Charity Tearfund has launched an emergency appeal for Burundi, as over half the population face chronic malnutrition.
Burundi has faced decades of violence and political turmoil, alongside a changing climate causing droughts and flooding, which has left families across the country with severe food shortages and lack of medical care.
According to Tearfund, recent elections and a referendum in May have given little hope to those facing daily struggles, with the existing administration under President Pierre Nkurunziza now able to extend the length of time they can remain in power.
Tearfund, which has worked in Burundi for more than 30 years, has set up around 36 temporary feeding centres distributing nutritious food, vitamins and supplements to pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and children under five.
The appeal will help families to become self-sufficient and healthier in the months and years to come, by teaching new farming techniques, educating people on nutrition and helping develop better hygiene practices at home.
Desire Majambere, country manager in Burundi for Tearfund, commented: ‘The situation seems bleak, but we must not turn our backs on Burundi. I have seen mothers begging for food for their children. The feeding centres go beyond providing food; they provide dignity.
‘Children are back in school and playing again. Mothers are now proud of the health of their children; they no longer feel ashamed. They hold their heads high with confidence. There is hope’.