Mishiha’s solidarity group: The success of an impactful partnership!

The economic crisis is one of the major challenges that Burundi is constantly facing. Unfortunately, it largely affects the most vulnerable people, the majority of whom are rural. In a survey conducted by ISTEEBU (Institut de Statistiques et d’Etudes Economiques du Burundi) from March 2020 to February 2021, it was stated that 43.7% of households, i.e. almost half of the Burundian population, are poor (income poverty). Moreover, the proportion of the poor population is higher in rural areas (56.7%) than in urban areas (22.5%).

Photo SAD, UNICEF Team Visit – SAD Cankuzo, April 2022

In order to raise the economic situation of rural households, specifically in the province of Cankuzo, 33 solidarity groups have been set up, accompanied by social action for development throughout the province through the project “Strengthening the community child protection system and supporting the care of children on the move or at risk in the provinces of Cankuzo and Ruyigi” funded by UNICEF.

The project’s objectives include supporting vulnerable households through the creation and support of solidarity groups in the province of Cankuzo. These groups allow their members to strengthen the bonds of solidarity and social cohesion, to help each other, to facilitate access to resources in order to alleviate certain socio-economic problems they face. The solidarity groups set up, work on a daily basis to ensure access to basic social services and the protection of the most vulnerable and marginalized children within their communities.  One of the solidarity groups located in Mishiha commune, in Cankuzo province, stands out.

In action for a year now, the solidarity group has already reached a rather laudatory level and shows an unparalleled dynamism towards its very admirable evolution not only in terms of savings and support for its members, but also for its commitment to offer a protective environment to children at risk of abuse, violence and exploitation, including the risks of trafficking and smuggling. It consists of 25 members who meet once a week with the aim of strengthening their life skills, mutual aid and social cohesion.

Photo SAD, meeting of members of the solidarity group in Mishiha, July 2022

“The group is a way for us to help and support each other with the advantage of developing ourselves financially. We are all equal and have the same rights and duties towards one another. We all owe each other respect and honesty which earned us to count in one year, an amount of 5,345,000 BIF” .

Group member

In a locality where children are at risk of being trafficked as a result of parental poverty and their proximity to Tanzania, one of the group’s missions is to fight this scourge and help child survivors of trafficking rebuild their school lives. According to interviews conducted by Agence Burundaise de Presse (ABP), it has been reported that several children are being transported to the United Republic of Tanzania for various forced labour. Paulin Sindayigaya, administrator of this commune, revealed that the majority of child victims of this trafficking are between seven and twelve years old.

In addition, several members have a livestock acquired through the loan contracted in the solidarity group, most of whom have already repaid the sum. The success of this group led to the creation of a second group framed by the first. It is clear that so far, the project has had a remarkable positive impact within the Mishiha community.


Photo SAD, visit member of the solidarity group ; Mishiha, May 2022

“Thanks to the group, we can now get ourselves and our children treated in case of illness. Our children are in school, have the minimum necessary survival thanks to the income-generating activities in which we have invested, and are now protected from the risks of trafficking. We have set up a shop, we grow and sell our products, all while paying our taxes.”

Member of the group

In addition, several members have a livestock acquired through the loan contracted in the solidarity group, most of whom have already repaid the sum. The success of this group led to the creation of a second group framed by the first. It is clear that so far, the project has had a remarkable positive impact within the Mishiha community.

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