Students from Burundi’s Police University in a small group discussion.

Update on World Refugee Day matching funds for Transforming Community for Social Change’s Kakuma Refugee Camp project:  To say the least the Global Giving matching campaign was a great disappointment. The $100,000 was gone by 9:30 AM in the US. At 12:30 AM (i.e., the middle of the night) 1/3 of the funds was seized by big donors giving $2500 to $5000. The organization with the biggest donors received $19,000 (19%) of the bonus funds. The largest 5 received $56,000 (56%).

When the matching funds finished, I had to send out an email/facebook message saying that the funds had finished. By that time the Kakuma Refugee Camp project had received 8 donations for $1453. This was the 18th largest amount out of 133 organizations that participated in World Refugee Day campaign. This total was much less than the $4,000 I had set as our goal. We will get a match of $1453. With the $390 we have received in non-matching funds, our total will be $3296 less $184 for fees or $3112. This will allow us to do a project there, but not nearly as extensive as I had hoped.

Global Giving’s Accelerator Innovations in Peacemaking – Burundi Campaign Update through June 21.

Organization Donations     Donors  
  Raised Remaining   Number Remaining
Innovations in Peacemaking — Burundi      $2422     $2578   14 26

Update on Innovations in Peacemaking – Burundi’s Accelerator Campaign: The Global Giving bonus day for IPB was OK but not great. We received $1818 in donations, but only $82 of bonus because there were so many donations that each organization only received a bonus of 4.5%, much lower than the past. We ranked 43rd out of 675 organizations in the bonus campaign.

It is interesting to note that $1000 of these donations came from Burundi, while only $818 came from Britain and the United States.

To date Innovations in Peacemaking — Burundi has had 14 unique donors of the 40 required. We need 26 more unique donors. Last March after the bonus day, TCSC had 32 donors and FWA had 39. We are way behind. The minimum donation is $10 and I hope that we can quickly have people donate so that we reach the goal of 40 unique donors.

As to funds, in total we now have $2422 of the $5,000 we need. We need to raise an additional $2578. TCSC had $2700 after its bonus day while FWA had $4375.

We have 9 more days to go to get 26 more donors and $2578.

To donate to Innovations in Peacemaking – Burundi, go to

 Please forward this email to those whom you know who might want to contribute.

Below I have included a testimony on Elie and his work from Karoline Caesar who worked with him in Burundi for many years.

 Letter to encourage donations to Elie’s and IPB’s project with the University Student Network.

By Karoline Caesar

I have been working in peacebuilding for more than ten years. One of my most defining experiences has been to collaborate with Elie Nahimana in Burundi.

During the 3.5 years of our partnership we documented local peace committees’ work and linked them up with the Bujumbura’s civil society with the aim to promote differentiated and inclusive dialogues about reconciliation. Little by little I got to know my colleague Elie and the story of his life. We jointly organized work at the office, discussed how to best promote peaceful solutions, went to the field and attended meetings in Bujumbura.

Elie Nahimana, Founder and National Coordinator for Innovations in Peacemaking – Burundi.

In the following I will try to describe Elie the way I experienced him.

  • Elie comes from a hill in central Burundi. In the midst of massacres he met friends from the other ethnic group to analyze the situation and to find a solution. As the country’s first peace committee in 1993 today they are still together continuing to serve people in their town.
  • Elie is known among the population for having built [physical] bridges in Burundi in the 1990s – wherever we went chances were high that some people would run towards him to greet him as he can point to bridges that he has built during the civil war.
  • Elie fund raised money to construct a large new church building in Bujumbura and he succeeded against all odds proving to many doubtful people that this was actually possible without foreign aid.
  • He is the father of five children and three grandchildren and insisted that his two daughters should study and work.
  • When he started to learn English at the age of 40+, he was told that the brain could not absorb knowledge of new languages at that age – he is fluent now. He started to study for his Master’s degree when he was more than 50 years old and he graduated with distinction.
  • Elie once held a high-level leadership position in his church and decided to only keep it as long as he had support for his strategy. He did not mind leaving it for others once people no longer approved. Consequently he kept good relations for future projects.
  • Elie even at the age of 54 was never too tired for long motorbike taxi rides to bring together foreign journalists with local mediators so that they could learn and report about Burundian peacemaking strategies.
  • He likes to listen to people and advises anyone from high-level elites to the poorest Burundian. He remembers their stories and shares them.
  • Elie multitasks and he does not seem to know the meaning of the word “weekend”. After a long work day he likes to take his children, orphans, or distant relatives who also live with him, for long walks.
  • He is insightful and wise and still alive like a young person interested in trying out things – he is still growing.
  • He combines ingenuity with humbleness, sharpness and faith in quite unusual ways, and as his father had been a sage, too, I believe that Elie probably become one after him.
  • Elie is a pastor who always enjoys discussing the Bible and philosophy with everyone in the car on long rides to the field.
  • He is the most positively thinking person I have known, and it is hard to believe that he has been through the hardships of civil war with an attitude like that.
  • This was, in brief, how I came to see him. I am happy that I was so privileged to have been able to get to know him.

Project idea

Elie Nahimana’s most recent project idea focuses on the future leaders of his country – university students. He would like to connect them into a nation-wide network where they get to know each other, learn together, and listen to each other.

End celebration at workshop for students at the Military University.

Universities shall become breeding grounds for peaceful leaders who will find it easy to collaborate with one another once they start their careers. This includes the universities for police officers and soldiers.

This will be achieved through peer-learning and training on mechanisms of trauma and healing, non-violent conflict transformation, and creative income generation.

I find this vision inspiring and will support Elie in making it come true.

The 50% of the Burundians who are young need a dynamic and positive vision to fully engage themselves. In pre-colonial times, nationwide networks balancing influence and fostering collaboration used to help manage Burundian public affairs. This speaks for Elie’s project. I hope that he will succeed. I hope to come visit to witness the progress of his program with my own eyes and to soon meet my wise colleague again.

Please donate $10 or above to Innovations in Peacemaking – Burundi at


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David Zarembka

Transforming Community for Social Change (TCSC)

Phone 254 (0)726 590 783
Reports from Kenya:


Webpages: (Kenya) (Burundi) Burundi (Rwanda)