In Kibezi, Burundi, hunger is a daily reality.
“Kabezi is the area where the Burundian civil war started and ended, making it the most affected region of the country,” says Etienne Ndayishimiye, a Social Innovator from Burundi. “It is an underdeveloped, poverty stricken and hopeless place. Many people are still suffering years later from what has happened there.”
Among those living there are the the indigenous Batwa, who perpetually struggle to survive while being denied land rights.Their traditional work as pot – makers does not provide enough income to meet the cost of survival in a community still recovering from Burundi’s civil war. Approximately people around 100 live in the community now, and the population is expected to grow more than that. About two-thirds of that number will be children under 15 years old. Unemployment estimates in the Kabezi region are as high as 99% and most Batwa families are living on less than one dollar a day.
Jagen and Etienne are Social Innovators working in Kibezi to bring education and income-generating projects to this marginalized community. Their next initiative is a pig project, which provides families with food and becomes a sustainable source of income from selling piglets after only six months.
“Kabezi is not a very fertile land (it can become infertile very quickly), and those few people that cultivate need fertilization and they buy it from far at an expensive price. Our hope for this is not only to provide money when they are sold that they can use to provide food for families, but even the fertilization from the pig can be also make a big profit after being sold to the tomatoes and cassava farmers.”
After testing this model with one family in the community, they are looking to raise enough to buy another twenty pigs and begin multiplying the impact.As more pigs are born in the coming years, they plan to slowly expand the project to the entire community. “These people are neighbors of each other,” says Etienne, “and we believe that this sense of having the same project will contribute a very strong relationship, love and unity in the families and in the whole community,”
This Giving Tuesday, let’s fill their “piggy bank” with at least $2000! Together, we can see the end of hunger in the Batwa community.