A child isn’t for one person, it is for the country. Equally, we have the combine responsibility to ensure all children get the right start in life.
For the last 13 years the Higherlife Foundation has been working in Burundi to give our future generation the skills needed to succeed in a changing world.
Burundi has one of the youngest populations in the world, with over 40% of the population being under the age of 15. With the right skills, training and support, Burundi’s young population could deliver real dividends to the country’s economic development.
The Government has a clear vision for how Burundi should look by the latter half of this decade. The National Plan of Burundi, focuses development across five strategic goals broadly covering the transformation of the economy, developing human capital, sustainable managing our environment and improving governance.
Supporting the government to develop Burundi’s human capital is where Higherlife Foundation is best placed to support by providing catalytic investments to unlock the country’s youth dividend.
Since 2010, we’ve awarded 1457 scholarships to students in the country. These scholarships have ensured that more orphaned and underprivileged children can complete their schooling, including at university. At least 42 of these scholarships have funded students to attain international degrees.
One example is Salathiel Ntakirutimana, who graduated from Harvard University in 2016.
He is now the Regional Strategy Manager (North, West and Central Africa) at Cartepillar Inc.
Because of our efforts, more doctors, nurses, engineers, and scientists are working to build a better Burundi.
Our focus is not only on traditional jobs, but we are also working to ensure young Burundians are well-placed for the jobs of tomorrow.
In 2015, we established an ICT Learning hub in Bujumbura. Through the Hub, students 17154 have been able to build their computer skills.
The hub proved so successful that we established another one in Makamba in 2019.
We are building on this success by introducing more tools and platforms to enhance further young people’s digital participation, especially in productive aspects of their lives.
Providing our children with better access to computers and technology is only part of the picture. Experience has shown us that to improve education outcomes, educators must consistently upskill.
In our efforts to catalyse the adaption of the education sector to world changes, we have been investing in the extended training of teachers.
This inspired us to partner with Enabel, the Belgium Development Agency, to train teachers in Burundi in information and communications technology.
So far, 734 teachers have been covered, and the target is to train up to 60,000 teachers.
We can’t stop now. Burundi continues to make development gains and needs partners like Higherlife Foundation to remain committed to the cause. For example, the literacy rate among youth has increased from 74% in 2010 to 93% in 2021. This is a result of the government increasing investment, with a quarter of the budget allocated to education.
We must also be honest about the challenges we still face. While more students are attending school, often only half complete primary school, well below the sub-Saharan average of 71%.
With the support of our funding partner, Econet, we continue to explore new initiatives and programmes to help children with staying in school.
Just as a child is for the country, we all have a responsibility to support our great nation to reach its goals.