PAMOJA project: lasting solutions for Burundian refugees in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo

In June 2024, AVSI, in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee and the Conseil des Organisations Féminines Agissantes en Synergie, officially launched the European Union-funded PAMOJA project to the community and local authorities. This initiative aims to support 7,000 people, both Burundian refugees and  host communities, in South Kivu.

Date 28.06.2024
Author by Mussa Stanis, AVSI Communication officer in Democratic Republic of the Congo

Challenges facing Burundian refugees in South Kivu: inadequate reintegration and access to basic needs

Following 2015 post-electoral violence in Burundi, thousands of Burundians sought refuge in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. Despite humanitarian efforts, many refugees in host communities still struggle to access essential services.

As of May 31, 2023, the UNHCR reported 45,234 Burundian refugees and asylum seekers registered in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Of these, 32,886 were settled in Lusenda camp and Mulongwe site, while around 5,078 resided outside camps in areas like Lemera, Ruzizi, Uvira, and Nundu, where basic needs are lacking. 

The humanitarian efforts primarily targeted those in camps, focusing on shelter, health, water, sanitation, hygiene, nutrition, education, and protection services. The PAMOJA project targets the population outside the camps focusing on livelihood, security, and access to basic needs, supporting integration into formal and informal education, promoting social cohesion, and enhancing protective environments, particularly for adolescents at risk of gender-based violence.

With the European Union quality integration of 3,500 Burundians refugee living outside camps in South Kivu Province

In collaboration with the International Rescue Committee and the Conseil des Organisations Féminines Agissantes en Synergie, AVSI Foundation through the 30-months PAMOJA project funded by the European Union aims to integrate Burundian refugees living in host communities, using a holistic approach to ensure long-term sustainability and supporting a total number of 7,000 people.

Key objectives of PAMOJA project

  • Promoting social cohesion and integration: by targeting Burundian refugee, the project aims to strengthen peaceful coexistence through Problem-Driven Iterative Adaptation. The initiative includes engaging 1,200 local authorities, civil society, and refugee advocates in collaboratively finding local solutions to enhance social cohesion and peaceful cohabitation.
  • Education and access to basic services through capacity building and educational awareness. The project seeks to sensitise 9,000 parents on inclusion and gender-sensitive, identifying and supporting 800 out-of-school children, providing catch-up school courses for 2,700 children, train 320 teachers and directors in didactics to improve reading and writing skills. This involve providing educational kits and rehabilitating 32 schools to reintegrate non-enrolled children and offering conditional financial assistance to 120 families to ensure school retention.
  • Economic challenges and livelihoods: the project aims to improve socio-economic conditions by providing better access to income and livelihoods through capacity building of 800 household heads in sustainable agricultural best practices to enhance economic autonomy and formed 15 Village Savings and Credit Associations to enhance financial management.
  • Socio-economic reintegration of vulnerable youth: facilitate the social and economic integration of 60 youth aged 15 to 25 who are not enrolled in school through vocational training and entrepreneurship.
  • Strengthening women's leadership: empower 1,440 women to actively participate and influence decision-making processes within local governance. This initiative includes creating safer and learning environment for interactive sessions on best practices for social cohesion and peaceful coexistence.
  • Strengthening the economic and decision-making power of women through women-led community – based organization:  empower 200 women economically and socially to foster gender equality within households and communities. 

The PAMOJA project exemplifies AVSI’s commitment to support refugees and their integration into host communities, paving the way for a brighter, more self-sufficient future. By promoting social cohesion, enhancing educational opportunities, and improving socio-economic conditions, the project aims to empower individuals and foster sustainable development. This holistic approach aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly in eradicating poverty (SDG 1), zero hunger (SDG 2), ensuring quality education (SDG 4), achieving gender equality (SDG 5), decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), and promoting peaceful and inclusive societies (SDG 16).