The work of ActionAid in Burundi dates back to 1976 when the organisation was registered with the Government as “Action in Distress”. During the early years, the organisation had a countrywide presence and responded to immediate needs of poor people particularly in the areas of facilitating education (e.g. supplying of uniforms and school materials) and livelihoods.
In response to the recommendations of a review in 1986, programmes were refocused in the province of Ruyigi which was adjudged at the time to be the poorest province in terms of availability of social infrastructure and presence of development actors. The smooth operation of the organisation was interrupted by the outbreak of conflict in 1993. This compelled ActionAid to engage in emergency relief that was designed to lead to longer term development. In 1998, the programme was refocused on peace building through a series of inter-related activities designed to rebuild the social infrastructure that was destroyed during the conflict and respond to the needs of people affected by the conflict. Long term development initiatives were planned and executed in partnership with rural communities. In 2000, the intervention area was extended to Rutana Province and then to Karusi in 2002 based on the poverty profile of the different provinces. It is also worth noting that between June 2003 and December 2005, AA Burundi operated as part of the Great Lakes Programme under a Great Lakes CSP. This regional arrangement was however dislocated in 2006 and the Burundi programme became a full country programme as AA Burundi.
The conflict that engulfed Burundi since 1993 compelled the operations of ActionAid to be based on short term three year plans designed to respond to the constantly evolving context. This was because the dynamic context evolved so rapidly that any analysis made became irrelevant before they could be used for effective strategic planning and programme implementation. The Country Programme is now in development process of a CSP in compliance with AAI’ new Strategy (2012- 2017), ‘’People’s Action to End Poverty’’ that would position the organisation to engage with development in the country.