EXCHANGE SESSION FOR COMMUNITY LEADERS, FACILITATORS AND THEIR LOCAL ADMINISTATION CHIEFS ON ESSENTIAL NOTIONS AS FOUND IN THE BURUNDI “CODE DE PROCEDURES CIVILES” LAW BOOK.

In the framework of implementing one of our programs named "Supporting and promoting the realization of rights, prevention and peaceful resolution of conflicts for the benefit of vulnerable populations", our community facilitators and leaders are set and trained to become actors of change through awareness sessions and conflict management if they happen to arise in their community.

These community links often act for a better social cohesion and an easier access to justice by the populations and communities of their localities and as our objectives, vision and mission are based on such an ideal, APDH can only support them in this field by building and strengthening their capacities and by training them for an improvement of their approaches so that peace and justice reign in our Burundian society.

The session that took place on November 23 this year is one of many with such an aim and is animated for the benefit of all community links (Abaremeshakiyago, imboneza) and chiefs of the main “collines” of the action zone throughout Ngozi province. This session will focus on the basic notions as written in one of the law books on civil procedures used by the current judiciary system in Burundi and after the session, supporting booklets prepared and published for this purpose are distributed to them for material and substantial support.

 The training takes place in three locations. Ngozi center welcomes participants from NGOZI, GASHIKANWA and RUHORORO communes localities, Mwumba center welcomes participants from MWUMBA, NYAMURENZA and BUSIGA communes localities and finally, Kiremba center welcomes participants from KIREMBA, MARANGARA and TANGARA communes localities.

At the end of the session, trained community facilitators and leaders as well as the  local administration representatives will have understood the key notions and concepts as found in the Law book of especially on procedures, and will be able to actively contribute not only to the resolution of family and land conflicts but also to guide the parties whose mediation has not been successful, while having the basic notions of the provisions of the code. The knowledge acquired will also serve them to enlighten members of their local communities and their surroundings whenever they want to bring a case to court.

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EXCHANGE WORKSHOP WITH COMMUNAL LAND AGENTS ON THE FIRST SEMESTER OF 2021 DATA.

The activity took place in the capital of the province Ngozi, at AMICIZIA Lodge, on June 30, 2021 with a total presence for the agents since all the communes of the action zone in which APDH operates were represented. These communes are Kirundo and Ntega from Kirundo province, Ngozi, Nyamurenza, Gashikanwa, Busiga and Mwumba from Ngozi province, Kayanza, Muruta, Kabarore, Matongo and Gatara from Kayanza province, and Gashoho from Muyinga province.   

This activity which started around 10 am on a small exchange of satisfactions and dissatisfactions of each of the agents in their respective services since our last meeting.

The objective of this workshop is to restitute and exchange on the results of the data analysis for the communal land agents of the action zone. It is also a time to exchange experiences in order to decide together on a strategic orientation to increase the performance of land certification in the intervention zone in the future. 

What are the expectations of the FAs on this analysis? Satisfactory answers to the questions asked by the FAs, especially in relation to the finances of the communal land services, to know if one or the other land service is doing better or not than the other, to learn from each other on how to increase their yields in their services, to understand the levels of collaboration of the APDH with the communal land services of the intervention zone, to be able to compare their results with those of the other communal land services

Before continuing with the activity itself, APDH wanted to clarify its level of collaboration with the communal land service via the PAGF, while specifying to the agents present that the land service is 'communal' and that the commune must at all costs take ownership of it and make it sustainable for it to function properly.

During the analysis of these data, it was noted that some communes received more requests for land certificates than others. Out of the 13 functional services, the total demand is 4117 from January to June 2021. The average is 317 and only 3 communal land services were able to reach the average (Ngozi, Matongo, and Muruta).

The managers of these land services tell us about the reasons that led the population to respond massively: Awareness-raising and proximity to the population came first, and in particular by senior officials from these communes (Matongo, for example). Participants also mention effective means of explaining to the population when they come to look for documents attesting land property ownership. Some also mention the recent ministerial order abolishing the ‘Acte de notoriete’.

