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Burundi

Articles by Burundi

Yvonne a peer educator

"I am a living example of having a good life..."

At a local bar, we meet nine women from Kirundo. They’re all sex workers who became friends through Association Burundaise pour le Bien-Etre Familial's (ABUBEF) peer educator project. Yvonne is 40 and has known that she’s HIV-positive for 22 years. After her diagnosis she was isolated from her friends and stigmatized both in public and at home, where she was even given separate plates to eat from. “I started to get drunk every day,” she says. “I hoped death would take me in my sleep. I didn’t believe in tomorrow. I was lost and lonely. Until I got to the ABUBEF clinic.” ABUBEF has supported her treatment for the past six years. “I take my pill every day and I am living example of having a good life even with a previous death sentence,” Yvonne explains. “But I see that the awareness of HIV, protection and testing provided by ABUBEF is still very small.” Yvonne became a peer educator, speaking in public about HIV awareness, wearing an ABUBEF T-shirt.  The project spread to the wider region, and volunteers were given travel expenses, materials and training, along with condoms for distribution. But funding cuts mean those expenses are no longer available. Yvonne says she’ll carry on in Kirundo even if she can’t travel more widely like she used to. Her friend, 29-year-old Perusi, shares her experience of ABUBEF as a safe space where her privacy will be respected. It often happens, she says, that her clients rape her, and run away, failing to pay. Since sex work is illegal, she says, and there’s no protection from the authorities, and sex workers like her often feel rejected by society.  But at ABUBEF’s clinics, they are welcomed.

HIV test being administered

“They saved the life of me and my child”

Monica has never told anyone about the attack. She was pregnant at the time, already had two teenage sons, and rape is a taboo subject in her community in Burundi. Knowing that her attacker was HIV-positive, and fearing that her husband would accuse her of provocation - or worse still, leave her - she turned to a place she knew would help.   ABUBEF is the Association Burundaise Pour Le Bien-Etre Familial. Their clinic in Kirundo offered Monica HIV counselling and treatment for the duration of her pregnancy.  Above all, ABUBEF offered privacy.  Neither Monica nor her daughter has tested positive for HIV. “They saved the life of me and my child,” Monica says. “I hope they get an award for their psychological and health support for women.” Three years on from the attack, Monica, now 45, raises her children and tends the family farm where she grows beans, cassava, potatoes and rice. She’s proud of her eldest son who’s due to start university this year. She educates her boys against violence, and spreads the word about ABUBEF. Monica speaks to other women to make sure they know where to seek help if they need it. Her attacker still lives in the neighbourhood, and she worries that he’s transmitting HIV. But the ABUBEF clinic that helped Monica is under threat from funding cuts. The possibility that it could close prompted her to tell her story.    “This is a disaster for our community,” she says. “I know how much the clinic needs support from donors, how much they need new equipment and money for new staff. I want people to know that this facility is one of a kind - and without it many people will be lost.”

Peer Educator

“I am afraid what will happen when there will be no more projects like this one"

On Friday afternoon in Municipal Lycee of Nyakabiga, Burundi,  headmistress Chantal Keza is introducing her students to the medical staff from Association Burundaise pour le Bien-Etre Familial (ABUBEF). Peer educators at the school, trained by ABUBEF,  will perform a short drama based around sexual health and will answer questions about contraception methods from students. One of the actresses is peer educator Ammande Berlyne Dushime. Ammande, who is 17 years old is one of three peer educators at the school. Ammande, together with her friends, perform their short drama on the stage based on a young girls quest for information on contraception. It ends on a positive note, with the girl receiving useful and correct information from a peer educator at her school. A story that could be a very real life scenario at her school. Peer programmes that trained Ammande, are under threat of closure due to the Global Gag rule.   Ammande says, “I am afraid what will happen when there will be no more projects like this one. I am ready to go on with work as peer educator, but if there are not going to be regular visits by the medical stuff from the clinic, then we will have no one to seek information and advice from. I am just a teenager, I know so little. Not only I will lose my support, but also I will not be taken serious by my schoolmates. With such important topic like sexual education and contraception, I am not the authority. I can only show the right way to go. And this road leads to ABUBEF.” She says “As peer educator I am responsible for Saturday morning meetings at the clinic. We sing songs, play games, have fun and learn new things about sex education, contraception, HIV protection and others. Visiting the clinic is then very easy, and no student has to be afraid, that showing up at the clinic that treats HIV positive people, will ruin their reputation. Now they know that we can meet there openly, and undercover of these meetings seek for help, information, professional advice and contraception methods” Peer educator classes are a safe and open place for students to openly talk about their sexual health. The Global Gage Rule will force peer educator programmes like this to close due to lack of funding.   Help us bridge the funding gap   Learn more about the Global Gag Rule

