Burundi hosts 6th Africa Scout Jamboree
Association des Scouts du Burundi (Burundi Scouts Association) aims to put the images of a troubled nation, a reminder of violence and the civil war, behind, and is hosting the 6th Africa Scout Jamboree starting today up to 5th August 2012. Although the war and civil disturbances were officially ended in 2005, rebuilding of the societal peace has taken a long time and Scouts have played a significant role towards this, not only in Burundi but also all over the Great Lakes region around Burundi through the well-known “Amahoro Amani” initiative by Scouts. Under the banner “Scouting for a positive change”, the 6th Africa Scout Jamboree is set to offer an experience of a lifetime for the participants, in a country that, despite its “not-so-rosy” recent past, is fondly referred to as “the heart of Africa”.
Even in the heart of the civil war, Association des Scouts du Burundi (ASB) was one of the rare local Non-Governmental Organisations that remained the anchor of peace and unity in the country, offering a common platform for all Burundians to come together, regardless of the their ethnic and social backgrounds, to discover themselves, appreciate each other and work together for the development of their country and more importantly the reestablishment of peace.
The Amahoro-Amani Project, a joint initiative of Scouts and Guides organisations from Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda, has been actively contributing to bridging the ethnic divides in the Great Lakes region. Burundi Scouts themselves have done very well through the establishment of 112 Amahoro Amani youth peace clubs across the country, the members of which act as community mediators. This has not only gained Burundi Scouts the popularity, but also an acceptability and respect throughout the country.
Apart from being a well-organized African NSOs, ASB boasts a very robust National Scout Headquarters in the capital city of Bujumbura and a more than decent Scout Centre in Bungere, in the central Province of Gitega, where the 6th Africa Scout Jamboree will be held.
Dry runs to prepare for the Jamboree
To evaluate its capacity to host the 6th Africa Scout Jamboree, Burundi Scouts have successfully organized two dry run events at the Bungere Scout Centre. The first event was the central celebrations for the entire Region for the 2010 Africa Scout Day celebrations, which was preceded by a 3-day camp. The camp included a “Global Development Village” (GDV), an intercultural exchange programme, peace education workshops by the Amahoro-Amani Project, local community service activities, tree planting and environmental discovery. The Burundian Youth and Sports Minister presided over the actual celebration of Africa Scouts Day 2010, with members of the Africa Regional Scout Committee; the Ambassadors to Burundi from France, Kenya and Rwanda, and over 1,000 scouts from 11 countries (Angola, Belgium, Burundi, DRC, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, Swaziland, Sweden, and Uganda) in attendance.
The second event for the dry run was the 2nd International Peace Gathering (26th December 2011 – 2nd January 2012). It was also the Burundian Youth and Sports Minister who presided over the official opening of this gathering which saw the participation of over 600 Scouts and Guides from Burundi, DRC, Kenya, Rwanda, Sweden and Uganda. The programme focused mainly on peace education, under the banner “Peace, a priority of the great lakes”, but there was also plenty of time for excursion and fun.
Burundi Government’s Support
“The Government of Burundi has fully engaged itself so as to ensure a strong preparation for this important and large-scale Scouting event on the continent. Arrangements were made to facilitate visa acquisitions, local transport and to offer security services to participants”, says the Director General, Ministry of Youth and Sports. The Government of Burundi is committed to use the opportunity of the 6th Africa Scout Jamboree to showcase the East Africa country as a peace-loving country and a peaceful destination. “Nothing will be left to chance”, reassured the officials who were specially appointed by the Government to support Burundi Scouts in the organisation of the 6th Africa Scout Jamboree.
An Experience of a lifetime
The Jamboree is not only receiving participants from all over Africa, but is also welcoming several Scouts from around the world. The 6th Africa Scout Jamboree will be “feeling” and “touching” the heart of Africa. At least, it will be a unique opportunity to experience the people, culture and sceneries of Burundi in a Scouting manner and in the company of other young people from across the world. Burundi’s beautiful, green and undulating landscape embraces the horizon in a way that may make you fall in love with the country at first sight. The heart of Africa, as it is fondly nicknamed, is a landlocked East African country, at the shores of Lake Tanganyika, one of the world’s deepest fresh water lakes, with a population of about 6 million people and a surface area of 27,134 square kilometres.
Official website of the 6th Africa Scout Jamboree