Project #255 | ID Kits for Batwa Indigenous People

Our partnership with African Road

The indigenous Batwa are the oldest people group in Burundi, comprising of 1% of the population.  Historically, the Batwa resided in ancient forests, living off the land’s resources. Mass deforestation reduced the Batwa’s territory and many have been evicted from their ancestral home. Without traditional means of self-sufficiency, and with limited access to formal education, they face poverty and systemic discrimination. Most Batwa do not have national identity cards.  In Burundi, without an ID, people cannot vote, pursue justice for crimes committed against them, own property, legally marry, seek formal employment, use public transportation, or reliably access healthcare and education.

One Day’s Wages partnered with African Road and its local partner ASSEJEBA, to equip Batwa people with ID cards that allow for protection, freedom, health care, and economic and social mobility. Through this collaboration 1,440 people were issued ID Kits that included ID cards, birth certificates and/or marriage certificates, as well as medical cards that provide health insurance coverage for all household members.  The project culminated in a village-wide civil marriage ceremony that legally recognized 150 couples’ marriages for the first time!

Our Collective Impact




Meet Calinie

Like many indigenous Batwa people, Calinie and her husband had no legal documents that gave them access to basic rights in Burundi. Through the support of ASSEJEBA, African Road and ODW, all of that changed when they received their legal marriage certificate for the very first time:

“Even though my husband and I are old, we celebrated a very happy marriage because we have been together for many years and the government did not recognize us because we lived together without getting legally married. We are happy to live together in accordance with the law. We live in peace, and I am well protected by the law. No one will make me leave my home.

Calinie and her family also received medical cards that give them access to government health services:

“In the past, we were always afraid to go to the doctor for treatment and we opted for traditional herbal remedies. This resulted in poor health in the family. Now because we have IDs, it’s very good because we can go to the doctor because the government pays 80% and we pay 20%. We have all received an ID that entitles us to be called Burundian like everyone else.”

Thank you for making this possible!

Our movement is grassroots, to us that not only means the work on the ground is led by local leaders with the support of the community, but it also means that we raise the funds for our projects through everyday donors just like you. In addition to all the donors that gave $25, $100, or $250 and the campaigners that ran a race or donated their birthday to raise funds, we also want to thank our generous business, school, and faith sponsors who believed in our work and joined the movement.

If you want to support future projects like this you can make a donation to our jobs & skills fund.

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