Study circle

Here you’ll find reports from our study circle. At the bottom you can read the principles and goals we have decided to have for this activity.

General elections 2010: Political propaganda through sports

As Burundi approaches the general elections due to take place between May and June 2010, tension is increasing within youth especially those members of different political parties.
Since 2009, those young people have organised sports in groups and rallies to demonstrate their force and to intimidate those who do not share the political views.

This phenomena is a reality in the northern part of Burundi (Muyinga) where violent clashes have been reported these last months between youth groups affiliated to CNDD-FDD, the ruling party, in one side and member of UPD and FRODEBU, two of the main opposition parties in the region.

The situation is alarming as it undermines the peaceful cohabitation which was being restored. There is a certain mistrust and lack of solidarity amongst people in the villages. They act according to the political belonging and seem to use all means-even violent ones to convince others to adhere to their cause.

Adelard Kakunze, member of AYC expressing his concerns over youth manipulation in electoral period

During a study circle held on November 22, members of Amahoro Youth Club have expressed their deep concern over the issue. They called upon the youth to resist to political manipulation and adopt a fair-play and non-violent and democratic participation in the reconstruction of Burundi. They have recalled that the same situation happened between 1993 and 1996 and victims of such manipulation are primarily youth. “As we have already seen the consequences of such manipulation, why the youth seems to remain unconscious?” asked Adelard Kakunze one of the AYC members.

AYC Study Circle held on September 13, 2009

Date: September 13, 2009
Time: 15h30-18h
Location: YES Gallery
Participants: Tharcisse, Alice, Innocent, Pierre, Maryse, Vianney, Landry, Jean-Bosco and Cédric. Cédric Ndayongeje, Armand, Cynthia and Panafrica were not present and expressed their excuses.

Facilitator: Alice Sindayigaya
Minutes-taker: Landry Ninteretse
Minutes-checker: Maryse Munezero
Topic: “The role of youth in the reconstruction of the Burundian post-conflict context”
This topic has been chosen in the perspective of September 21, the International Peace Day, where the Club planed to organize a large debate on this topic including not only youth from different universities and other organizations but also politicians.

We wanted first to have an internal discussion on this crucial topic that represents the biggest challenge of Burundian youth at the moment.

Here are some views expressed by participants:

-Youth is most of the time manipulated by politicians because it is not educated. Youth education and empowerment is the best way to avoid such bad situation. There is strong necessity to teach both educated and uneducated youth about peacebuilding and conflict transformation in order to institutionalize reconciliation, justice, non-violence and establish progressively a culture of peace that reduce political manipulation.

-Enemy of youth is not ethnic or regional differences, but youth shares a common enemy which is ignorance, lack of education and poverty.

-Even though we don’t know yet all the truth regarding our past as Burundians, this should not prevent to advocate for peace, justice, truth, forgiveness and tolerance. As young people wanting to emerge, we should not continue living with wounds of the past. It is in our interest to move forward and be focused on the future rather than the past.

-Lack of jobs is a real challenge for most of young people. It’s clear that the government can’t provide jobs for thousands of youth that has successfully completed studies. But, instead of complaining and blaming the political institutions, the educational system or the country and flee away, youth must be awaken, know that times have changed and adopt the appropriate behavior.
The appropriate behavior consists of feeling that each young man or woman can be an entrepreneur and not a job seeker. In the Burundian context, we’ve been told we can’t do anything and there is no job. Many youth heard this and believed it, then lost hope and sense of creativity and entrepreneurship.
As young people, full of dreams and educated at a certain level, we are able to create small jobs ourselves and generate money instead of complaining and being politically manipulated. We have some extraordinary and amazing technologies such as ICT and other digital apparatus that can help us to achieve great things at large scale with less money.

-The electoral period is a particular moment when a lot of political solicitations arose. Here youth must be warned and not engage itself in uncertain and controversial ways which are likely to turn into violence. We had a sad experience these last fifteen years and we can’t accept to commit the same mistake.

