Burundi is ranked one of the poorest countries in the world with a population of 10.8 million and a 74.7% poverty rate. Burundi has suffered through recurrent social unrest, political crises, and civil war since the 1990s, and is home to thousands of repatriated families and internally displaced persons.
Since 2017, Spark has built the civic and economic power of rural communities facing poverty in Burundi. Spark's Facilitated Collective Action Process (FCAP) strengthens citizen engagement and improves rural livelihoods to drive sustainable development. The number of meals eaten per day by families doubles and households see $100+ increase in assets in year one. Through the FCAP, facilitated village "town-hall style" weekly meetings are combined with a seed grant that enables citizens to launch a development project, practice self-organizing and empower them to make decisions about how to use resources for community benefit. There are two provinces in Burundi, Makamba and Bururi, where thirty communities are partnering with Spark to drive their own development. World Centric is funding 10 of these communities.
Spark’s facilitated funding approach is a streamlined replicable method for strengthening the foundations of a community. There are six key phases in the Spark approach where community members envision their future together, plan towards that future and develop tangible goals to achieve their vision. They are provided with a grant to make their vision a reality.
Spark's approach begins with the recruitment of a local university graduate who is enrolled in a facilitator fellowship program. Over the course of two years, facilitators take communities through the Spark approach:
Since 2016, World Centric has funded 48 communities to participate in the Spark process in Rwanda and Burundi.
50,000 individuals benefit from a community-driven project and microloan.
10 villages receive $8,000 seed grants.
Families will see a $100+ increase in household assets in their first year, leading to ability to pay for healthcare, cover school fees, and better housing
The number of meals eaten per day by families will double.
250% increase in households participating in savings groups.
Increase in community members advocating to government entities for additional resources
Increase in number of women participating in leadership roles. 55% of attendees and participants in the FCAP will be women and a minimum of 50% of the leadership on project committees will be women.
Increase in number of youth participating in leadership roles.
About Spark Microgrants
A World Centric partner since 2016.
Spark Microgrants was founded in 2010 to prove community-driven development can be done at scale. Spark has designed a novel approach for launching communities facing poverty into action and has partnered with over 220 villages across Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ghana. Of the village projects backed by Spark, 94 percent are sustaining, 77 percent have launched secondary projects independently of Spark and 90 percent have continued to host regular community meetings where they discuss important topics, such as land disputes and new initiatives. These metrics indicate Spark partner communities graduate from the process with a commitment to continued local change.