On June 24, the U.S. Ambassador to Burundi, Melanie Harris Higgins, the Permanent Secretary representing the Minister of East African Community Affairs, Youth, Sports and Culture, and other distinguished guests, celebrated the official launch of a new youth program funded by USAID.
Known locally as Turi Kumwe, which means “We are Together” in Kirundi, the project is implemented by Counterpart in partnership with local partners. Turi Kumwe works with 2,000 youth of different social, political, and ethnic identities to enhance their access to economic opportunities and strengthen their engagement for the capitalization of peace.
Through peacebuilding and violence prevention work, Counterpart helps young people begin to change their perceptions of the “other,” reduce “us-versus-them” mentalities, and build mutual understanding. Counterpart helps young people of diverse political, economic, social, and ethnic backgrounds understand that they share common challenges and appreciate how diversity and inclusion can improve targeted development outcomes that would benefit all of them. Inter-commune exchanges further facilitate relationship-building among youth outside of their traditional interactions that forge resilient social ties to lay the foundations for sustainable inter-communal reconciliation.
The project helps improve the livelihoods and peacebuilding skills of youth and their enabling environments, thereby reducing the risk of youth becoming involved in conflict and contributing to peace and stability in Burundi.