-Education of Sustainable Development should be included in the Education Curricula of the country, from kindergarten to university so that people become environment sensitive and friendly from very early age. Adaptable programmes should also be developed for people who don’t have access to formal education. This is the only way to ensure a better future to next generations. Otherwise, if we keep on exploiting our natural resources as we used to do in the past, it is clear that the next generations won’t found enough resources to live, a context which is likely to generate natural resources-based conflicts.

AYC Study circle held on June 28 2009

The theme: “Peace building to be integrated in education system”

The study circle was held around 4:30 to 6:00 p.m in the garden of the Galerie Yes. Twenty participants attended this session. As far as the theme “peace building to be integrated in education system” is concerned, it has to be understood as the process of developing peace in providing resources that can be integrated in the national teaching program. Members found that this is the work of the whole community, meaning the policy makers, parents, civil society etc. First and foremost, people (teachers or trainers) , especially those who can be involved in that process, need to know what is peace and what do people on the grassroots need to know about peace.

According to Macmillan English Dictionary, the word “peace” is defined as a situation in which there is no war between countries or groups. It is also a situation in which people are pleasant and do not cause troubles. In few wards, it is a freedom from war or violence.

Participants found that there are a number of issues that qualify peace such as, the respect of human rights, the access for all people to resources and development, education for all etc. It is then important that, as children learn mathematic, physic science, chemistry and other science in which they become knowledgeable, they also learn peace by peaceful means.

Participants noticed that nonviolent communication, pacific resolution of conflicts, gender issues, human rights, environment, are new themes in our country where we have spent years and years in ignorance of such instruments so useful to promote peace, sustainable development and the prevention of violent conflicts.

That is why policy makers should develop such program starting by primary school where children are still innocent and are ready to follow and to respect an education given.

The AYC should then advocate for peace building to be integrated in education system by giving proof of the effectiveness of such program. Participants suggested then that, while we are advocating for this issue, the AYC plans series of trainings, towards children and young people from schools and youth organizations, on those topics in partnership with other local and international organizations. This is what they called informal education when policy makers are responsible of formal education.

Participants raised the issue that the matter will be particularly brought to parents’ and teachers’ attention since they are directly concerned by the education of children as DOROYAIYE mentions it: “of all agencies of society, which affect children, the home and the school exert the greatest and the most persuasive influence. Parents start the process of education, teachers continue it”.

But, participants noticed that, in a country like ours where we knew many violent conflicts based on ethnic groups and regions one, people do not have the same reading of the history of our society. Therefore, if children learn this at school, there are more probabilities that they learn the contrary at home and for sure they will give all their attention to home’s education.

Parents should then introduce the children to the peacebuilding at an early age and not to revenge. Teachers on the other hand, should sensitized and benefit from trainings and seminars related to the peacebuilding tools and their importance in the education system. Therefore, courses designers should create a new course related to peacebuilding rather than limit themselves to civics which is not helpful at all.

It is the sensitivity acquired at an early age that determines one’s adult behavior towards others, concluded participants.

The AYC contributions is in that process to sensitize the peacebuilding among Burundians by multiplying trainings and seminars on different peace tools and start to advocate for peacebuilding to be integrated in education system towards policy makers in other to influence them. All means (media, writings, trainings, seminars, campaigns, movie show, posters on streets etc) will be helpful.
And where there is a will, there is a way.

AYC Study Circle, May 24th 2009

Date: April 26th 2009
Time: 15h30-18h
Location: Yes Gallery

Participants: Tharcisse, Vianney, Alice, Innocent, Pierre, Dieudonné, Maryse, Adelard, Landry, Jean Bosco, Aristide and two visitors namely Johny Nibizi and Willy Niyonkuru.

Facilitator: Alice Sindayigaya
Minutes-taker: Landry Ninteretse
Minutes-checker: Maryse Munezero

Topic: “Be the change we want to see”

This activity comes as the second part of the study circle held on April 26th when participants discussed generally the importance of change and some of its aspects.
The purpose of this study was to see in what specific fields/areas the change must be applied.

