Image depicting Rebuilding In Burundi
Photo: WFP/Giulio d'Adamo

Rebuilding In Burundi

Burundi Has the Second Lowest GDP in the World

After more than a decade of social and political conflict, Burundi faces significant food security and nutrition challenges: extreme poverty, gender inequality, frequent natural disasters, political instability, and poor access to clean water, health care and education. These factors make Burundi the ninth worst food security crisis in the world.


Half the population is chronically food insecure


Malnutrition costs the country $102M every year


56 percent of children are too short for their age

Square photograph of Poverty Detailed photograph of Poverty
Photo: WFP/Rein Skullerud


Out of 188 countries, Burundi is one of the poorest in the world, ranking 185th in the 2018 human development index. 65 percent of the population lives in poverty. The majority of the country’s poor families live in rural areas, where living conditions are harsh and people rely heavily on small farms for food and informal employment for small amounts of money. Children from poor families are often taken out of school to help in the fields, which perpetuates the cycle of under-education, poverty and hunger. Today, one in three Burundians is in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

Detailed photograph of Natural Disasters
Photo: WFP/Rein Skullerud

Natural Disasters

Unfortunately, recurring drought and a hilly landscape make Burundi especially vulnerable to natural disasters, particularly floods and mudslides. During the rainy season, hillsides turn into mudslides, creating large crevasses where running water carries soil away. This makes growing crops exceedingly difficult. In fact, the total amount of food Burundi produces in a year would only feed its population for 55 days.

Detailed photograph of Population Density
Photo: WFP/Laura Melo

Population Density

Despite being one of the smallest countries in Africa, Burundi is also one of the most densely populated, with roughly 600 people per square mile. Refugees from DRC contribute to competition and disputes over scarce natural resources. This increased demand for land forces the poorest and most vulnerable populations, mainly women, to live in the most degraded areas.

Helping Burundi Build Resilience

WFP has been present in Burundi since 1968, working to support the local government’s efforts to improve food and nutrition security.

Photo: WFP
Emergency Food

WFP delivers immediate emergency assistance to people living in the most food-insecure areas. In June 2019, this added up to more than 2,300 tons of food.

Photo: WFP/Rocío Franco
Climate Adaptation

WFP works closely with the Burundi government to build long-term and short-term strategies to help the country withstand and overcome future extreme weather.

Photo: WFP/Giulio d'Adamo
Food for Assets

WFP’s Food for Assets program provides much-needed food to Burundians in exchange for their work on community assets like roads, dams and irrigation systems.

Photo: WFP/Rein Skullerud
Family Farmers

WFP supports Burundi’s farmers, particularly women, to teach them new techniques, increase their productivity and create business opportunities.

Photo: WFP/Giulio d'Adamo
Early Nutrition

Approximately 12,000 malnourished children under the age of 5 and 8,200 pregnant and nursing women receive specialized nutritious food to provide them with vital nutrients.

Photo: WFP/Hugh Rutherford
School Meals

Only one third of Burundi’s children currently complete middle school. WFP’s school meals program reaches more than 600,000 children every day, keeping them in the classroom.

Photo: WFP/Hugh Rutherford
Empowering Women

Burundi ranks nearly last in the global Gender Inequality Index. WFP works within local customs to promote gender equality, particularly around marriage and health care.

Photo: WFP/Giulio d'Adamo
Building Resilience

WFP works to increase Burundi’s ability to cope with and recover from crises, including establishing village savings and loan associations and widening education on family planning.

Stories of Hunger & Hope

Photo: WFP/Laura Melo In Burundi, What Do Farmers and Food Waste Have in Common?

90 percent of Burundi's population is entirely dependent on agriculture, yet the country doesn't produce nearly enough food to feed everyone. Cutting food loss can help.

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10 Facts About Conflict & Hunger in Burundi

Here are 10 facts about Burundi and hunger to help you better understand the challenges and opportunities facing the nation.

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Photo: WFP/Djaounsede Madjiangar "I Thought You Needed a Lot of Money to Eat Well. I Was Wrong."

90% of the Burundian population depends on agriculture for their survival. Their daily diet —for both children and adults — consists mainly of cassava leaves and Irish potatoes.

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But there is so much more to be done. As of July 2019:
3.9M Burundians are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance
WFP needs $14.3M to continue its lifesaving operations for the next six months
Take action today