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Country of the Week: Burundi
June 29, 2017

Burundi is a cultural mosaic based on local tradition, agricultural influence, and strong community connections.

The Public Affairs Officer at U.S. Embassy Bujumbura, Christopher Smith, had the message for the YALI Network in Burundi:

First, let me thank you for your service to Burundi and the YALI network. Your contributions have changed your communities and inspired others to follow your example.

I urge you all to remain engaged with your fellow alumni and to continue working on projects in support of Burundians across the country, especially in the fields of youth empowerment and reconciliation. You represent the future of Burundi and now is the time improve your communities with projects that will make a positive, sustainable impact. We stand ready to partner with you in this endeavor.

As Burundi’s network is featured this week, I invite you to explore the work of your fellow YALI network members and to think of ways to build on and amplify the work that matters to you. Additionally, please continue to expand your knowledge and hone your skills through the YALI Network Online Courses; education is a lifelong pursuit.

Once again, thank you for your hard work as a member of the YALI family. I am grateful for your commitment and filled with a sense of pride at your achievements over the past year. I very much look forward to seeing what we can accomplish in the future.

As we feature powerful member stories about entrepreneurial leadership and environmental advocacy, we invite you to be a positive force in your local community, and as we approach Burundi’s Independence Day, take a moment to reflect on how positive change starts at an individual level.

Join Burundi’s amazing Network members and bring impact to your own country by exploring the YALI Network Online Courses and by visiting the YALI Network Facebook page.

Patrick Bizoza believes that business and entrepreneurship matter most in his community.

Man and group of children standing outside of building
Man and group of children standing outside of building

As an active YALI Network member, Patrick founded an organization called the Youth Initiative for Development to engage his community in entrepreneurial activities. “We focus on leadership, economic empowerment, education, youth, women empowerment, and health departments,” he explains. In May, Patrick prepared a youth workshop to combat the systemic issues of poverty, where he shared small business training with his friends and local neighbors.

Inspired by the YALI Network Online Courses, Patrick feels encouraged to better himself as well as his country. The Network “[opened his] thoughts,” in addition to “help[ing] many people” discover new ways of thinking and approaching problems. Patrick trusts that over time, education and access to resources will eliminate ignorance and prevent common societal mistakes.

Join Patrick and members like him by signing up for the YALI Network. You’ll receive email updates, opportunities to collaborate with other young leaders, and access to helpful products and programs such as YALI Network Online Courses and #YALILearns events!

Bienvenu Irakoze is a climate change educator and environmental advocate.

Man presenting information on climate change to group of adults sitting in classroom
Man presenting information on climate change to group of adults sitting in classroom

After completing the YALI Network Online Course and receiving his certificate in Understanding Climate Change, Bienvenu organizes many #YALILearns events in his community. “We promote … ecological sanitation, … [and] educate the rural population on the importance of … [environmental protection],” he says.

In addition, Bienvenu’s events spread awareness about climate change among university students and local leaders in Burundi. In an effort to reduce charcoal consumption, he shares healthier and more sustainable ways for urban populations to produce local cuisines.

Bienvenu continues to passionately work as an environmental leader in Burundi, starting a local non-governmental organization (NGO) called Action to protect the Environment for sustainable Development (AED).

Is climate change an important issue to you and your community? Find out how to get involved by liking the YALI Network Facebook page, and access free online trainings, virtual events, and more by visiting the website.