Participants agreed on the fact that change is needed in different fields of the country: employment, agriculture, patriotism, governance, gender consideration, political participation, ect.

Regarding employment, a participant said that the current generation must change its opinion regarding employment and be aware that things are no longer what they used to be. The public administration no longer offers jobs; that’s why students must be prepared mentally to create themselves jobs in stead of waiting for the very rare opportunities proposed by government. Every person in the field he/she is educated must think about a specific innovation that can generate job and money. This is particularly a necessity if we want to reduce the unemployment rate and frustration within the youth.

A participant raised the issue of agriculture and food production. He said that it is obvious that Burundi won’t be able to have enough food for its population if the country do not change the way agriculture is practiced. Farmers must be trained in new techniques of agriculture which are likely to produce more and in a modern way. This must be followed by an awareness campaign to reduce the rate of birth which seems incompatible with the limited space the country has.

“Burundians have not been taught to love their country; they lack patriotism”, deplore one of the visitors. That’s why, according to him, some officials develop a negative behavior when appointed in public functions. They do not realize that it is an honor to serve the country and to do it as best as they can. Instead, they think of stealing the maximum as they not sure to stay in office a long time. By the way, their productivity is very low because they are not motivated and seem not to know why they have been chosen to serve. This must change and provide a patriotic education to children since their little age. It is a government responsibility as well as a familiar one.

Burundians should get inspired by countries which constitute models in some areas. Get inspired but not copying because each country has its own specificities and characteristics.
It is important to take advantage of all resources existing in the country instead of always waiting for foreign aid because the latter will never bring solutions to the huge development challenges facing the country. Burundians must learn to look inside themselves in order to find a sustainable solution to its challenges.

Regarding governance, there still a lot of progresses to do as some officials behave as if they were masters and seem not to be accountable. Corruption is undermining the reconstruction efforts and bad governance is often tolerated. This must change but change will occur when people would have been educated to act properly and serve the interests of all the people.

Even tough Burundi is recovering, there still some ethnic problems and tension remaining. Some people still think of revenge. Participants agreed on the fact that if this negative attitude does not change, Burundi won’t experience peace and stability.

In closure, participants found that change is needed everywhere and that every person can contribute to bring a change in the area he/she operates or lives. Change begins first at a personal level and spreads at local, regional and nationwide level. Change involves a strong desire to see things improving, courage, conviction and sacrifice.

AYC Study Circle, April 26th 2009

Date: April 26th 2009
Time: 15h30-18h
Location: Yes Gallery

Participants: Tharcisse, Vianney, Alice, Innocent, Pierre, Armand, Dieudonné, Alexis, Fidèle, Landry, Jean Bosco, Aristide and three visitors.

Facilitator: Alice Sindayigaya
Minutes-taker: Landry Ninteretse
Minutes-checker: Armand Giramahoro

Topic: “Be the change we want to see”

When introducing the topic, the facilitator recalled that the current generation emerged in a period of crisis and didn’t experience the happy moments of “Oasis of peace” and “country of milk and honey”. The current generation has been deeply influenced by violence, mistrust, rape, lies, corruption and other wrong acts which affected negatively lives of thousands young people. Members of AYC are aware that they will not bring the change in one minute; that’s why they are engaged in a process of transformation which begins first by themselves. When the change will be a reality in the life of each member, then there will be a hope that this change would affect the whole country. What kind of change do we want to see? Burundians need to be healed in their souls and think positively. We need a change of mentality which involves to work together regardless ethnic groups or social backgrounds in order to recover, rebuild the country and achieve a sustainable development.

After the introduction, the facilitator opened the debates and asked participants to express freely and explain how the change we want to see can become a reality.

