WFP/Challiss McDonough

The Situation

Burundi is emerging from more than a decade of socio-political conflict and still faces food security and nutrition challenges. The high population density contributes to competition and disputes over scarce natural resources. As a result of the demand for land, the poorest and most vulnerable populations—mainly women—generally depend on marginal lands and lack the capacity to cope with severe shocks like droughts, epidemics and floods, which often claim lives and undermine livelihoods.

Domestic food production is insufficient to meet the needs of the population, making the country vulnerable to economic shocks and fluctuating agricultural prices. Malnutrition is a major concern. Though research shows some improvement, food security and nutrition indicators remain alarming. The average national stunting prevalence stands at almost 50 percent, and most provinces in the north and east suffer from even higher rates ranging between 50 percent and 60 percent.

In 2015, following violent political protests and an attempted coup d’etat, hundreds of thousands of Burundians fled their homes to nearby countries, including Rwanda and Tanzania.

World Food Programme's Work

WFP has been present in Burundi since 1968. WFP aims to support the government’s efforts to improve food and nutrition security and to promote development by:

  • Providing school meals to preschool and primary schoolchildren in food-insecure areas to increase enrollment, attendance and retention rates. WFP is supporting government initiatives to develop a school meals policy and to design and implement homegrown school meals, which feed schoolchildren and provide income to smallholder farmers.
  • Supporting nutrition activities aimed at preventing stunting for children aged 6 months to 23 months, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers and nutrition support for people living with HIV on antiretroviral treatment.
  • Supporting community recovery and development activities, with a particular focus on encouraging the participation of women in interventions. WFP provides in-kind food assistance during the lean season—when resources are scarce—and cash and food vouchers during the post-harvest season.

In response to the current humanitarian crisis in the region, WFP also provides emergency food assistance to Congolese refugees, host communities, as well as Burundian migrants who have been expelled from nearby Rwanda and Tanzania.

  • Food is given through targeted distributions, nutrition activities, school meals and asset creation programs.
  • This assistance is a combination of food and food vouchers.

WFP is also providing emergency food assistance to Burundians who have fled to nearby Rwanda and Tanzania, after violent political protests and an attempted coup d’état in 2015 forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

Finally, WFP is launching a pilot of the safe access to fuel and energy (SAFE) project. The SAFE program aims to promote sustainable energy and provide alternative income-generating activities. This pilot will support 3,000 households in the Bugendana commune in Gitega province and will progressively scale up to reach 10,000 homes and 150 primary schools in other areas.

Articles About Burundi

WFP/Tala Loubieh

Faces of The Displaced: Introducing Ibrahim

As the ranks of the world's displaced swell, the photo of an injured boy in Aleppo, Syria has recently captured global attention. He joins a heartbreaking mosaic of global need…

M.J. Altman

3 Refugee Crises You Might Not Know About

Driven by ongoing civil conflict and gang violence, refugee crises from Asia to Central America are increasingly drawing the world’s attention beyond ongoing conflict hotspots in the Middle East. With…

Ash Kosiewicz

Faces of Hope: Ernest in Burundi

Every year, the U.N. World Food Programme delivers lifesaving food assistance to 80 million people across the globe, transforming lives from hunger to hope. Here is one such story. Eighteen-year-old Ernest Ndayikengurukiye was…

M.J. Altman

10 Facts About Conflict & Hunger in Burundi

Today the U.N. Human Rights Chief warned that Burundi is "at a bursting point, on the very cusp of civil war." Since April, more than 220,000 people have fled ongoing…

Katherine Frank

Faces of The Displaced: Estella in Burundi

Every year, the U.N. World Food Programme delivers food assistance to 80 million men, women and children across the globe, lifting families out of poverty and hunger when they need…

World food program usa

An Influx of Burundian Refugees Flee to Neighboring Countries

Since April nearly 100,000 Burundians have fled political unrest into neighboring Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Protests following a presidential nomination for Burundi's upcoming election, as well as an…

Aliya Karim