With a population of almost 8.1 million people, Burundi is known as a particularly young country with 47% of the population being under 14 years old. The public spending in education is 9.2% of GDP, while the health spending is 4.4% of GDP.


Primary school access is almost universal and is equal for boys and girls. Burundi has a high net enrolment rate of 90.7% for primary school level. Access to secondary school is considerably lower with 20.4% for lower secondary and 17.2% for upper secondary. The formal school system is the major route through which children receive comprehensive sexuality education (CSE). In order to increase the chances of reaching older children and adolescents, out of school CSE should be increased. Teaching approaches for HIV and CSE include peer-education, practical skills, communication and raising awareness and the establishment of STOP AIDS clubs in schools. Some CSE activities are included in the National Strategic Plan for HIV. It is well understood in Burundi that the country must address HIV among young people.


The National Youth Strategy is currently under revision before being integrated into the National Strategic Plan for Poverty Reduction. The major challenges identified in the plan are: discrepancies between the training that youth receive and the reality of the job market; high levels of youth unemployment; lack of coordination between the various youth services and organizations; weak capacity of youth focused organizations and services; and an increase in HIV prevalence among young people. HIV rates are relatively low but rates among women are twice as high as among men. Sexual violence is widespread with 17.7% of young women under 15 and 13.7% of women between 15-24 reporting having been victims of sexual violence. A large number of adolescents do not have easy access to sexual and reproductive health information or services, which explains the levels of unintended pregnancy, unsafe abortions and the high levels of maternal mortality, as a result of HIV and STIs.

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