Here are some opinions from participants:

– We can not pretend bring any change when it doesn’t begin by ourselves. We must consider ourselves as models and act accordingly. This involves change in our personal life, in our relationships, in our way of resolving misunderstanding or conflict, treating the neighbours, working and being committed to different mission we are given;

– One participant asked to be realistic not idealistic in this process of bringing change in the country. He argued that it may take us a long period and facing diverse kind of opposition to change. Reacting to his concerns, others explained that we are already aware that this struggle to change how things are won’t be easy and will take dozens of years. But if today every AYC member demonstrate a change in his neighbouring, professional or academic area and act differently, this may have a significant influence in the eyes of those who look at him/her and surely provoke a certain beginning of change in their mind. AYC members should be like candles which bring light and hope amongst dark and discouraged spirits.

– The change begins when people get tired of a troubled situation and decide to put an end to the anarchy, violence, corruption, radicalism, intolerance, exclusion etc. Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world, ravaged by five decades of post-independence violence deeply connected by ethnicity, history and conflict, and other regional dynamics which impact heavily on the country. Although the context may seems hopeless, if a well-committed generation stand up and decide to move positively together, Burundi could experience peace, stability and prosperity.

– It may happen that our generation does not experience a peaceful and calm context; however we should not be discouraged by such idea, because we decided to do our best to provide best future to the forthcoming generations.

– There is a hope to see the change because many young people realized that they have been manipulated by politicians pursuing their own interests; then they changed their way of thinking and became careful when listening to political messages.

The visitors also expressed their opinion over the topic. They said that they were surprised to hear such positive and encouraging words and added that only the determination they saw in AYC members is enough to show that something positive and strong is still possible in Burundi.

AYC Study Circle, April 5th 2009

Date: April 5th 2009
Time: 15h30-18h
Location: Yes Gallery

Participants: Tharcisse, Vianney, Alice, Innocent, Pierre, Félicité, Landry, Jean Bosco and Aristide.

Facilitator: Landry Ninteretse
Minutes-taker: Pierre Misigaro
Minutes-checker: Jean Bosco Bigirimana

<strong>Topic: “The importance of dialogue in a post-conflict context”

First of all, the facilitator introduced the topic by giving the basic definition of dialogue and its main components. Dialogue is a communication between two or more persons/groups designed to find an agreement or a solution to a problem or to have a common understanding of a given situation. The dialogue involves six main components: the two parties engaged in negotiations (sender and receiver), the message itself, the code, the canal and the context.
Secondly, he emphasizes the importance of two elements which give a sense to a dialogue:
reciprocity and interaction. Reciprocity consists of exposing oneself his/her views and let the other person expressing freely his/her opinion while interaction is reached when the reciprocity becomes too intense and when the negotiating parties come to a common understanding of a given situation.

After the introduction, the facilitator opened the debates and asked participants to express freely and say why they think dialogue is important, when opposed parties should begin dialogue, the benefits and disadvantages of dialogue and if dialogue should be institutionalized at different levels as a tool of facilitation of relationships and resolution of conflicts.

Here are some opinions from participants:

– Dialogue must be permanent in a post-conflict country which wants to instaure a democratic culture
– Dialogue in the Burundian context is not always true; people didn’t tell the truth which can lead to short-term solutions and didn’t bring definitive solutions to problems. Normally transparency, truth and sincerity must guide a successful dialogue or negotiations. Liars and hidden agenda are the most dangerous enemies of a constructive dialogue.
– Dialogue involves humility to accept to hear other’s points of view and take into account and understand that he/she has the right to have his/her own thoughts different from you
– Dialogue is not only necessary in political matters. It must also be a reality between social partners (employers and employees), between parents and children, between members of a given community etc; in fact dialogue is needed in all areas of a country’s life: social, economy, politics
– When conducting talks between divided parties, it is crucial to target the real protagonists and find what the source of problem is. This avoids a loss of time and increase efficiency of dialogue
– In a society when a culture of dialogue is installed, conflicts are rare and even when they occur; they are solved by peaceful means without turning into violence.

