CHARLESTON, SC – I am going to assume that you know as much about Burundi as I did before I began to investigate the benevolent work of GLO (aka Great Lakes Outreach). So, before I can introduce you to GLO, I need to familiarize you with the African nation of Burundi.
Burundi occupies less than 11,000 square miles in equatorial east Africa, making it similar in size to the state of Maryland. The country landlocked between Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A little more than half its western border with the DRC passes through Lake Tanganyika.
For nearly its entire existence since becoming independent from Belgium in 1962, Burundi has been plagued with political, tribal, and military uprisings. The country was engaged in a conflict from 1993-2005 in which more than 250,000 people died, 800,000 were displaced, and over 500,000 children were left with only one parent.
Its history of violence has robbed the country of the resources its people need to survive and left it as one of the poorest nations in the world. It is so poor that it is difficult to put a positive spin on its ranking 227th in per capita GDP and 196th in growth rate. Nearly half of Burundi’s revenue is in the form of foreign aid.
Even the fact that 90% of Burundians are self-professed Christians loses its luster upon further investigation. The depth of Christian faith and practice is shallow by any measure. The nearly perpetual conflict has closed schools and churches, resulting in a lack of Christian leadership and an amalgamation of tribal and cultural traditions that have crept into churches and diluted the true Gospel.
This is precisely why GLO’s vision is “to empower and equip strategic leaders and ministries to transform Burundi and beyond.”
Great Lakes Outreach
GLO’s involvement in Burundi is accomplished through arranging and funding collaborative projects with other like-minded, faith-based organizations working within the country. Founded just 18 years ago in 2003, GLO is involved in 11 strategic projects with local partners in Burundi through the Christian Initiatives for Peace (CIP). Most of the projects include programs for feeding families and children, keeping children safe, and broadcasting faith and peace issues.
According to the GLO website, the FBO works with
- Partners for Trust to provide leadership and theological training, as well as medical and developmental projects.
- Harvest International to introduce modern farming techniques, create jobs, provide healthcare, educate children and adults.
- CIP to broadcast programs about peace to the region.
- J-Life to assist widows and orphans in finding their way out of poverty.
- New Generation to bring hope, salvation, and a brighter future to street children.
- Heritage TV to encourage peace, reconciliation, and the good news of Jesus Christ.
- Pacific Action for the Strengthening of Development Initiatives to engage collaboratively across denominations.
- Together for Development Birashoboka to rescue prostitutes, treat AIDS victims, offer skills training, and assist refugees who are single mothers. Birashoboka means, “It is possible.”
- Evangelism Explosion and Scripture Union Burundi to fearlessly share the Gospel.
- Burundi Youth for Christ to raise up a new generation of young leaders who choose godly lives capable of transforming their communities and their country.
GLO helps all people in Burundi, regardless of who they are, In a nutshell, GLO provides:
“Houses not huts, healthcare not witch doctors, farming not starving, education not ignorance, employment not hand-outs, peace not killing… one by one, lives and communities are being changed.”