Traditional SEZ benefit concert on CD

Are you still looking for Christmas presents for your loved ones? The SEZ's traditional benefit concert, which took place on October 19, 2017 in the New Palace in Stuttgart, has been released on CD. The Camerata Europeana under the direction of Radoslaw Szulc played pieces by Chopin and Mozart with the participation of soloists Evgeni Bozhanov (piano) and Adrian Iliescu (violin). The concert was patronized by State Parliament President Muhterem Aras. CD orders (€10 plus shipping) are possible at


From the partnership

October was dominated by two major events organized by the Burundi Competence Center: We welcomed around 80 guests at the 30th Burundi meeting and we were invited to the podium at the Frankfurt Book Fair together with Gael Faye.

30th Burundi Meeting On October 13th, around 80 people from the Burundi Partnership gathered in the BW Bank customer hall for two special occasions. The 30th time that people in Baden-Württemberg are meeting to report on their commitment in Burundi and on partnership-based cooperation.

In addition to the anniversary of the meeting, October 13th is also a special day in Burundi. This day is dedicated to Prince Louis Rwagasore, who is celebrated as a national hero of independence. Mr. Hatungimana opened the Burundi meeting with a presentation about the prince, his life and political work. The 30th Burundi meeting took place in a very celebratory atmosphere, not least thanks to the special musical accompaniment by the Burundian musician Bahaga.

In addition to a film from the film series 199 Little Heroes by the Sittler couple, which depicts the everyday life of a Burundian girl, the Konstanz Theater has also proven that art and culture are important instruments of gathering and development policy exchange. The piece 'The Color of Laughter' was created in collaboration with a Burundian theater group in Germany and Burundi. A classroom piece that is intended to inspire young people in particular and make them think is already on tour. 

Frankfurt book fair
On October 15th, the Burundi Competence Center was invited to take part in the panel at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The occasion was the presentation of the book “Little Country” by Gael Faye, which tells of his childhood in Burundi and also deals with the genocide in Rwanda and the Burundian civil war.

A panel on Burundi on the topic of “Forgotten Humanitarian Crises” was organized under the motto “Crisis, Order, Design”. Joyce M. Muvunyi reported on the partnership and how decentralized and civil society connections are becoming increasingly important, especially in times of political instability.

The author also commented on the recurring violence in Burundi and appealed to people from Burundi to write down their stories. Stories from difficult phases of life, but above all stories from everyday life. Also Ms. Dr. Simone Höckele-Häfner from the Baden-Württemberg State Ministry said that the multifaceted depiction of Burundi in “Little Land” reminded her of her trip there and of her own ideas that she had to correct through the trip. The book is an opportunity to take a journey into Burundi's diversity. 

Related Links:


How we want to change power structures

Philipp Keil is the managing director of the Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ). Partnerships between Baden-Württemberg and countries of the Global South are central themes of the foundation. In this context, Philipp Keil examines power structures and their meaning. For example, for partnership projects between Burundi and Baden-Württemberg.

“I have been heading the Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ) for just over two years. The SEZ was founded in 1991 by the state parliament as an independent non-profit foundation under civil law. Due to its close proximity to the state and the state government of Baden-Württemberg, the foundation can be assigned relatively clearly to the privileged power structure. When I talk about an understanding of development cooperation or “us” in the following, I mean the perspective of the majority society.

The mission of the SEZ
The mission of the SEZ is to raise awareness and promote development policy commitment. Since I started at SEZ in September 2015, we have been in a constant organizational development process and always looking for impact. The key question is: How can we contribute to a fairer world? The supranational framework in which we find ourselves is the 2030 Agenda. It is evidence that the world is in a sustainability crisis. It is an almost revolutionary paradigm shift. Because the agenda is largely about the development of the industrialized countries. Goal 17, for example, is to strengthen means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. The subtitle of the agenda is the “Agenda for Transforming the World”. Central questions that arise from this: What does transformation mean? What does development mean? Who is developing whom here? Where do we want to develop? Is economics a means to an end and an end?