Report from AYC Study Circle , Jan 11th 2009

Time: 15h30-18h
Location: Galerie yes

Participants: Ten old and new members of the club: Tharcisse, Adelard,
Vianney, Alice, Alexis, Cédric, Espérance, Landry, Jean Bosco and

Facilitator: Landry NINTERETSE
Minutes-taker: Tharcisse NDAYIZEYE
Minutes-checker: Jean Bosco BIGIRIMANA

Topic: “Citizenship in a Democratic Society”: What needs to be done to
develop a sense of citizenship in young people and help them realize their
role in a democratic society?

First, the facilitator introduced the topic by giving some basic
definitions of what is citizenship and citizen and emphasizing that
citizenship involves rights as well as obligations. He insisted on the
fact that young people are an integral part of society and their input
and participation in their countries’ governance is necessary to
effect political and economic reform. However, many lack the skills
and opportunity to communicate with policymakers and get involved in
their country’s development. Youth are often disengaged from the
political process and rarely develop the sense of citizenship that is
so crucial to building an inclusive, participatory democracy. He added
that to become active citizens in their countries, young people must
have the skills to develop their ideas on reform and outlets to
express those ideas in a constructive manner.

Some participants at study circle of Jan 11th 2009
Some participants at the study circle of Jan 11th 2009

After the introduction, the facilitator opened the debates and asked
participants to express freely what does citizenship mean to them and
what can youth do to develop its sense of citizenship.
Here are some opinions from participants:

– There is a link between citizenship and good governance. In Burundi,
young people as well as adults are most of the time interested in
power and material interests and have a little sense of citizenship.
This is revealed through the political and financial scandals which
are often reported in media. Those who committed the scandals are
somehow “appreciated” as smart persons who know how to profit a
chaotic situation.

– In each country, there are good and bad citizens: a good citizen is
proud of his nationality. He identifies him/herself as a citizen and
not in terms of ethnic, community or religious. A good citizen
defends and promotes the image of his country. (Ex of Ethiopian
athletes who refused money they were offered and remained competing for
their nation.)

– A good citizen is interested to know what is happening in his
district, province and what are the major trends in the country’s
political life. Access to information is a crucial human right for
every citizen. Sometimes it is viewed a an elite right but it can be
used as a tool in campaigning for political, economic and social
rights to help realize a social change in a country. Participants
invited everyone, especially girls and women to always be informed of
what is happening in the country.

The change we want to see in this country begins in our hearts. We
must avoid corruption but develop citizenship in our communities,
universities and careers and act differently. If everyone begins to
act as a good citizen wherever he is, progress can be made slowly and
end in completely changed situation. If our generation is enough
sensitized, it can lead Burundi to a new positive way of governance.

AYC Communication Manager

  • AYC Study Circle – November the 06th 2008

  • Eight members attended this activity namely Armand, Landry, Bosco, Innocent, Vianney, Maryse, Tharcisse and Panafrika. Two were excused namely Sylvère and Alice.

    This Study Circle was somehow different of how this activity is originally conceived. In fact, participants analyzed one point that is the preparation of the Conflict Prevention Project in Electoral Process.

    Participants exchanged views on how this project should be effectively conducted to maximize its impact. Participants found that during this period many youth associations and NGOs run similar programmes. The AYC’s challenge is then how to organize it in a different or special way but in accordance with its mission and objectives.

    At the conclusion of discussions, participants agreed on following points:

    – AYC must first clarify/specify its contribution in this activity in terms of objectives’ definition, message to be transmitted and strategies to use, target groups and area of operation. Everyone but especially the committee in charge of the elaboration of the project are invited to continue to reflect on this and gather ideas which can lead to the success of this activity.

    – AYC membership need capacity building before carrying out such project, so they can be more effective in their role when implementing the project on the ground and have AYC financial, programmatic and administrative capacities strengthened. That’s why the commissioned Armand and Landry to contact Prof. Sururu and Kavumbagu who are experienced people in the field liable to provide useful advices about the project.

