Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems
Burundi, one of the poorest countries in the world, is recovering from decades of conflict that claimed 300,000 lives and forced over a million to flee their homes. 68% of the 8.4 million people living in Burundi live below the poverty line and the country falls at the bottom of the Global Hunger Index. Since 2003, over 450,000 refugees have returned to the country and the potential for political instability is high.
In this context, children face numerous risks to their development and wellbeing, including domestic and community violence and limited caregiver capacity to protect and care for their children. Despite significant investment by the humanitarian community, there has been little progress for children and we still know too little about what works to address the risks they face. The International Rescue Committee, a leading non-profit organization in the field of emergency relief and post-conflict development wants to change this. Through the Urwaruka Rushasha (New Generation) project, implemented with the support of USAID’s Displaced Children and Orphans Fund (DCOF)2, the IRC sought to have a positive impact on household poverty and child protection, development, and wellbeing, while generating evidence about how this can be effectively done. The project includes two interventions that we believe may be effective in improving caregiver capacity to protect and care for their children: a VSLA intervention involving the establishment of Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) and provision of entrepreneurship and financial literacy education, and a family-based intervention.