The Tujenge Africa Foundation is a U.S.-based non-profit organization with operations in Africa’s Great Lakes region. “Tujenge” is a Swahili verb, which means to build or construct. Our goal is to build African capacity through quality, innovative, and boundary-pushing education. The Foundation will help boost the potential of the poorest and most marginalized in the African Great Lakes region through development initiatives that focus on education, dialogue, and economic advancement. We have begun our initial phase of operations in Burundi, while maintaining a long-term vision of providing the same opportunities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, as well as in other conflict-ridden nations in Africa.
Burundi is one of the smallest countries in Africa’s Great Lakes region. Burundi borders Tanzania to the east and south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Rwanda to the north. It is an extremely rural society, with a population of about 10 million people. With an area of 10,745 square miles (27,830 sq. km), Burundi is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Indeed, land scarcity has contributed to its post-independence instability. Burundi’s per capita GDP and Human Development Index are among the lowest on the African continent. In fact, Burundi is arguably the most impoverished country in the world. While primary school is free in Burundi, only 34% of students can afford to attend secondary school.
Today, Burundi remains one of the most isolated and least understood countries in the world. In the East African Community, of which Burundi is a member state, the country lags in almost all indices of well-being and prosperity. In the absence of a well-educated population, Burundi stands to gain very little from the integration efforts that regional leaders are spearheading. One way to rectify this challenge is to drive human development in the country, so that the educated population can compete with their East African counterparts and in the process uplift Burundi. Our efforts are by no means a panacea for the problems bedeviling the country. However, every worthwhile struggle starts with incremental measures. Because quality education is the highest impact investment, it is the means through which Tujenge Africa Foundation chooses to contribute to the arduous process of nation-building.
The Tujenge Africa Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in the United States of America, operating in Burundi with authorization from its Ministère de l’Intérieur. Tujenge Africa Foundation does not discriminate its programs or activities based on race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, age, religion or religious creed, disability or handicap, sex or gender, gender identity and/or expression, sexual orientation, or military or veteran status.
The Foundation’s finances were audited in April 2017 by Amelia Philips, Executive Director of The Somo Project. The Foundation is deeply committed to responsible financial stewardship and transparent fiscal processes. Inquiries should be directed to Foundation staff or through our contact form.
The Tujenge Peace Academy will give access and opportunity to young people who would never dream of attending such a school. We plan to build on our successes with the Tujenge Scholars Program to develop an educational institution to work with students from a younger age, cultivating an academic tradition of excellence that is deeply rooted in empathy, humility, humanity, sacrifice, service, and nation-building.
A network of public libraries will enable Tujenge Africa Foundation to promote general literacy and early childhood education. Particular focus will be placed on creating programing that targets mothers, grandmothers and other guardians, and women of child-bearing age.