Making bricks and gaining equality in Gisuru

November 2, 2022

A group of Burundians, comprised of two men and two women, brought innovation to their village by setting up local manufacturing of bricks. 

Nibigira Rose, Nzoyihaya Adrien, Banyiyezako Sandrine, and Ndayikengurukiye Papias realized the current situation was not optimal. Claustra blocks—concrete blocks that are put in walls to help with ventilation concrete – were imported from Gitega, the capital 100 kilometers away. The distance added transport delays and costs. With support from Counterpart’s Turi Kumwe project, the women assessed the market, teamed up, and submitted a claustra block fabrication project to JJB-Twiyunge, a microfinance institution. In January 2022, they obtained a loan of approximately $367. 

Turi Kumwe works to increase economic opportunities for youth, as well as gender equality, through fully engaging women in economic activities, local governance, and peacebuilding. The project gives women skills, confidence, and opportunities for productive engagement and works to change  patriarchal attitudes in favor of equal opportunity for women. 

Sandrine explained how this project is special for women: “Everyone was surprised to see me do this job because claustra-making is known as a man’s job. At first, I was unsure if I could build claustra blocks, but Adrien and Papias showed us how to do it. Now everyone can see that women can do jobs that are thought to be for men. I now understand that women must engage in paid labor rather than just staying home doing domestic tasks. It is a contribution to the family, but also the community.” Sandrine’s husband is also proud of his wife’s new skills and her contribution to the household. 

Read more about our Turi Kumwe program.