The Association of Mentors for Business and Entrepreneurship (AMEBE) believes in investing in and supporting the strength and capacity of women as a means to build up resilient, peaceful and inclusive societies. However, persistent gender norms and Burundi’s security history continue to present significant challenges for women, consequently leaving many women and their families vulnerable to gender-based violence and poverty.
We at AMEBE are committed to fighting gender-based violence in Burundi by equipping women with the tools to become social entrepreneurs and the skills to grow a collective network with other like-minded women. Through our project, “Fighting Gender-Based Violence and Pandemics through Economic Resilience,” we are leading training sessions across Cankuzo Province within 5 different communes: Cankuzo, Cendajuru, Kigamba, Mishiha, and Gisagara. With support from the U.S. Embassy, through these sessions, we have already begun training and working with over 150 women on how to best identify their community’s needs, and how to leverage available resources to tackle such problems in entrepreneurial ways. The majority of the women are returnees of the refugee camps in Tanzania, jobless high school graduates, and girls who dropped out of school due to unwanted pregnancies.
Through contact with these initial 5 communes, we are already seeing the impact that such training has on strengthening the social and economic resilience of women, including many of whom had been victims of gender-based violence. More and more women are starting to become involved with income-generating activities, and many more are also establishing and participating in locally-organized cooperatives specializing in different works, including textile-making, weaving, and across the agricultural value chain, thanks to AMEBE.
By listening to and working with community needs as identified by women, our training programs are well-positioned to continue reaching and empowering women across Burundi and contribute to the fight to end gender-based violence for all.