    – Participants think that violence prevention in electoral period is the aim of this project. So, the message to deliver must be articulated on the main themes: Citizenship and Youth participation in a Democratic Society, Peaceful Conflict Resolution and Responsible Behaviour in Electoral Process. In addition, the programme should not only target youth leaders but also ordinary youth in urban and rural areas between 18-30 age.

    – A participant expressed idea of organizing this activity in ‘different and relaxing’ way by involving artists, musicians and sports events instead of classic conferences and debates. Discussions with reliable and experienced people will enable to clarify the form and methodology to adopt.

    Participants agreed to deepen this issue in the next Administrative Meeting to be held on November the 17th 2008 at the end of which the first draft of the project should be produced.

    Landry Ninteretse

    AYC Communications Manager

    • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

    The “Study Circle”
    – an exchange framework within the Amahoro Youth Club

    1. Description

    The Study Circle is the first space of exchange created by the Amahoro Youth Club in accordance with its mission. It is an intellectual and educational discussion on different subjects that interest the youth and that have a link with the establishment of a more pluralist, more democratic and more just society. Every participant does mini-researches and exposes, develops his point of view on the subject and can be asked to respond to the questions of other participants.

    2. Objectives

    To allow a space of exchange on issues and strategies related to peacebuilding, development and blooming of the youth
    To develop and reinforce the sense of responsibility and citizenship in young people and help them realize their role in a democratic society
    To give the opportunity to the participants to be able to learn from the successful experiences of of peacebuilding and encourage the participants to develop a spirit of research, analysis and critic
    To promote peace, the peaceful conflict resolution , the understanding and the mutual respect through these exchanges regarding to establish progressively a culture of dialog within the Burundian society.

    3. Activity sequence

    The subject to treat during the next Study Circle is communicated in advance to the participants by Internet or telephone which indicate the date, the place and the schedule of this activity. That allows the participants to have the sufficient material time to reflect and to document theirselves appropriately.

    The Study Circle starts with a very brief presentation of the participants. A short talk is established between the facilitator and every person to hear quickly his interest or/and experience for the subject.

    The facilitator introduces the theme in 10 to 15 min. He just precise the topic without treating deeply the subject in the only goal to open the discussion and to provoke the biggest number of reactions, questions and points of view. The facilitator strives to put emphasis on the problematic aspects of the theme by a description of the problem or position, the causes, the outcomes, the known remedies, the new solutions or further perspectives about it.

    Once the discussion launched, ideas, opinions and suggestions raise from only participants, for the facilitator does not have to influence the group in his reflection. Every participant expresses his point of view and all the opinions are received. During this first step, the coordinator must help to structure the debate. He underlines the expressed divergences and proposes a plan of examination of the suggestions that suits all. The plan is noted on the picture.

    The discussion that follows must respect the strict order of the plan of work; the facilitator sums up whenever a new party is analyzed. When all the points have been discussed, the coordinator resumes the essential one.

    At the end of the Study Circle, a report is established and sent to the participants. One analyzes in which measure the outlines of the subject were analyzed and the objectives of the study reached. A short summary of the study circle is sent to all the participants as soon as possible via Internet.

    4. Results expected

    – a better understanding of the methods and technical employees here and elsewhere in conflict resolution and development boosting in the post-conflict periods,
    – a raised awareness of the current issues and a development of a sense of analysis of the participants,
    – an appropriation of peacebuilding and development initiatives by and for the youth.

    5. Organisation

    The “Study Circle” is organised once every two weeks. The subject to treat as well as the place to hold this activity are communicated to the participants at least 10 days in advance. Even if this activity mainly is reserved to the Amahoro Youth Club members, certain people recognized for their experience or competences can be associated in the debates.

    6. Location

    Although the “Study Circle” be an intellectual activity that requires a certain concentration, it does not demand for as much an academic harshness for his held. That’s why this activity unfolds itself in different places chosen for their calmness and relaxing character and that offer therefore an ideal framework of discussion.

    7. Duration

    2h 30 min

    By Landry Ninteretse, Jean-Bosco Bigirimana, Vianney Bijimbere
    AYC Members

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