water and sanitation. Sadly, Burundi has one of the highest rates of stunting in the world – a form of malnutrition where a child does not receive enough food and nutrients. For many children violence, abuse and exploitation is a daily reality, with limited to no social services in place to protect them.

For many young people, family expectations and responsibilities weigh heavily on them, forcing them to drop out of school. In fact, less than one in ten girls complete high school as many are expected to carry the domestic burden, including collecting water and firewood, which is often an hour’s walk away.

These issues are only being exacerbated by the country’s weak socio-economic situation, fragile security situation, widespread poverty, climate pressures and natural disasters.

How we’re protecting the rights of children in Burundi

UNICEF is in Burundi working with local partners to deliver health services, clean, safe water, quality education, life skills training and child protection. When emergency strikes, we’re on the ground providing humanitarian help to ensure every child is healthy, educated and safe.

Since 2020, UNICEF Australia has been supporting the Creatable program in Burundi, which teaches creativity, innovation and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) as a means of solving practical real-world problems to high school students. This has only been possible thanks to the generous support of the Australian public and the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

97%

of students participating in Creatable reported feeling more confident to apply STEM to solving real-world problems.

99%

of students participating in the Creatable program report having an increased interest in STEM.

Burundi students learning STEM in a classroom.© UNICEF Burundi/2021/Finch

Creatable: The STEM program that's changing lives in Burundi

In Burundi, 90 per cent of people live in rural areas. Many families still cook on open fires, which uses a lot of firewood and causes health risks due to smoke inhalation. Women and girls were often responsible for collecting firewood, which can put them in danger and take time away from their studies.  

17-year-old Jean and his classmates wanted to change this. They are part of the Creatable program supported by UNICEF which teaches innovation and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to high school students.

Local teachers are trained to deliver the program, and students are encouraged to solve real-world problems in their lives. One of the solutions was to help every home have a safe and affordable stove; the rocket stove.

Burundi students building a stove
After lessons on theories of rocket stoves, students Gislaine and Jean learn how to build a rocket stove.
© UNICEF Burundi/2021/Finch

In Burundi, we're making a difference in:

Help the children and young people of Burundi

By donating today, you can help young people like Gislaine stay in school and participate in the Creatable program, which encourages students to solve real-world problems in their lives.

A young girl from Burundi collecting firewood with a machete
© UNICEF Burundi/2021/Finch