The State of Development Cooperation, CSO Enabling Environment and CSO Development Effectiveness

BURUNDI: CASE STUDY

Recognized as a development actor in their own right, civil society organizations have come to play an essential role in governance. Biraturaba believes that by making their voices heard on sensitive issues such as human rights, political transparency, and the fight against corruption, civil society organisations can inspire others to also contribute to the social, economic and cultural development of the country at the national and local level. Increasingly, new actors have emerged in the development arena, from the private sector to civil society, spurring a momentum in multistakeholder partnerships in support of development initiatives at all stages, from policy formulation to project implementation. A participatory approach has been adopted by donors in Burundi with steps taken to allow financing for projects and policies for local communities. This has been the trend since the drafting of the SFPF (Cadre Stratégique de Croissance et de Lutte Contre la Pauvreté), the Fight against HIV/AIDS National Strategy, the Governance National Strategy, among other milestones.

Civil society organisations have enormous comparative advantages as development partners alongside state actors. Their advantages lie mainly in their rootedness in local communities, their interests, and their broad sectoral and geographic scope. The flexibility of these organizations has been proven by CSOs working in various areas.

But civil society in Burundi is quite young and clearly faces a number of challenges. The larger ones are linked to the emergence of political opportunism, internal institutional and organisational weaknesses, the fact that both the Burundian government and the wider public, even while being beneficiaries of CSO interventions, at times fail to support or appreciate the work of CSOs.

Despite these difficulties the engagement of Burundian civil society in development effectiveness is beyond doubt, but discerning among the sheer number of CSOs has proven difficult, given the lack of detailed information about these organizations, and the fact that all or almost all of them require constant funding support from external partners.

The present case study presents the contributions of Burundian CSOs to the development effectiveness process. It comments on their own effectiveness as well, taking as its starting point an organization that has contributed to poverty reduction in vulnerable communities through the SILC projects. It also takes stock of the economic, political, sociocultural, and legal contexts in which they work.

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