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Peacebuilding Coordinator - Burundi
Burundi is a beautiful country bordering Lake Tanganyika with lush green hills during the rainy seasons. Year-round temperatures during the day range from warm to hot. In the higher-elevation interior of the country, where Gitega is located, there is spring-like weather year-round, and it can get cool enough in the evenings to require a jacket.

Gitega has been Burundi’s “second city,” a quiet, picturesque town in the highlands of Burundi. However, it was named the political capital starting Jan. 2019, and related new investments are taking place. So far, though, it remains quite small, with few expatriate inhabitants, making it easier to build connections within the Burundian community. Virtually everything is within walking distance, and most basic commodities are available, including a wide array of fruits and vegetables. Basic health care needs can be met at several clinics. More specialized health needs can be met in Bujumbura (the former capital) or in Rwanda.

Depending on spousal assignment, it might be possible for the Peacebuilding Coordinator to live in Bujumbura on Lake Tanganyika. Bujumbura is a larger city with more amenities, but also a warmer climate. Living in Bujumbura would require more frequent travel between Gitega and Bujumbura.

The European language most widely spoken in Burundi is French. The local language, Kirundi, is in the Bantu language family and mutually understandable with Kinyarwanda, which is spoken in Rwanda. Swahili is widely known, and it is taught in schools as a fourth language (after Kirundi, French, and English).

Christianity is the predominant religion with Islam as a minority. There are various sub-communities in Gitega, including various Catholic missions, a Swahili quarter, a strong community of Quakers, and communities of several different Protestant denominations.

As in many African countries, the biggest health risk to expatriates is probably traffic accidents. Malaria is common but avoidable with mosquito nets and preventive medicine. A variety of severe but vaccine-preventable diseases are also present. Medical care for basic illnesses is available in Burundi, but it is necessary to travel to Rwanda for higher-quality medical care, and medical evacuation to Kenya or South Africa is necessary for acute or emergency medical care (MCC Rwanda/Burundi subscribes to a medical evacuation service). There is not North American standard dental care in Burundi, but it is available in Rwanda. Professional counseling and mental health services are not available in Burundi but are available in Rwanda. MCC also provides third-party online counseling services as needed.

As in many places in the world, the COVID pandemic challenge was stressful in Burundi and responses became entangled with national political conflicts. Due to travel restrictions, it appears large-scale outbreaks of COVID have not occurred. Currently, land borders with some countries (notably Rwanda) are still closed. Arrival by air is allowed, but pre- and post-arrival testing is required as well as quarantining for several days in a hotel until test results from all passengers on the flight have been checked. The global distribution of COVID vaccines will be ongoing in 2021 and we hope that COVID-disruptions will dissipate by 2022, although economic effects may last longer.

A peaceful election and transition of power took place in May 2020, but the economic and infrastructure context can be challenging.
Jul 07, 2021
Oct 18, 2021
3 years
All MCC workers are expected to exhibit a commitment to: a personal Christian faith and discipleship; active participation in a Christian church or Christian community; and nonviolent peacemaking. MCC is an equal opportunity employer, committed to employment equity. MCC values diversity and invites all qualified candidates to apply.
  • Master’s degree in peacebuilding preferred (a Master’s degree in international development, organizational management, or communications will also be considered)
  • Experience and/or training in peacebuilding and conflict transformation
  • Strong leadership and facilitation skills, as well as capacity in various distance learning strategies and tools
  • Strong inter-personal skills and ability to collaborate effectively with people from diverse backgrounds
  • Self-starter with ability to work independently
  • Detail-oriented with strong organizational skills
  • Strong writing and presentation skills -- with experience in distance learning a plus
  • Networking, fundraising, social media and publicity skills
  • Willingness to travel in Burundi and the region, often using public transportation
  • French proficiency of at least an intermediate level (language training provided if needed)
​Invitations to serve with MCC are contingent on the successful outcome of criminal background check(s).

This position is recommended for a single person or a married couple without children.  There are two other open positions in Burundi which may complement this position if a married couple applies.
The Great Lakes Peacebuilding Initiative (GLPI) was founded in 2004 by three local organizations in Burundi, Rwanda, and Eastern Congo with the support of MCC. These were Ministry for Peace and Reconciliation under the Cross (MIPAREC) in Gitega, Burundi; Friends Peace House (FPH) in Kigali, Rwanda; and Council for Peace and Reconciliation (COPARE) in Bukavu, Eastern Congo. GLPI is now an independent organization registered in Burundi and governed by a board made up of its founding organizations.

GLPI intervenes through 3 main channels, namely:

1. GL Peacebuilding Institute: The GL Peacebuilding Institute is a bilingual (French and English) training institute which offers high quality intensive courses on peacebuilding, conflict transformation, trauma healing, and organizational and community development to peace and development practitioners from the African Great Lakes region and beyond.

The Peacebuilding Institute courses are facilitated by experienced international faculty. These experts have a diverse range of peacebuilding skills and experiences, and use participatory, interactive, and creative teaching methods to stimulate meaningful learning and listening environments for participants.

2. Support for Alumni Initiatives: After their GLPI training, alumni organize themselves locally into cooperative chapters through which they can more effectively initiate actions for peace within their local communities. Through these alumni chapters GLPI can continues to support the initiatives catalyzed by the trainings. Several GLPI chapters already exist in Burundi, Rwanda and the DRC. GLPI's alumni network is currently made up of about 450 peacebuilders in the Great Lakes region and beyond.

