Gateri Refugee Center

Burundi is a country in the center of Africa and is a member of the Great Lakes Region. It’s said to be a developing country.
Its Surface area is 27,834 square kilometers that Lake Tanganyika covers alone.

Its population is estimated to be about 6 million constituted by three ethnic groups:
HUTU tribe 85%
TUTSI tribe 14%
TWA tribe 1%

Burundi borders with Rwanda in the North, the Democratic Republic of Congo in the West, Lake Tanganyika in the South – west and The United Republic of Tanzania in the East.

Potential Resources:
Burundi is a country of thousands of hills, valleys and fertile land with a very conducive climate for both agriculture and tourism throughout the year.

a) Agriculture: More than 90 percent of the Burundian population are farmers.The main cash crops are coffee, tea, sugar, palm oil, fish and cotton.
b) Mines and quarry: The Burundi substratum contains a great deal of mineral resources Such as nickel, gold, limestone, copper, calcareous, peat, oil, cobalt and platinum that is not yet exploited.

The history of Burundi has always been marked with ethnic war since its independence in 1962.
The most recent events are those of 1993 immediately after the assassination of the late democratically elected President Melchior Ndadaye and his entourage by the Burundian army.
The consequences of his death was the loss of many human lives, some of whom were Burundi’s prominent people. Refugees were scattered to all neighboring countries and elsewhere worldwide. Still there are a lot of widows and orphans who are in need of humanitarian assistance.
These abandoned children are also in need of education and homes to enable them to become useful citizens in the society. It is important to note that Burundi is having a large number of orphans, widows and HIV/AIDS victims.

Administrative system:
Bujumbura is the capital city of Burundi with a total population of 6 million.
The country’s administrative system consists of 15 provinces and 120 communes. The head of a province is called a Governor. The Commune head is called an Administrator.

Near the River Rusizi, the Gateri Refugee Center is the center for returning refugees from Tanzania, Rwanda, DRC Congo and Uganda who had been displaced during the war. The government has given scope for them to rebuild their settlement and has facilitated land for them to build their houses. The UNHCR has developed a food for work program. People are building their own homes and they are supplied foodstuffs by the UNHCR.
The center is planned for 1000 families (7000 people) for now. Once the people will know about the Gateri center there is a possibility to increase to 1000 more families by 2007.

Geographical area:
Gateri Refugee Center is located in the hilly area of Chibotuke province, 2 km distance from the town of Gaseny. It comes under Buganda Commune. The population of Buganda commune is 45,000.There are two rainy seasons: from March to May and from September to November.
The local crops are cassava, tomato, groundnuts, sweet potatoes, cucumber, carrot, onion, beans and green leaves are commonly utilized for the people’s daily use. Tropical fruits like mango, banana, papaya etc. are also cultivated.

Food is available until the construction of houses is going on but there is no further plan for food security following the construction work. Thus far, the government has only allocated a single plot of 20 x 30 meters for returnees to build their houses but no additional land for cultivating their own crops.

  • Problem of drinking water
  • Problem of food
  • No power
  • No school nearby
  • No good road connecting to center
  • No health care facility
  • No toilet and hygiene facility

Benefit can be assured if land is provided by the Government

  • 1000 families can be settled
  • 2000 people can be employed
  • Over 7000 people will be benefited and 45,000 thousand people of that commune can be benefited
  • Over 10000 of Mt tons of food stuff can be supplied throughout the country per year
  • It will increase the per capita income of the country
  • It will have impact on increasing GDP of the country
  • It will decrease unemployment
  • It will reduce poverty
  • The project will be able to supply the drinking water
  • It will decrease malnourishment and will improve the health condition in the area
  • It will improve the technical knowledge in agricultural production, farming, dairy, and agriculture related cottage industries like, chips, pickle, juice and edible oil extraction, etc.
  • Local market could be strengthened
  • Purchasing capacity will be increased
  • Build up peace and tranquility amongst the people in the country

Cause of the Gateri settlement
During 1991 –1993 civil war in , Burundi citizens took shelter in nearby countries like Tanzania, DRC Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. The Gateri Center serves as a transition point for refugees to return to, until the government allocates them new land with which to resume their normal lives.

About Rusizi River:
The Rusizi River divides Buruni and DR Congo in the North East. The river water level remains at 5 meters in the dry season and increases up to 8 meters in the rainy seasons. The river water will be good for irrigation. It can be used for agriculture. Once it is treated it can be used for drinking.

The government has allocated 1,000 hectares of land for cultivation. AMURT will develop the infrastructure for a water supply system. Water will be pumped from the Rusiziriver to a big water storage tank on high land area from where it will be channeled to different areas for irrigation. We plan for tractors, bulldozers, generators, weaving machines and other useful machines for agriculture purposes. We also plan to install a water treatment plant for drinking water and a power supply system through generators, solar and electricity. Buildings for offices, bakery, dairy farming and a local market construction are also under the proposed plans.

Brick making for the contruction of their houses

200 houses have been constructed and another 800 will be built in 2009

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