On the blog

Friday, 1 July 2011

Toilet Twinning celebrates Burundian Independence Day: With dignity comes peace.

Ndagijimana Fulgence, Cord Burundi’s Programme Manager and a Burundian himself, gives his thoughts about the journey that his country has been on since its independence.

1 July 2011 will mark the 49th year of independence for Burundi from two successive colonial powers, Germany and Belgium. Since 1962 up to now, there has been some progress in terms of infrastructures, schools and life has improved in many different ways.

Some of the benefits of independence are being able to control one’s own destiny, to live without fear of an external master and to respond to basic needs. These elements are also signs and indications of peace.

In a life of a country, as in any living organism, there are good and difficult times. Burundi, as a country, has been no exception. A series of wars and civic unrest made it difficult to achieve the ideals that our ‘independence heroes’ lived for, fought for and died for. Destruction of livelihoods, lack of unity between the sons and daughters of our beloved country, exile to other countries, massive killings, inability to accommodate differences and cherish diversity have all been experienced in this country formerly independent from other colonial powers.

A number of organisations have stepped in to help heal the wounds of war and divisions; a much needed helping hand to contribute to the efforts of both government and civil society organisations to build a country where everyone is respected and his or her contribution to the construction of the nation is valued. Cord came up with innovative ideas to help people positively deal with root causes of conflicts, get the skills and mechanisms necessary to solve conflicts or mitigate their destructive effects, and along the way lead decent and a better life.

Toilet Twinning has been one of the genius ideas. The simple concept is about having toilets in the west twinned with latrines in the remote communes of Rutana Province. The process helps support more people in getting latrines and provides privacy and dignity, improves personal and domestic hygiene, resist water born diseases and build peace.

Our ‘independence heroes’ had dreams of a Burundi where people are able to cater for their basic needs, lead healthy and quality lives and where conflicts are positively dealt with when they arise. It is amazing how the work that Cord and Toilet Twinning does is continuing the legacy of our heroes, building peace and improving people’s lives. Wish us luck as we make this a reality.

Toilet Twinning was started by Cord in 2009, and is now a partnership between international charities Cord and Tearfund.

Cord has been working in Burundi since 1996, to enable sustainable and peaceful resettlement of returnees and vulnerable people in Rutana province.

1. Ndagijimana Fulgence, Cord Burundi’s Programme Manager. Photo copyright David Morphew / Cord.
2. Fulgence talks with a family in Burundi. Photo copyright Cord.