3. Research and publications: GLPI, in collaboration with its professors, partners, laureates, and other peace universities, conducts research on various topics related to peace and conflict transformation, designs training modules, and disseminates publications based on the testimonies and experiences of peacemakers.

GLPI envisions the African Great Lakes region as a space where a culture of solidarity and sustainable and development can be developed and nurtured. To achieve this vision, GLPI commits to bringing peacebuilders in the region closer together by strengthening their capacities, sharing best practices, and exchanging experiences through theoretical and practical courses, all with the goal of building active networks of change agents.

GLPI has grown institutionally over the past five years. In October 2019 it added a community and organizational development track to the annual October Institute to complement the existing peacebuilding track, which proved very successful. Unfortunately, in 2020 the COVID pandemic and related travel restrictions meant the October Institute could not be held. This caused a reorientation towards online training and communication, a new methodology that needs further development and is expected to continue in some form even if/when annual in-person Institutes can resume. GLPI has also been developing relationships with other INGOs to expand the base of partners who sponsor participants in GLPI trainings, a task that needs ongoing attention.

The work of the MCC Burundi Peacebuilding Coordinator involves organizational development and the fostering of positive learning environments, as well managing publicity and logistics. She/he oversees the work of building and maintaining partnerships, designing courses, recruiting participants, hiring faculty, managing training sessions, participation in board meetings, and developing and implementing strategies for GLPI’s institutional growth. The COVID pandemic highlighted the need to expand training via distance learning courses, so the coordinator will plan and help implement new online offerings. If the MCC service worker has an MA in a relevant field, she/he may also facilitate or teach courses herself/himself. The MCC service worker supervises the Secretary-Accountant of GLPI in collaboration with the GLPI director.

In his/her wider complementary role, the Burundi Peacebuilding Coordinator will support MCC’s peacebuilding work not only in Burundi, but also in the Great Lakes region and across the continent. This includes supporting regional reconciliation and peacebuilding networks; supporting peace clubs and other community peacebuilding infrastructure; and coordinating with other MCC Africa peacebuilding staff to expand and deepen the impact of MCC-supported peace work on the continent.

This assignment presents an opportunity for an MCC service worker to learn about local, regional, and continental peacebuilding efforts from MCC partners with decades of grassroots peacebuilding experience, while also contributing valued expertise. Because GLPI serves the region, the service worker will have frequent opportunities to travel and build networks throughout the Great Lakes region (assuming COVID travel restrictions ease over the next year.) These networking efforts can complement efforts to expand the base of sponsors for GLPI participants as noted above.

In addition to the MCC service worker in Gitega, the MCC Rwanda/Burundi team includes two additional service workers and a national staff person in Bujumbura, where the MCC Burundi office is located (a two-hour drive from Gitega). The MCC Representatives for the R/B program live in Kigali, Rwanda, a five-hour drive from Gitega. At the Kigali office there are two national staff, and there are usually two or three SALTers also located in Kigali. When travel restrictions are not in place, MCC R/B meets three times a year, twice for team gatherings and once for a partner gathering.
Far distance to emergency medical care; Limited dental care available; Political instability; Occasional overnights; Occasional evening and weekend work; Occasional long days; Local church not supportive to LGTBQ+ persons; Local area not supportive to LGTBQ+ persons
1. In programmatic roles at GLPI, the Burundi Peacebuilding Coordinator will:
• Oversee the implementation of GLPI programs: 1) research and documentation; 2) peace and development trainings, and 3) alumni engagement
• Help coordinate GLPI programs in collaboration with the Technical Committee and the GLPI Board
• Supervise the GLPI Secretary-Accountant
• Develop and maintain networks and strategic linkages with partner organizations in collaboration with the GLPI Director
• Mobilize new funding and new partnerships for GLPI
• Provide strategic direction for GLPI through planning, monitoring, evaluation, and reporting (PMER) processes
• Report to and assist the GLPI Board to meet their strategic goals
• Oversee the October Institute, as well as special training modules
o Finalize course offerings and select facilitators
o Recruit participants and publicize the institute
o Facilitate course(s) as interested
o Manage logistics and budget
• Help GLPI improve its organizational management and procedures
• Oversee the development of relations with local and regional universities
• Support the development of GLPI alumni networks
• Collect stories of peacebuilding from GLPI alumni in the field to document and publish electronically and/or as printed material
• Chair monthly planning meetings
• Recruit GLPI project coordinators and coordinates their activities
• Monitor the progress of various projects, including their data collection and activity reports
• Approve purchase requests for project activities

2. In administrative roles at GLPI, the Burundi Peacebuilding Coordinator will:
• Ensure electronic archiving of important GLPI documents
• Help develop and implement policies for the management of GLPI assets
• Help develop and safeguard good governance practices for GLPI

3. Beyond his/her roles with GLPI, the Burundi Peacebuilding Coordinator cooperates with
• Great Lakes Initiative (GLI)
• Quaker Peace Network (QPN)
• MCC Africa Peacebuilding Network (MAPN)
• MCC Africa Strategic Peacebuilding Goals Working Group
• The Coordinating Team of MCC-supported peacebuilding institutes in Africa

4. Regularly attend a local church. Participate in MCC Burundi team life and responsibilities, such as team meetings, worker reports, and retreats. Model non-violent peacemaking in the workplace and community through respectful interactions with others.

The Peacebuilding Coordinator will be directly supervised by the GLPI Director, but will also report to and collaborate with the GLPI board.

This is a position that offers considerable room for initiative and engagement with the organization's purpose. A service worker with organizational and leadership skills who is committed to peace and collaboration with others will thrive.
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