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Diplomacy in Action

FY 08: Impact Evaluation of PRM Humanitarian Assistance for the Repatriation and Reintegration of Burundi Refugees (2003-2008)

Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
March 29, 2013


Summary report available at:


PRM funded Terra P Group to evaluate the effectiveness of PRM support for assisted repatriation and reintegration of refugee returnees to Burundi from 2003 – 2008. The evaluation studied program outcomes with a focus on safety and dignity, reintegration, and the durability of return. Following an extensive desk review, the field evaluation consisted of program documentation, surveys, interviews, focus groups and statistical analysis. In order to assess reintegration, the study used a composite welfare index measuring household assets and two cross-sectional models to assess welfare variance between families and families who had remained in Burundi. Overall, repatriation programming supported by PRM and its partners was determined to be successful, in large part due to good coordination with UNHCR, other donors, the Burundi Government, and communities of return. Some key findings include:

• Within 4.2 years, repatriated refugees and residents were indistinguishably different on the welfare index;

• After that time, refugees and residents were largely similar in terms of human assets, physical assets, and safety. In cases of disparity, ex-refugee status was not a factor;

• Assistance related to food, cash, land, shelter, water and sanitation, education and health all played a major role in the success of reintegration;

• Returnees expressed strong satisfaction with return, suggesting that reintegration is a self-motivated process in Burundi, based on a strong desire to return to their home country; and

• Significant obstacles to reintegration include land redistribution, overcrowding on existing farmland, and mismanagement by land owners, which limits agrarian potential.


• Donors should engage the IMF, which provides loans to Burundi, in order to address land redistribution;

• The Burundi government should further consolidate land in a public inventory for available distribution as well a system of comparative land evaluation and fair compensation.

• Development agencies should work with the Burundi government to establish a ‘maintenance grant’ for promoting a professional workforce and preventing deterioration of infrastructure for water and other key sectors; and

• Development agencies should work with the Burundi government and communities of return to address deforestation, which negatively impacts livelihoods and other key sectors.

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