Of the 13, 4 land services were unable to reach half of the average (158). These are the communes of Gashoho, Kabarore, Nyamurenza, and Kiremba. Some officials of these services mention as reasons, the lack of legal understanding of the matter by the administrative staff concerned (at the communal level), while others justify it by the lack or insufficiency of personnel at the level of the communal land services, as well as the problems of means of reaching out to the population in general.

In terms of the production of land certificates, 2780 certificates were produced, and three communes did better and produced more certificates than others; these strengths can be explained by the fact that the agents have access to the commune's means of transportation, awareness-raising, and good collaboration with other commune services. This is also due to the fact that the staff is sufficient and the seniority in the work.

The services of Gashoho, Gatara and Ntega are below the average (214) and have a low rate of production of FCs. The reasons for this low rate are those mentioned above (causes of low rate of applications because the fewer the applications, the lower the production rate).

The rate of application and certification of women's land property remains low in all communes. This observation calls on the administration and actors in these sectors to do more to ensure that their rights are respected.

The participants made recommendations for better performance in the future. These recommendations include good collaboration with the actors and all those who support communal land services, the approach of the administrative authorities to help in the understanding of the perpetuation and taking ownership of the communal land service by the commune, etc.

ROUND TABLE ON THE PLACE OF BURUNDIAN WOMEN IN DECISION-MAKING STRUCTURES

The Beijing Platform for Action affirms that women have the same right as men to participate in the management of public affairs and can contribute to redefine political priorities and to be included in political programs. Today, in Burundi, the number of women in public office is more or less considerable compared to past years, and this trend should be maintained because more women in decision-making positions will help strengthen policies and legislation in favor of true gender equality, even if challenges still persist in improving the situation of Burundian women.

APDH always relies on these circumstances to carry out its actions in these areas by promoting exchanges and discussions on the subject that stimulate holistic development. This round table which took place on March 31, 2021 is part of this perspective. From the members and staff of the APDH to the representatives of religious groups, from the representatives of political parties to the National Women's Forum, from the members of the ‘CDFC’ to the communal administrators, from the governor's advisors to the representatives of local groups, all of them were invited and present at this meeting.

The presenter first went back to the texts of the Burundian laws on the equality of persons and the representativeness of women which, with gaps, is limited on the figures of representations in the national assembly and the senate. She also went back to the 1325th UN resolution on representativeness which Burundi has ratified. Examples were given of the rate of representation: 37.4% at the level of the National Assembly, at the level of the ministries, out of 18 governors, only 3 are women, 34.45% at the level of the communal administration. In the most recent decree on the appointment of senior executives, only 39% of women are represented. At the level of school management, the representation rate is also very low, 15.2% in the education system in Ngozi province. On the rate of representation in Ngozi province in the communal political structures, the representative of the women's forum also gave some figures on which the participants debated. 

The participants had the opportunity to express themselves on the given topic. Some found that women are themselves at the origin of the low rate of representation and that they must do more in their claims and actions while others found that this is due to the lack of understanding and the non-respect of human rights given that women and men are all first and foremost human beings. Others believe that the lack of means for the positions that require them makes women be discouraged to run or to be elected. All of them, however, mentioned the barriers of cultural stereotypes that prevent women from acting spontaneously. The others mentioned the fact that women in Burundi do not like to elect women like themselves, that they have to develop self-esteem first.

Women who have previously held political positions in decision-making structures shared their experiences and much made mention of the great qualities that women leaders must embody: self-esteem, working with dedication and the spirit of humanity and closeness to their subjects (according to one woman and former member of the National Assembly). Another woman, most recently the administrator of the commune of Gashikanwa, testified to the need to have and nurture the will to be elected to represent others as a woman, even if it is almost always difficult. She lamented the fact that among the people who predicted that she would not be able to govern, there were women who felt the same way and were unwilling to support her instead. For her, patience, collaboration and persistence are crucial, and prayer must be the weapon to better serve as a woman in this Burundian society. She ended by encouraging young women to understand that they are really capable of what men do and for men to help in this journey but with good faith.

The recommendations of the participants are, among others, the accompaniment of women so that they get more and more involved and get elected and represented, to plead in their favor so that the leaders take into consideration the cause and the setting up of their representative structures (where they do not exist, especially at the hill level) and to extend or reinforce the laws of implementation of the representativeness (where they already exist) Participants also recommended to sensitize men on the eradication of stereotypes that make them block the advancement of the cause in society, because according to the testimonies of one of the current communal administrators, the hills led by women are more and more models.

CELEBRATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE AFRICAN CHILD

APDH, a non-profit organization born of a school club of human rights, seeks to contribute to the respect of human rights in general and of the child in particular. The International Day of the African Child is celebrated with the spirit of sensitizing, respecting and promoting the rights of the child in general and the African child in particular. This year in Burundi, the 16th was celebrated at the national and provincial levels at the AGASAKA stadium in Ngozi on Thursday on June 24, 2021 from 10:00 am. In their respective address to participants, the different authorities made mention of the need to promote, defend and respect the rights of children in all their forms. The games and plays played were also bearers of this message in their entirety.

Thus, as part of the implementation of its program "Support and promotion of the realization of rights, prevention and peaceful resolution of conflicts for the benefit of vulnerable populations", APDH had planned a presentation of interactive theater by student members of the CSDH from RUKECO Junior High school.

This theater was presented during the celebration, so that the students contribute, not only to the change of mentalities of the communities but also and especially so that these students, enjoy their rights as subjects of rights, in a community where equity and social justice are respected.

Several personalities and organizations were present for the celebration, among others the authorities from the provincial administration, the representative of the communal administrator of Ngozi, the President of the provincial children's Forum, the President of the child protection committee in Ngozi province, i.e. 12 participants and other actors working in favor of children in Ngozi province, including Terre des hommes, Foundation Stam, OIDEB, APRODEM-GIRIZINA, Eh 'Ikirezi, Giriteka Centre and Red Cross. Schoolchildren and students from primary and secondary schools around the city of Ngozi were invited and the celebration began with a parade by them.

In their words of address, the different authorities made mention of the need to promote, defend and respect the rights of children in all their forms. The games and plays played were also were bearers of this type of message in their entirety.

Through role plays, the message was to bring parents and authorities to understand the social issues that threaten the dignity of children and take the right decisions to improve the protection of children's rights and to help children and youth become actors of change in their communities.

As the festivities coincided with the special day dedicated to African children, a question and answer session on children's rights was organized by APDH with prizes for those who answered best. The questions were asked in public, and the children who answered better received different prizes that they appreciated very much. These included buckets, toilet soaps, laundry soaps, registers, loincloths and a radio for the finalist winner.

AWARENESS SESSIONS FOR THE POPULATION ON THE IMPORTANCE OF LAND CERTIFICATION IN KIRUNDO COMMUNE

One cannot say how important it is to know that the land you are exploiting really belongs to you. In its interventions, APDH is always pleased that the population is increasingly aware of the importance of certifying their land within the communal land service. The commune of Kirundo is one of the communes in this province to have a communal land service, which will soon be operational. Since its creation by a deliberation of the commune council, APDH, through its project “Projet d’Appui à la Gestion Foncière”, has always provided technical support and advice to the community.

The community sensitizations accompanied by APDH are normally in line with this collaboration and support. The session took place from June 16 to 18 and June 23 to 24, 2021, in 29 local areas of the commune and will contribute to a good understanding and knowledge of the importance of land certification. As a result, land conflicts will be greatly reduced and social cohesion within the communities through certification of their land properties will be improved.

During their stay in all these areas, APDH agents in collaboration with the commune's staff, were able to notice that the majority of the population was not yet aware of the existence of this service nor of the modes of acquisition of land property and the importance of certifying them.

After each session, with the help of APDH agents and commune staff, the population proceeded to the election of the members of the “CRCs” (comités de reconnaissance collinaires) who will assist the commune staff in the recognition of land properties in the local areas.

This activity was much appreciated by the population given the fact that the steps to certify their land were understood and are not on a demanding level.

In many areas, women responded massively and generally showed an interest in knowing their share of responsibility in the management of land properties, especially those acquired by purchase, as well as their certification. In addition, it is noticeable that they presented themselves as candidates to the election because, as they say, "being part of these committees will allow them to closely monitor activities related to the securing of land ownership for families for which they are co-responsible.

During this activity, APDH's observation is remarkably satisfying. The population understands that with the land certification, the land conflicts that are manifested in the community will largely diminish while claiming their progressive disappearance.