Traditional development cooperation, including that at the time the SEZ was founded in 1991, was strongly influenced by the dichotomy between the “First World”, which was developed, and the “Third World”, which was supposedly underdeveloped and in need of help. The majority of society still associates the term development cooperation with images of dry landscapes, sick, malnourished children or destroyed infrastructure. We all know that reality is different. In development cooperation we are dealing with a deeply unjust global world system, which is being fed by us here in the West. In the search for transformation or, in other words, impact orientation and reflection, we here in Baden-Württemberg inevitably have to deal with power structures or with the inequalities that have developed historically during the colonial period. Using Burundi as an example, these include the colonial era, climate change and agricultural subsidies. The development problems of the North such as resource consumption, environmental pollution or democratic deficits have not yet been taken into account in our understanding of development. Development cooperation therefore begins with us in the industrialized countries and, in particular, with the analysis of the prevailing power structures.

A rethink must take place
In various places the distorted view of Western development cooperation screams at you. For example, financial development cooperation for the South from the North accounts for less than a third of what flows from the South to the North in annual debt service. In effect, this means that the South is developing the North. We all know what a central contribution the remittances make, which also exceed state development cooperation many times over.

What does this mean for us as an SEZ?
During this process, I quickly realized that initiating change is more about individual change and reflecting on our organization. I have personally dealt with books such as those by Lucia Muriel, the “Glokal” association or Toupoka Ogotte and as a SEZ team we are working on the topic of critical whiteness.

In this process I came to the hard truth that I, our society and our educational plans are all racist. For example, I was surprised when I realized for the first time that I had learned almost nothing about German history at school about the colonial period. Or I didn't hear or read anything about the colonial period when I was studying economics. Overall, our understanding of development cooperation is based on a Western view of humanity. It mostly follows the basic idea, “as in the West, so on earth”.

The term partnership
In my opinion, partnership on equal terms is a fictitious ideal that rarely occurs in practice. Partnership is also an inflationary term. Partnership at eye level is usually more of an empty phrase. I am convinced that true partnerships are not possible as long as racist images persist and political and economic power imbalances are not acknowledged. Nevertheless, as SEZ we use the term partnership or partnership. For us it's about an inner attitude. It's about humanity, relationships, everyday interactions with respect, tolerance, honesty, trust or listening and inclusion. In other words, we are concerned with participation and participation. To make this clear, I like to use the term “partnership at heart level”, which the partner organization “Afrokids International e.V.” has shaped.

For me, the goal of a true partnership of equals is not an altruistic or philanthropic approach. Rather, large parts of the majority society in the Western world live in luxury at the expense of others. It is more about recognizing the human right to a dignified life for everyone. It is our duty and responsibility to change our behavior against this background.

What can the SEZ do?
We as SEZ know that we are only at the beginning of a process. I can only promise you that we are working seriously to reflect on our work and to question and change power structures. We want to be part of the transformation. For example, we want to learn a lot from Burundians within our partnership with Burundi. We want to be open to dialogue and open to change.”

Philip Keil


Entrepreneur in conversation: Annick Kabatesi

Annick Kabatesi is an entrepreneur from Burundi who successfully produces fashion from the bark of fig trees. She was born in 1983 in Muyinga Province in northeastern Burundi. Today she lives and works in Bujumbura. In an interview with the SEZ, she talks about her everyday work.

SEZ: What is the first thing you do when you start working?
Annick Kabatesi: When I start my work, I take my smartphone, check my emails, WhatsApp, phone messages, Facebook and Twitter to make sure there are no urgent messages that change the agenda. This takes me 30 minutes. Meanwhile, I drink a glass of water and a cup of coffee and get ready for the day. I consult my calendar to see what is most urgent. Then I prioritize. Just before I leave the house at 7.45:XNUMX a.m., I call the people we'll be working with during the day to remind them of our appointment. Then I go to the cafe to answer my emails and socialize with VIPs. After that I go to Murundikazi Fashion store to see how things are going with my sales agent.

SEZ: What does your work mean to you?
Annick Kabatesi: My work makes me very proud because it allows me to show my fellow citizens that our ancestors were brilliant and creative. My work also gives me dignity because it shows that women in general, and especially girls, are also capable of imagination and creativity and can start businesses based on this, even if they sometimes start small.

