By Rosemary Cottingham, The Anglican Church of Burundi's Communications Department
The Anglican Church of Burundi and the Anglican Alliance made a joint visit to the DFID office in Bujumbura, Burundi, to make the case for four African countries which have lost their place in the UK aid programme.
They made the case to DFID country director Mr. Dave Beer for support to be provided through other funding streams for the four – Burundi, Gambia, Lesotho and Niger - which are among the poorest in the world.
The visit by the Most Rev Bernard Ntahoturi, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Burundi, Rev. Pecaduli Birakengana, the Provincial Secretary, and Sally Keeble, Director of the Anglican Alliance, examined the details of the decision and options for the way forward.
In particular they asked for:
Following the meeting, the Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi said, “Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world. After 15 years of civil war the country’s peace and stability remain fragile. The 2010 elections showed that Burundians deserve a dividend of that peace. The closure of DFID’s office in Bujumbura and loss of UK aid are not encouraging messages. Its continuing presence and contribution to community development would help with the sustainability of security and stability both in Burundi and in the Great Lakes’ Region. I believe the faith based organizations in general and the Anglican Church of Burundi in particular could work effectively with DFID for that purpose and end”.
Sally Keeble said: “This was a constructive and helpful meeting. In the longer term we would like to see these four countries included back into the DFID programme as many of the challenges they face are among the DFID priorities. However, in the meantime, we were able to identify some alternative ways forward to achieve our shared objectives”.