Burundi – JIPS – Joint IDP Profiling Service


A political crisis in 1993 and subsequent conflict between 1995 and 2008 caused significant displacement in Burundi. As of 2010, while many IDPs and refugees were able to return to their homes, along with former combatants and demobilised soldiers, the situation remained unstable. Returnees found their livelihoods and social fabric irreversibly changed and many continued to live under the threat of further displacement.

In response to these challenges, the Burundian government developed a national reintegration strategy, which was validated in 2012 (and reviewed in 2017). In order to establish an evidence base to inform implementation of the strategy and the development of a national policy, a profiling exercise was carried out in 2011 with JIPS’ support.

Project overview

Informing national solutions for IDPs & returnees (2011-2012)
We received a request for profiling support from Burundi’s Ministry of National Solidarity, Human Rights and Gender in 2011. The exercise was commissioned by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and led by the Thematic Group Responsible for the Pursuit of Durable Solutions for IDPs in Burundi (GTPDI).

The overall objective was to inform implementation of the national strategy and the development of a national policy, and to provide all stakeholders with up-to-date information on the displaced and returnee population. More specifically, the exercise aimed to:

  • Compile a list of sites hosting IDPs and returnees
  • Collect demographic information on their inhabitants, including the number of individuals and households disaggregated by sex and age
  • Collect socioeconomic information, as well as data on their status, land issues and intentions for the future
  • Assess the viability of the sites themselves, including land issues, access to basic services and relations between IDPs, returnees and their host communities

Profiling process & JIPS’ support

We supported the profiling partners remotely to design and agree upon the objectives of the exercise before undertaking a mission to Burundi in August 2011. During the mission we supported the partners in developing their methodology and tools, and in initiating an awareness campaign to ensure the participation of the displaced communities themselves in the profiling process.

We also led a four-day workshop to train field supervisors and focus group discussion facilitators, and we deployed a technical consultant on a three-month mission from August to November to support the implementation, analysis and reporting phases of the exercise.

Our support helped to create momentum for the profiling process and encourage collaboration among the GTPDI members – which included government entities, UN agencies and international NGOs – and their partners.

Impact & lessons learned

The main impacts of the profiling exercise were as follows:

  • The evidence base established was used to inform the development of Burundi’s national reintegration policy and the broader implementation of its national strategy.
  • It brought stakeholders together to identify the main protection concerns related to displacement under a technical framework, and helped to foster an atmosphere of collaboration vital not only for the exercise itself, but for the activities it sought to inform.
  • The profiling results informed GTPDI’s planning and advocacy activities.

The exercise also yielded a number of lessons learned:

  • The overall process and the final decision not to publish the report highlighted the importance of undertaking a political risk assessment before the implementation phase. A good understanding of the political dynamics and the different interests of each stakeholder is vital in establishing consensus.
  • The profiling results emphasised the importance of understanding beneficiaries’ intentions in terms of durable solutions before planning for and investing in major resettlement campaigns.
  • The results also revealed IDPs and refugees in Burundi were not homogeneous communities in socioeconomic terms. An agreed definition of vulnerability thresholds would have added insight into their status, which in turn would have helped to better target humanitarian assistance.
  •  The profiling process suffered from discontinuity in terms of in-country leadership, which highlighted the importance of devising leadership and management approaches that can be handed over with relative ease.

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