Photo by Melissa Flores/BFI

Burundi has experienced decades of armed violence and civil war since gaining independence in 1962. Political instability, extreme poverty and the lack of access to educational and economic opportunities for women and youth continue to be major destabilizing factors.

"[Saving] was not my habit. Now I am able to use my income wisely, thinking for the future."
- Odette Nimbona, WE group member

PCI works with local partner Burundi Friends International (BFI) to pilot the Women Empowered (WE) methodology in Burundi. WE is an evidence-based social and economic empowerment platform that enables women to save money, develop financial literacy, invest in income-generating activities and become leaders in their families and communities. In 2018, a total of 12 WE groups were formed, whose 273 members saved over $5,500 and loaned more than $9,300.

Members are using loans to expand their businesses, such as livestock rearing and coffee production, and improve their households. They are also working with their WE groups to make their communities better by conducting home visits, providing financial support for emergencies and ensuring clean water access points are functioning.

Although this is the first use of the WE methodology in a post-conflict context, PCI and BFI plan to build on the success of the pilot and reach over 1,000 more women in the next year.

*PCI works through local partners in this country.