A nurse administering a HIV test
23 January 2018

The Global Gag Rule: The impact in Burundi

Burundi is landlocked between Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Tanzania. Of the estimated 10.72 million population, 67% live below the poverty line. Association Burundaise pour le Bien-Etre Familial, (ABUBEF) set up in 1991, provides a range of essential services, with a strong focus on HIV. Around 84,000 people are living with HIV in Burundi, of whom 12,000 are children under 14.  ABUBEF’s focus is on HIV prevention and management: from youth-friendly counselling to programmes to prevent mother-to-child transmission.   The withdrawal of US funding due to the Global Gag Rule will drastically reduce and, in some instances, close ABUBEF’s vital healthcare services and programmes. It is estimated that loss of funding to ABUBEF through the global gag rule will deny 117,016 people access to safe, sexual and reproductive healthcare. ABUBEF currently supports around 2, 123 people with anti-retroviral treatment, who will be affected by the cuts. Donavine Uwimana, Executive Director of ABUBEF, “The GGR affects our very existence, with a forecasted funding cut of 39% in 2017 as well as a major decline in the supply of almost all sexual and reproductive health and HIV commodities.” ABUBEF provides services to a range of clients including people living with HIV such as pregnant women, internally displaced persons and sex workers. The impact through funding losses affects service provision – including safe delivery for HIV-positive women, and a reduction in medical staff and drugs and commodities available. IPPF is trying to find alternative funds to fill the gaps – a combination of long- and short-term measures to avoid closures and reductions in services. Donavine explains how far-reaching the impact is for ABUBEF: “Almost all contraceptives, HIV reagents, STI drugs, antiretroviral and consumables for HIV management are procured through UNFPA, USAID and US-financed government programmes, which will be affected by the GGR,” she says. IPPF visited several ABUBEF run projects at risk of closure across Burundi that included a centre in Kirundo for vulnerable women such as sex workers and survivors of gender-based violence.  And in Ngozi, an HIV clinic that provides mobile clinics, and a maternity ward with a focus on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission. Learn more about the Global Gag Rule Help us bridge the funding gap

Kamayana Germaine, Clinic Manager at the ABUBEF clinic in Kirundo
18 January 2018

Putting people first: providing health care despite funding and staff losses in Burundi

The Association Burundaise pour le Bien-Etre Familial's (ABUBEF) provides vital integrated services to local communities, including contraception, prevention and treatment of HIV, youth-friendly counselling and education, pre-marital counselling, and antenatal and post-natal care. ABUBEF has 18 service points, including static and mobile clinics, and community-based services. An estimated 80% of its clients are poor, marginalized, socially excluded and/or under-served. ABUBEF supports young people living with HIV, internally displaced persons, sex workers, drug users and street children.   The continuation of many of these vital health services are under threat following the reintroduction of the Global Gag Rule by the US Administration. The Global Gag Rule, or Mexico City Policy as it is formally known, stops US aid to all health programmes run by organisations who perform or counsel on abortion.  ABUBEF says: “Almost all contraceptives, HIV reagents, STI drugs, antiretroviral and consumables for HIV management are procured through UNFPA, USAID and US-financed government programmes, which will be affected by the Global Gag Rule.” 

Association Burundaise pour le Bien-Etre Familial

Established in 1991, the Association Burundaise pour le Bien-Etre Familial's (ABUBEF) original mission was to deliver family planning. Over 20 years later, the organization operates a large number of services across a broad range of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) needs, including prevention and management of HIV and AIDS, youth-friendly counselling and education, pre-marital counselling, and antenatal and post-natal care. 

It accomplished this through 18 service points, including static and mobile clinics, and community-based services. An estimated 80% of its clients are poor, marginalized, socially excluded and/or under-served. 

Particular beneficiaries of ABUBEF’s services include young people living with HIV and AIDS, internally displaced persons, women of child-bearing age, sex workers, drug users and street children.

ABUBEF delivers its service through a dedicated team which includes 81 staff, nearly 500 volunteers, 75 peer educators and well over 1,000 community-based distributors (CBDs). Their commitment to ABUBEF is crucial to the nation’s current and future sexual and reproductive health.
 
ABUBEF’s partners include donors such as UNFPA, FHI, CARE and CNLS, and it works together with organizations including Réseau National des Jeunes Engagés pour la Lutte Contre le Sida (RENAJES) and the Association pour la Promotion de la Fille Burundaise (APFB). 

