Director-General welcomes US$2 million Japanese government donation of for BurundiThe Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, has welcomed the donation by Japan of US$2.18 million for the “Inter Agency Programme on the Sustainable Rehabilitation of War Victims in Burundi,” which will be channeled through the Trust Fund For Human Security and involve a number of United Nations agencies, including UNESCO.
“I welcome the generous financial assistance of the government of Japan. UNESCO is eager to extend its experience in post-conflict reconstruction to Burundi and welcomes the opportunity of contributing its expertise in this field in cooperation with its sister agencies and the national authorities,” declared Mr Matsuura.
The programme will focus on providing drinking water, primary health care, education to children, vocational and literacy training; improving food safety; supporting income generating activities; training trainers in peace education, and workshops on peace and reconciliation. Other UN partners involved in implementing the programme are: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).
UNESCO already has a wide range of activities in Burundi where some 300,000 lives have been lost in over ten years of conflict. Fighting in the country has also led to the internal displacement of some 140,000 people and to the departure of some 300,000 Burundians who have become refugees.
UNESCO has two vocational education centres (UNEVOC) in Burundi: one provides secondary professional education, the second provides public works training. Furthermore, the UNESCO Chair in Education for Peace and Conflict Resolution at the National University of Burundi promotes research, training, information and education in peaceful conflict resolution.
Education is a priority for Burundi where only 33 percent of children complete a full course of primary education. Enrolment levels are low with 54% of girls attending primary school, and 60% of boys. Adult literacy stands at 60 percent.
The Trust Fund for Human Security, through which the money for the Programme will be channeled, was established in the United Nations Secretariat in 1999 at the initiative of the Government of Japan.