One of the smallest countries in Africa, Burundi sits in east-central Africa along the northern shores of Lake Tanganyika. Burundi lies on a hilly plateau with an average elevation of 5,600 feet, and the country has a moderate climate.

  • Population: 8,383,000
  • Life Expectancy: 50 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 72%
  • School Enrollment: 99%
  • Land Mass: 10,745 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 67%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 161/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 160

Facts about Burundi

Economic Development

Burundi ranks 178 out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index. More than half of the population lives below the poverty line.


UNICEF lists malaria, diarrhea, respiratory infections, and the effects of malnutrition as leading causes of deaths among children.

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Progress in Burundi

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2012.

  • Supplied families with chickens, providing nutritious food and helping restore the livestock population, which was decimated by a decade of civil war.

  • Provided farmers with disease-resistant varieties of cassava, an essential crop that is vulnerable to a destructive plant virus.

  • Provided training to help teachers implement age-appropriate HIV and AIDS awareness programs in schools.

  • Involved church leaders in Channels of Hope, a program that equips community groups to respond to HIV and AIDS.

  • Rehabilitated water sources and formed water committees to build local capacity to manage and maintain community water sources.

  • Built hand-washing stations at health centers and taught community members about proper hygiene practices.

  • Provided sewing machines for vocational school students, enabling them to practice their new trade and produce goods for sale.

  • Established a child protection committee to increase community awareness and promote child rights.

  • Supplied clinics with medicine and equipment and trained health workers in disease prevention and nutrition to improve health services.

  • Supported a community program to build homes for families living in unhealthy, dangerous conditions.

  • Monitored children's health and helped them access medical treatment.

  • Distributed shoes and clothes to vulnerable children, improving their hygiene.

  • Held cooking demonstrations to teach caregivers how to prepare nutritious meals for children using ingredients that are readily available.

  • Organized information sessions to teach community members about reproductive health and birth spacing.

  • Trained Sunday school teachers to help children learn about God's word.

  • Trained community members to promote childhood immunization and the proper use of insecticide-treated nets to help reduce malaria cases.

  • Constructed latrines for use at the household level and provided community trainings on proper use of latrines.

  • Constructed and rehabilitated wells to reduce the distance that children -- especially girls -- must travel to fetch water.

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    World Vision in Burundi Today

    World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Burundi to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 1,200 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Burundi. Highlights include:

    • Educating mothers on safe delivery practices, providing support to people living with HIV and Aids, and working to ensure sustainable health care systems.
    • Promoting effective, ongoing peace efforts by offering seminars for thousands of community members.
    • Maintaining clean water sources where there is limited access to clean water.
    • Providing school supplies for children.

    World Vision History in Burundi

    World Vision’s involvement in Burundi began in 1963 by providing funds for a replacement doctor at a leprosy hospital. Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments have included:

    • Providing a small emergency relief ministry, medicines to area clinics, a child-care project, and assistance in building a small water-powered gristmill in the 1970s.
    • Vaccinating children for common childhood diseases and establishing literacy centers during the 1980s.
    • Offering food and assistance to families and individuals affected by the civil unrest during the 1990s.
    • Launching a project in 2006 to care for people living with HIV and AIDS.
    • Opening Burundi’s first child sponsorship area development program in 2009 to help more than 1,200 children as well as their families and communities.

    Geography & People

    Geography and people

    One of the smallest countries in Africa, Burundi sits in east-central Africa along the northern shores of Lake Tanganyika. Burundi lies on a hilly plateau with an average elevation of 5,600 feet, and the country has a moderate climate.

    Natural resources include nickel, uranium, cobalt, copper, platinum, gold, tin, limestone, arable land, and hydropower.

    About 85 percent of Burundians are of Hutu ethnicity, while 15 percent are Tutsi and one percent are Twa (or Pygmy). Nearly everyone speaks the official language of Kirundi. Burundians also use French, mostly in the business sector, and Swahili, primarily near Lake Tanganyika and in the capital of Bujumbura.

    Many families in Burundi give only the last name to a child at birth. After baptism, a child will receive a first name, known as the Christian name.


    The Hutus and Tutsis settled in Burundi during the 14th and 15th centuries. Known as Urundi under German and then Belgian rule, Burundi gained independence in 1962 and became a republic four years later.

    After many years of ethnic fighting between the Hutus and Tutsis, the two groups finally reached an end to hostilities in 2006. More than 300,000 people were killed, and nearly one million were displaced during the war. Renewed fighting in April 2008 threatened the peace agreement, but the country continues to hold democratic elections.

    Prayer Requests for Burundi

    • Families struggling with poverty and hunger.
    • The country to continue its economic and social recovery.