Yvonne a peer educator

"I am a living example of having a good life..."

At a local bar, we meet nine women from Kirundo. They’re all sex workers who became friends through Association Burundaise pour le Bien-Etre Familial's (ABUBEF) peer educator project. Yvonne is 40 and has known that she’s HIV-positive for 22 years. After her diagnosis she was isolated from her friends and stigmatized both in public and at home, where she was even given separate plates to eat from. “I started to get drunk every day,” she says. “I hoped death would take me in my sleep. I didn’t believe in tomorrow. I was lost and lonely. Until I got to the ABUBEF clinic.” ABUBEF has supported her treatment for the past six years. “I take my pill every day and I am living example of having a good life even with a previous death sentence,” Yvonne explains. “But I see that the awareness of HIV, protection and testing provided by ABUBEF is still very small.” Yvonne became a peer educator, speaking in public about HIV awareness, wearing an ABUBEF T-shirt.  The project spread to the wider region, and volunteers were given travel expenses, materials and training, along with condoms for distribution. But funding cuts mean those expenses are no longer available. Yvonne says she’ll carry on in Kirundo even if she can’t travel more widely like she used to. Her friend, 29-year-old Perusi, shares her experience of ABUBEF as a safe space where her privacy will be respected. It often happens, she says, that her clients rape her, and run away, failing to pay. Since sex work is illegal, she says, and there’s no protection from the authorities, and sex workers like her often feel rejected by society.  But at ABUBEF’s clinics, they are welcomed.

HIV test being administered

“They saved the life of me and my child”

Monica has never told anyone about the attack. She was pregnant at the time, already had two teenage sons, and rape is a taboo subject in her community in Burundi. Knowing that her attacker was HIV-positive, and fearing that her husband would accuse her of provocation - or worse still, leave her - she turned to a place she knew would help.   ABUBEF is the Association Burundaise Pour Le Bien-Etre Familial. Their clinic in Kirundo offered Monica HIV counselling and treatment for the duration of her pregnancy.  Above all, ABUBEF offered privacy.  Neither Monica nor her daughter has tested positive for HIV. “They saved the life of me and my child,” Monica says. “I hope they get an award for their psychological and health support for women.” Three years on from the attack, Monica, now 45, raises her children and tends the family farm where she grows beans, cassava, potatoes and rice. She’s proud of her eldest son who’s due to start university this year. She educates her boys against violence, and spreads the word about ABUBEF. Monica speaks to other women to make sure they know where to seek help if they need it. Her attacker still lives in the neighbourhood, and she worries that he’s transmitting HIV. But the ABUBEF clinic that helped Monica is under threat from funding cuts. The possibility that it could close prompted her to tell her story.    “This is a disaster for our community,” she says. “I know how much the clinic needs support from donors, how much they need new equipment and money for new staff. I want people to know that this facility is one of a kind - and without it many people will be lost.”

Peer Educator

“I am afraid what will happen when there will be no more projects like this one"

On Friday afternoon in Municipal Lycee of Nyakabiga, Burundi,  headmistress Chantal Keza is introducing her students to the medical staff from Association Burundaise pour le Bien-Etre Familial (ABUBEF). Peer educators at the school, trained by ABUBEF,  will perform a short drama based around sexual health and will answer questions about contraception methods from students. One of the actresses is peer educator Ammande Berlyne Dushime. Ammande, who is 17 years old is one of three peer educators at the school. Ammande, together with her friends, perform their short drama on the stage based on a young girls quest for information on contraception. It ends on a positive note, with the girl receiving useful and correct information from a peer educator at her school. A story that could be a very real life scenario at her school. Peer programmes that trained Ammande, are under threat of closure due to the Global Gag rule.   Ammande says, “I am afraid what will happen when there will be no more projects like this one. I am ready to go on with work as peer educator, but if there are not going to be regular visits by the medical stuff from the clinic, then we will have no one to seek information and advice from. I am just a teenager, I know so little. Not only I will lose my support, but also I will not be taken serious by my schoolmates. With such important topic like sexual education and contraception, I am not the authority. I can only show the right way to go. And this road leads to ABUBEF.” She says “As peer educator I am responsible for Saturday morning meetings at the clinic. We sing songs, play games, have fun and learn new things about sex education, contraception, HIV protection and others. Visiting the clinic is then very easy, and no student has to be afraid, that showing up at the clinic that treats HIV positive people, will ruin their reputation. Now they know that we can meet there openly, and undercover of these meetings seek for help, information, professional advice and contraception methods” Peer educator classes are a safe and open place for students to openly talk about their sexual health. The Global Gage Rule will force peer educator programmes like this to close due to lack of funding.   Help us bridge the funding gap   Learn more about the Global Gag Rule