SEZ: What impact does your work have on your life, on society and on those around you?
Annick Kabatesi: My work allows me to make a living. This gives me a special position within Burundian and East African society. Anyone who says “clothes made from fig trees” today says Annick and whoever talks about Annick also talks about “clothes made from fig trees”. In my environment, young people are proud that one of their peers creates an original business and can live without depending on the work of others. Adults, on the other hand, are happy about the revival of our ancestors' technique of making clothes. The government is proud of me because they see me as a good example of a young creative and a supporter of Burundian tradition. High-level government actors like to wear my products (hats, briefcases, jackets,…) and regularly send me to foreign sustainability events to represent the country.

SEZ: What are your biggest challenges?
Annick Kabatesi: My biggest challenge is to make my product known internationally. I am regularly invited at national and regional levels and have already received several awards.

SEZ: What are your wishes for the future?
Annick Kabatesi: My wish is to propagate the endangered fig trees (Congensis and Ovata) so that my company can continue to have raw material. But also and above all to protect the environment and raise awareness for sustainable cultivation. I also hope that I can teach Burundian youth the technique of making sustainable clothing from fig bark. And I would like to improve the manufacturing technology so that I can be more competitive with clothing made from other materials such as cotton, synthetics, wool or nylon, without losing sight of the sustainable and organic approach.

SEZ: What would you do if you were head of the World Bank?
Annick Kabatesi: If I were the head of the World Bank, the first thing I would do is finance the proliferation of trees (particularly fig trees). Not only to ensure that I have enough raw material, but also and above all to protect the environment sustainably.

Related Links:


Cabaret Buja-BW: fashion and lifestyle

On November 10, 2017, people interested in Burundi met in Freiburg for the Cabaret Buja-BW with the theme “Fashion and Lifestyle”. The Cabaret Buja-BW is a format for informal intercultural exchange between committed people in and from Burundi and Baden-Württemberg. It takes place four times a year. Cheilla Manirakiza was there. She is a nursing student at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg and talks about the differences between Burundi and Baden-Württemberg on the topic of “fashion and lifestyle”.

“The lifestyle in Burundi is different than that in Baden-Württemberg. This needs to be clearly defined. On the one hand, people in Burundi live their everyday lives in a much more relaxed, relaxed and stress-free manner than Germans. On the whole, I would say that people in Burundi live from day to day and think less futuristically. I perceive the Germans as very precise and planning. Here people work a lot more and for longer hours and people are more hectic.

The fashion is also very different. In Burundi, women often wear colorful and bright dresses in winter and summer. Fashion there is generally colorful, eye-catching and stylish. And with lots of little details like sequins, beads, animal patterns and much more. The people of Baden-Württemberg, on the other hand, are rather monotonous in their fashion, often monochromatic and not very well thought out.

In Baden-Württemberg, a fashionable accessory is a scarf or, now in winter, a thick wool scarf. The women here wear a scarf around their neck, the color of which usually matches the entire outfit. In Burundi, jewelry is an important part of fashion. Men and women like to wear a lot of jewelry. The heavier it is, the better. Women like to wear colorful earrings, men like to wear finger rings and bracelets. The accessory does not have to match the rest of the outfit but rather stands out in color. For example, a Burundian woman wears a light green dress with gold beads and then chooses red or orange accessories. We are a happy people, and we show that with our colorful outfits.”


Introduced: Augusta Muhimpundu

Since the beginning of November 2017, the team at the Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ) has had a new scholarship holder: Augusta Muhimpundu from Burundi will work as an expert for the Burundi Competence Center until the end of June 2018. In her hometown of Bujumbura, she is the program coordinator of YESS, a program of the Association Des Guides Du Burundi. This exchange program enables young women to do a six-month internship abroad. The main areas of focus for the psychologist are the training of young managers and the empowerment of women. Since 2016 she has been one of the Young Women Speakers of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

SEZ: How would you describe yourself?

