Community Ecotourism – Nature Reserve of Bururi

The Project

Through the PADZOC Project (Projet d’Aménagement Durable des Zones Caféicoles) managed by the Ministry of Agricolture of Burundi, the World Bank – GEF – Global Environment Fund has started a pilot community regeneration programme in one of the fourteen nature reserves and protected areas in Burundi: the Bururi Forest Nature Reserve (RNFB).
The intervention concerns a part of territory that, in less than 20 km, leads from the beautiful Lake Tanganyika shores to an altitude greater than 1800 meters.
The Bururi Forest Nature Reserve, situated in the south west of Bururi, is amongst the smallest protected areas on the planet (almost 300 ha), but its particular value lies in the uniqueness of the biodiversity that is protected in this area.
Lilia Infelise has been requested to lead the pilot program and has adopted key methodological foundation principles of the Alliance model ( which is about developing federative leadership and entrepreneurialism, aims to instill in the community the respect for natural resources and get people to increase their ability to use renewable biological resources starting from the use of land and water to produce food, bio-materials and bio-energy.
The Bio-economy concept was introduced, as a major opportunity for innovation, job creation and growth in Africa.


Narrow the gap between the excellence of the resources and the lack of services and infrastructures, according to a plan of interventions that can be implemented in the short period, through the collaboration between the actors and a medium-term plan that instead needs adequate programs and financial support from international organizations such as the World Bank.
Strengthen existing micro-enterprises and create new businesses and thus employment and economic growth, through the introduction of skills and technologies for the enhancement of agri-food production, from coffee to medicinal plants, citrus fruits and fruits such as mango and papaya, generating productive activities compatible with respect for nature, and meeting the requirements of the organic fast growing markets.
Turning the potential into actual penetration of the international niche market, with focus on organic high quality products.
Conserving and enhancing bio-cultural diversity and protecting the natural and cultural heritage of the forest with a beneficial impact on the local communities and the planet as a whole.
Full valorisation of the natural and cultural heritage of the community with a positive impact on sustainable local development, with particular attention to increased employment opportunities and income of the local communities.
Promoting awareness raising and building capacities of the local community with an increase in the understanding and appreciation of local natural resources and preservation of the environment.
Creating a synergy between all the stakeholders so that they put together their strengths to develop the ecotourism in and around the reserve.
Developing the organisational skills and professionalism needed to promote tourism as a life experience.

Achieved Results

In a short span of 20 days field – intervention, it has been possible to develop a strategy, with the involvement of all key stakeholders, agree on a set of standard for the hospitality infrastructures and services, the Hospitality Quality Chart and sign an agreement that commits all signatories to the realization of a well-defined action plan
The signatories of this agreement undertake to:

1. Recognize Bururi Forest Nature Reserve as the proponent of a short, medium and long-term plan for community ecotourism and as the subject responsible for guiding the process, for the development of a community ecotourism.

2. Establish a Stakeholder Forum with the mission to support the proponent in the implementation of the medium and long-term development plan, monitoring and evaluation of results.

3. Collaborate in the implementation of the agreed Hospitality Quality Chart ( Appendix 2) and cooperate in the preparation of a Pilot Holiday initiative.

4. Complete the Hospitality Quality Chart which with a Territory Quality Chart.

5. Participate actively in identifying needs and solutions for local capacity development, including strengthening the sustainability requirements of the existing business, and creating new businesses that can improve the sustainable use of materials and resources by adopting appropriate technologies.

6. Promote the establishment of a service center for the strengthening of qualifications and capacity of all actors of the territory, including, training services to professionalism in ecotourism, laundry services, electrical engineering and systems and interior design, business start-up and business development, marketing and communication.

7. Collaborate to create partnerships with scientists, companies and international institutions.

A programme of visits and events was packaged to be offered, as a pilot holiday experience: Seven days in the natural reserve oasis of Bururi and surroundings: inspiration, ideation, creation and its organisation started, with a first edition to take place in May.

A project for Coffee Tasting Service, is almost completed. It will open the doors in few months in the territory surrounding the natural reserve, where a cooperative of 350 farmer families is cultivating shadow coffee. The tourists will be served with coffee cultivated and naturally processed in the forest (KM Z), an excellent arabica species, with delicious homemade desserts using only local ingredients, such as honey, berries, orange and mandarins.

How to join us

Braking the barriers of marginalization and isolation we have launched an important initiative which needs the participation of committed and passionate people.
The Mentorship Without Borders initiative calls anybody, researchers, as well as entrepreneurial people and technicians, to cooperate either distance, also though webinars, and/or taking part to holiday programmes and then creating project and also plan longer stay to share activities with the local communities. We invite all the green economy members and young entrepreneurial leaders to take part in the project in a very simple and costless way: by entering the Mentorship Without Borders initiative.
If you are interested in the project, we invite you to fill in the attached form so you can share your knowledge and support the sustainability of results and keep informe on furhter developments of the project.
You will have the privilege of being amongst the initiators of a radical new model of community-based economics and civil regeneration in one of the most remote and undamaged natural oasis in the world.
You will be an active member of a team who will build harmony between the flourishing economy, health community life, nature, landscape protection and valorisation for the well being of all on the planet.