To commit one’s life to charitable work, in a specific area of action, is no simple task. It takes funding, careful planning, and deliberate consideration of the work to be done. To go even further by building a multilevel NGO, allowing others to devote their lives to meaningful work addressing a variety of problems in a war-torn area, is an order of magnitude more complex a task. It is a process that requires an abundance of resources, logistical work, patience, time, and maybe even a touch of providence.
This herculean task is exactly what the Adventist Development and Relief Agency of Burundi (ADRA) is taking on in order to improve the lives of the people of Burundi. From education, to prevention of crime and violence, and even psychological assistance, the ADRA programs tackle a plethora of different social ailments. Since 1988, the organization has been delivering much-needed relief from a dozen or more personal, communal, and social problems that have become considerable sources of stress and conflict for the young and less-favored population of Burundi.
ADRA works in four main “projects” in Burundi: Civics, Reach, ASC, and the Integrated Empowerment Project for Civil Society Actors. By establishing empowering partnerships and taking responsible action, this Christian institution pledges to work with people in poverty and distress in order to create just and positive change.
Four projects for change
In this spirit, ADRA’s first line of work is to develop what it calls its “Civics project,” a program meant to assist the youth of Burundi. Young people in Burundi have had their formative years upended by a time of conflict, greatly affecting their livelihoods and futures. Many Burundi youngsters and children are recently returned from refugee camps, or are former combatants suffering from conflict-related problems such as traumatic stress and a lack of skills to handle everyday situations.
During the civil war, thousands of children were witnesses of violence and killings, and many more were displaced, abducted, or forcibly recruited as combatants, and subsequently forced to commit atrocities. While some 3,000 child soldiers had been demobilized by 2006, it is generally acknowledged that still thousands more children were involved in the conflict. For these reasons, ADRA’s work is vital to reintegrate the youngsters and children into civic society, providing a chance at a brighter future for Burundi.
ADRA’s second program is the “Reach” project. The objective of this project can be found in its full name: “Advocating for Change – Women and Men Cooperate against Gender Based Violence.” Gender inequality is the target of action in 15 communities within the Cibitoke province in Burundi and the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It addresses violence against women, how women are treated during armed conflicts, women’s rights, and female portrayal and representation in the media.
The third line of action of this Christian NGO is to build a network of participatory communication based on development communication theory, which can be defined as a facilitation of “dialogue among different stakeholders, around a common development problem or goal.” This project aims to create a community dialogue that will allow all people from the same region to pool efforts together and build on exploring common ground for peaceful conflict resolution.
For its dedication to creating a more integrated and peaceful Burundi, for its amazing accomplishments in tackling the post civil war integration of combatants, especially youngsters and children that were forcibly drafted into the armies during the Burundi civil war, and for its unquestionable commitment towards one of the pillars of Quality Culture, Transversal Communication, Business Initiative Directions is proud to recognize ADRA with the 2016 BID Quality Award as an example of Quality Culture and the pursuit of excellence.
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