Augusta Muhimpundu: I am cheerful, I really like to help and I would say that I love people. I'm crazy and my dreams have no limits. I try to live to the fullest every day. My family is very big. Our house in Bujumbura was always full of life, with lots of craziness and with different generations. I was the youngest in our family. My father is a university teacher and we lived in a terraced housing estate where many university members lived with their children. As a child I was very quiet, at least when I was at school. I played a lot with friends from the neighborhood and would say I had a very happy childhood.

SEZ: Do you have a childhood memory during the crisis?

Augusta Muhimpundu: I still remember sitting in front of our house with friends and watching bullets fly back and forth over the roofs. That was in the year 2000 and I was 9 years old. It was the most normal thing in the world back then. We felt safe in our part of Bujumbura because we thought it only affected other parts of the city. Today, I know from friends in those neighborhoods that they felt the same way about our neighborhood. When you can't change anything, you find a way to still live a happy life. That was our path.

SEZ: What does your name mean? Augusta Muhimpundu: My grandmother gave me my last name, my father gave me my first name. Augusta because I was born in August. Muhimpundu is the name of a very famous and beautiful melody in Burundi. I suspect that she sang to my grandmother when she found out that I was the first girl born into the family after two boys. “Muhe” comes from “give”. So my last name means something like “I was given a melody”. My father gave me the additional name “Cuzuzo” when I was 22. It means something like “The part we were missing”.

SEZ: What is your professional background?

Augusta Muhimpundu: After school, I studied clinical psychology in Bujumbura and then worked for six months on an exchange program in South Africa. Back in Burundi, I wrote my thesis and then worked for Cafob, a project that empowers girls and women in East Africa. I was the representative of Burundi and coordinator of the project. Before I came to Germany, I was the program coordinator for the YESS program of the Association Des Guides Du Burundi.

SEZ: Why do you think empowering girls and women is particularly necessary?

Augusta Muhimpundu: Burundi is a very patriarchal system. Men have a fixed place in society. They make the decisions and everything starts with them. As boys grow up, they learn that they are more important than girls. That's why it's important to me to help girls and women gain self-confidence so that they can achieve their goals. Why shouldn't a woman become a soldier, pilot or engineer if she wants to? In Burundi this is not a given. I help young women discover what they love, what they want and how to achieve their goals. Reflecting on your own self and your own strengths is very important. An internship abroad can be very helpful. That's why we promote this type of exchange with many countries in sub-Saharan Africa and most recently also with Bangladesh and Nepal.

SEZ: You have been in Germany for four months now. What surprised you the most? And what do you miss most?

Augusta Muhimpundu: What surprised me most was the weather. I knew I would arrive in the summer. And then this: 18 degrees Celsius and rain. I am still positively surprised by the friendliness and openness of the people in Germany. My friends and acquaintances around the world were worried about me when I told them that I would be living in Germany. Germany has a reputation in many countries that the people there are unfriendly and unwelcoming. I am very happy that I am convinced of the opposite every day here and I tell everyone that they should come and be convinced of the opposite. I miss friends and family and I miss my favorite food, such as isombe, a meal with cassava leaves and brochettes, which are meat skewers.

SEZ: What does the partnership between Burundi and Baden-Württemberg mean to you?

Augusta Muhimpundu: I didn't know anything about the partnership before I applied to SEZ and I'm learning more about the long-standing relationships every day. When I'm back in Burundi, I'll do a lot of advertising for it.

Related Links:…


BW-Burundi in numbers: gender equality

What does gender equality look like when it comes to education in Burundi and in Baden-Württemberg/Germany? How many girls and how many boys go to school here and there, go to university and how much do they earn afterwards?

Literacy rate

Completion of primary education

Admission to secondary school

Admission to higher education

Employment rate

(Proportion of the working-age population actively participating in the labor market – by working or looking for work. People working abroad are not included)

Estimated income in US$


Calendar of Events




About Us


Jobs & Careers

Foundation mission


Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees

support group


Global Commune

Africa Forum #Changing the Narrative

Partnership Center

World:Citizens asked!

project funding





BW-Burundi partnership

Act fairly

Future fashion

School and global learning

To connect

Funded projects

World shop directory Baden-Württemberg

Network map for Baden-Württemberg

Media Library

Photo and video gallery

Exhibition rental

SEZ publications