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: 9,849,600
  • Life Expectancy: 54 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 74%
  • School Enrollment: 99%
  • Land Mass: 10,745 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 87%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 104/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 240

Facts about Burundi

Economic Development

According to World Bank, Burundi continues to be among the least-developed countries in the world and faces socioeconomic instability.

Child Protection

Burundi is the second-most densely populated country in Africa. One in every five Burundians is a child under 5 years old.

Disaster Response

Though Burundi’s civil war is over, the country still suffers from its effects. Many of those who returned after the war found that their homes and fields had been destroyed, and they did not have the resources to start rebuilding their lives.

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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 2014.

  • We partnered with local churches to offer spiritual nurture activities for children, helping them grow in their faith and encouraging them to love God and their neighbors.

  • Child protection committees were established and trained to protect children's rights and respond to cases of child abuse, together with local authorities.

  • Farmers were supplied with seeds, equipment, and training to help them grow more food and earn a living for their families.

  • Community members formed savings and loan groups with our help, providing interest-earning savings accounts and small business loans to help families increase their income.

  • School management committees received training to help them improve the quality of education and ensure that all children have the opportunity to attend school.

  • To improve learning environments for children, we built classrooms, supplied schools with desks and books, and helped build latrines.

  • In partnership with local health agencies and community volunteers, we established nutrition programs to identify and treat malnourished children and teach their parents how to prepare nutritious meals using locally available foods. We also helped families start growing vegetables and raising livestock for food and a source of income.

  • Through our Channels of Hope program, local churches were equipped to raise awareness of HIV prevention, reduce stigma and discrimination, and provide care and support for orphans and other people made vulnerable by HIV or AIDS.

  • Community health workers were trained to identify, treat, and refer diseases such as pneumonia and malaria.

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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 4,600 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Burundi. Highlights include:

    • Providing preventive healthcare and promoting health programs in local schools.
    • Training families to plan ahead financially and how to cope with household emergencies.
    • Maintaining clean water sources in areas that struggle with inadequate access to this essential resource.
    • Providing reading programs to help increase literacy rate.

    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 14 percent are Tutsi and 1 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 1 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

    • Please pray for peace and stability in the country surrounding the 2015 elections.
    • Pray also for the success of the Burundian government’s recent efforts to scale up its nutrition programs to prevent children dying from malnutrition.