Jean Paul Simbashira

2023 IVLP Impact Award Project: Services to Street Children through a Holistic Approach (SHA)Burundi

Jean Paul Simbashira is a passionate actor of community action and research, particularly focused on children and young people. He currently works as a private lawyer, senior consultant and researcher specializing in child protection, project evaluation and partnership. Since 2002, he has been an active advocate for youth participation in decision-making bodies, promoting equity and respect for fundamental rights. From 2009 to 2014, Mr. Simbashira worked as a Junior Consultant for UNESCO: UNFPA. In 2010, he also became a member of Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM), governing body for Global Fund against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, where he served as Vice President of the Oversight Committee until 2013.

Throughout his career Mr. Simbashira has participated in numerous international conferences, including the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Initiative (MWF) program, an initiative by former US-president Barack Obama. Most recently, Mr. Simbashira developed the first National Strategy for Alternative Care of Children in Burundi (2021) for the Government of Burundi in collaboration with the International Rescue Committe (IRC). With these service opportunities and many others, he has dedicated his energy and determination to advancing issues related to access to services and justice for vulnerable people.

IVLP Impact Award Project: Services to Street Children through a Holistic Approach (SHA)

The project engaged Burundian communities in dialogues regarding the issue of street children, with the goal of finding local solutions. Jean Paul’s project brought together 60 children living on the streets in Bujumbura along with NGOs, religious leaders, police and community members in order to reunify separated families and provide services to these children. Activities included a series of roundtables, community dialogues, and other public events. These community meetings collectively reached around 150 community leaders from various sectors and with diverse identities and backgrounds. This approach provided a comprehensive perspective on the challenges faced by street children and the events and discussions were carefully designed to take into account the diverse identities of the participants and facilitate discussion of locally based solutions. Importantly, through the combined efforts of the community, the project facilitated the reunification of 12 children who were formerly living on the street with their families. After completion of the core project activities, Jean Paul also hosted two meetings to exchange ideas on best practices based on the experience of implementing the project and lessons learned with 48 key community actors. These collaborations enhanced family reunification strategies and involved street children in the decision-making process.

"As you inspired us, we have set up a small social group with the aim and common agreement to solve issues affecting the lives of street children." - Project Participant

IVLP Exchange Experience 

Jean Paul was a participant in the IVLP Project A Global moment in Time: Peace and Justice, organized by the U.S. Department of State and the Institute of International Education.

Jean Paul's exchange experience led him to develop his IVLP Impact Award Project: "I flew to the U.S. strongly determined to continue listening to others' experiences. This allowed me to understand that there is a way to do better in Burundi by utilizing the practice of holistic approach and community dialogue."

U.S. Communities Visited

Washington, DC; Miami, FL; Baltimore, MA; St. Louis, MO

"The IVLP Impact Award is a great opportunity that helps participants put into practice... knowledge and experience from [the] USA, gained through interaction and contacts." - Jean Paul Simbashira

Country: Burundi

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