A nurse administering a HIV test
23 January 2018

The Global Gag Rule: The impact in Burundi

Burundi is landlocked between Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Tanzania. Of the estimated 10.72 million population, 67% live below the poverty line. Association Burundaise pour le Bien-Etre Familial, (ABUBEF) set up in 1991, provides a range of essential services, with a strong focus on HIV. Around 84,000 people are living with HIV in Burundi, of whom 12,000 are children under 14.  ABUBEF’s focus is on HIV prevention and management: from youth-friendly counselling to programmes to prevent mother-to-child transmission.   The withdrawal of US funding due to the Global Gag Rule will drastically reduce and, in some instances, close ABUBEF’s vital healthcare services and programmes. It is estimated that loss of funding to ABUBEF through the global gag rule will deny 117,016 people access to safe, sexual and reproductive healthcare. ABUBEF currently supports around 2, 123 people with anti-retroviral treatment, who will be affected by the cuts. Donavine Uwimana, Executive Director of ABUBEF, “The GGR affects our very existence, with a forecasted funding cut of 39% in 2017 as well as a major decline in the supply of almost all sexual and reproductive health and HIV commodities.” ABUBEF provides services to a range of clients including people living with HIV such as pregnant women, internally displaced persons and sex workers. The impact through funding losses affects service provision – including safe delivery for HIV-positive women, and a reduction in medical staff and drugs and commodities available. IPPF is trying to find alternative funds to fill the gaps – a combination of long- and short-term measures to avoid closures and reductions in services. Donavine explains how far-reaching the impact is for ABUBEF: “Almost all contraceptives, HIV reagents, STI drugs, antiretroviral and consumables for HIV management are procured through UNFPA, USAID and US-financed government programmes, which will be affected by the GGR,” she says. IPPF visited several ABUBEF run projects at risk of closure across Burundi that included a centre in Kirundo for vulnerable women such as sex workers and survivors of gender-based violence.  And in Ngozi, an HIV clinic that provides mobile clinics, and a maternity ward with a focus on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission. Learn more about the Global Gag Rule Help us bridge the funding gap

Kamayana Germaine, Clinic Manager at the ABUBEF clinic in Kirundo
18 January 2018

Putting people first: providing health care despite funding and staff losses in Burundi

The Association Burundaise pour le Bien-Etre Familial's (ABUBEF) provides vital integrated services to local communities, including contraception, prevention and treatment of HIV, youth-friendly counselling and education, pre-marital counselling, and antenatal and post-natal care. ABUBEF has 18 service points, including static and mobile clinics, and community-based services. An estimated 80% of its clients are poor, marginalized, socially excluded and/or under-served. ABUBEF supports young people living with HIV, internally displaced persons, sex workers, drug users and street children.   The continuation of many of these vital health services are under threat following the reintroduction of the Global Gag Rule by the US Administration. The Global Gag Rule, or Mexico City Policy as it is formally known, stops US aid to all health programmes run by organisations who perform or counsel on abortion.  ABUBEF says: “Almost all contraceptives, HIV reagents, STI drugs, antiretroviral and consumables for HIV management are procured through UNFPA, USAID and US-financed government programmes, which will be affected by the Global Gag Rule.” 

Association Burundaise pour le Bien-Etre Familial

Established in 1991, the Association Burundaise pour le Bien-Etre Familial's (ABUBEF) original mission was to deliver family planning. Over 20 years later, the organization operates a large number of services across a broad range of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) needs, including prevention and management of HIV and AIDS, youth-friendly counselling and education, pre-marital counselling, and antenatal and post-natal care. 

It accomplished this through 18 service points, including static and mobile clinics, and community-based services. An estimated 80% of its clients are poor, marginalized, socially excluded and/or under-served. 

Particular beneficiaries of ABUBEF’s services include young people living with HIV and AIDS, internally displaced persons, women of child-bearing age, sex workers, drug users and street children.

ABUBEF delivers its service through a dedicated team which includes 81 staff, nearly 500 volunteers, 75 peer educators and well over 1,000 community-based distributors (CBDs). Their commitment to ABUBEF is crucial to the nation’s current and future sexual and reproductive health.
 
ABUBEF’s partners include donors such as UNFPA, FHI, CARE and CNLS, and it works together with organizations including Réseau National des Jeunes Engagés pour la Lutte Contre le Sida (RENAJES) and the Association pour la Promotion de la Fille Burundaise (APFB).