Study Abstract

In Burundi, 68% of households live in poverty, which largely impacts children. Nearly 17% of children aged 0-16 are orphans, with a large percentage due to the AIDS pandemic. Additionally other indicators also reveal high poverty and deprivation rates for children; 35% of children under-five are malnourished, and the under-five mortality rate remains high at 176 per 1,000 live births. There was a jump in primary school enrollment from 30% to 77%, however only 29% of children complete primary school. Additionally there exist large disparities within the country, with rural children and girls experiencing greater levels of poverty and deprivation. The study highlights new strategies, including pro-poor growth, combating rural exodus and policies that are targeted at the most disadvantaged children.

 

Study Policy Recommendations

Policy recommendations from the Burundi Child Poverty Study fall under three broad categories: economic growth, redistribution to poor households, and policies targeted at the most vulnerable. More specifically these recommendations are to:

  • Prioritize pro-poor growth in institutional, budgetary and economic realms,  focusing on the most vulnerable through investments in rural activities and agriculture;
  • Implement a national population policy to ensure that population growth rate can be sustained by GDP growth in the future;
  • Ensure targeted policies that address the needs of the nation’s most vulnerable children, in particular those orphaned, largely due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic;
  • Establish child sensitive social protection mechanisms to enable vulnerable populations to cope with unpredictable events, which otherwise would have devastating impacts;
  • Strengthen the implementation of existing policies related to the provision of free primary school education and free health services for children under five and for women during delivery;
  • Malnutrition is one of the critical threats in Burundi, particularly in rural areas, indicating the need for a clear national policy aimed at improving the nutritional status of children.