New $5 million initiative to fight for civil rights

Zarir Mérat Hughes, Cordaid Country Director

Zarir Mérat Hughes, Cordaid Country Director

The local organization Cordaid launched on 10 November a new initiative to fight for the rights of Burundians. The project, supported by the Netherlands, will run over a period of 5 years and has a budget of €4,800,000.

The “Strategic Partnership for lobbying and advocacy for the consideration of community concerns” will be executed by civil society organizations in partnership with Cordaid and will work in three areas: access to justice for all, exclusivity and the inclusion of gender in peace and security, and empowerment and youth employment.
According to World Bank data, average value of unemployment for Burundi between 1991-2014 was 7.18 % with a minimum of 6.9 % in 2014 and a maximum of 7.3 % in 2005.

Zarir Mérat Hughes, Cordaid’s Country Director said that one of the key priority areas identified in Burundi is the participation of women in decision making. “Women’s skills are not recognized enough and they need to be promoted to considerably be part of the peace and security process from the lowest to the highest level of society,” says Hughes.

Hughes says that, after the discussions held during the inauguration of the project, issues raised by Cordaid partners showed that youth employment is one of the major concerns of the Burundian society. “This project aims to educate the main actors in youth empowerment since it cannot alone solve unemployment problems in Burundi,” he says.

He says access to justice is also a priority in Burundi because there is a category of people that is neglected. “People living in rural areas have less access to justice than those living in towns. Our purpose is to think together with Burundi actors how to improve the situation”, says Hughes.

He hopes that at the end of the project, different decision makers such as Burundi lawmakers will have the necessary tools to improve the situation.