In Burundi, access to quality education is a major challenge. The obstacles are numerous and deeply rooted: poverty, a glaring lack of educational infrastructure, a shortage of qualified teachers, disparities between rural and urban areas, and classroom overcrowding all heavily impact the learning environment and impede the academic success of students. 

Seeking to address these challenges, Bibliothèques Sans Frontières (BSF) has implemented numerous programs over the last ten years to support the education of children and adolescents in schools, on the street, and in refugee camps. The latest initiative: the installation of our Ideas Cube digital libraries at several schools in remote areas of Burundi to improve the quality of local education. Interview with Nadine Dusenge, project coordinator for BSF in Bujumbura. 

“Two thirds of the Burundian population is under 25. Faced with social and political crises, rapid population growth, a lack of educational resources, and limited access to information, it is more important than ever to provide people with the means to master writing and reading, to learn, to express themselves, and to have an opinion.

The transfer of knowledge enables the autonomy of populations.” Nadine Dusenge

As part of the DIRECCT program, funded by the European Union and managed by the French Development Agency, BSF and its partners deployed twenty Ideas Cubes in several provinces of the country in the autumn of 2023. These energetically self-sufficient digital libraries, created by the organization in 2015, can operate without the need for an internet connection and offer access to thousands of educational materials and cultural content in the most remote areas of the country.


Une image contenant habits, personne, table, meubles Description générée automatiquement

Une image contenant ordinateur, intérieur, ordinateur portable, personne Description générée automatiquement

Fifteen of them are deployed in the “school networks” of the provinces of Gitega, Ngozi, and Kirundo, to facilitate the pedagogical work of teachers.

“In Burundi, ‘school networks’ are a group of schools spread out in the same area, sometimes even located on the same hill. These schools, which welcome children aged 7 to 18, are centered around one main school where most network activities are concentrated. It is in this central school that the Ideas Cube is installed, accompanied by computers, tablets, and a projector—allowing ‘satellite’ schools to benefit from it regularly!” Nadine Dusenge.

Hand-selected by our teams, the content of these Ideas Cubes has been designed to respond as precisely as possible to the needs of teachers and their students.

“In these digital libraries, numerous video lessons cover the entire academic program: science, mathematics, history, geography, languages, etc. But there are also resources in French, Swahili, Kirundi, and English, on local culture, tourism, hygiene, combatting gender-based violence, or sexual and reproductive health.” Nadine Dusenge.

“This final theme is very important,” she emphasizes. In Burundi, the lack of quality educational resources on the subject can be dangerous for young people. And the consequences for their lives are profound: school dropouts due to unwanted pregnancies are common. “It is essential to sensitize people on the subject early and without taboo,” she continues.

In partnership with the Ministry of Education, special attention has also been paid to the selection of inclusive content.

“One of our Ideas Cubes is deployed in an inclusive school in Gitega, where several students have disabilities. In order not to exclude them, we have selected books in Braille and created around twenty videos dubbed in sign language within the Ideas Cube.” Nadine Dusenge.


Une image contenant habits, personne, intérieur, ordinateur portable Description générée automatiquement

Une image contenant Visage humain, personne, habits, ordinateur portable Description générée automatiquement

Trained in the use of the Ideas Cube by our teams, teachers from Burundian schools can now use these resources completely independently, training their colleagues, and implementing new methods to diversify their classes and maintain the interest of their students.

“The Ideas Cube adds real value to the quality of teaching, and by extension, student learning. For many, digital technology is a first, so getting familiar with it from a young age is crucial! More appealingly than a lecture, videos make lessons concrete. They stimulate students’ curiosity, making them much more attentive, and facilitating their understanding.” Nadine Dusenge.

“Before, computer science classes were purely theoretical, as there were no computers within the school. Neither the students nor the teachers had mastered their use. Today, it’s all much more concrete.” Suavis Ntimpirangeza, director of the Mutoyi II school.

“As a mathematics teacher, I have long relied on textbooks to prepare my lessons; this was often insufficient. Thanks to the Ideas Cube, I am able to use the available videos and exercises to enrich my lessons. It’s much clearer now! It also allows me to continue my own training.” Antoine Ntacomaze, teacher at the Mutoyi II school.

Finally, four Ideas Cubes are also deployed at the École Normale Supérieure in Bujumbura and Rumonge, which train future teachers and researchers.

“Students between 18 and 20 benefit from numerous pedagogical resources to prepare for their exams, their end-of-study internships, or to write their research papers. Students can also create video or audio content to be shared with their peers and enrich the Ideas Cube.” Nadine Dusenge.

Since the autumn of 2023, 890 teachers and 3,900 students have benefitted from this project. Given the enthusiasm and positive reactions generated by our actions, BSF aims to train even more teachers throughout the country, encouraging them to fully utilize the potential of digital tools in the education of young Burundians. 

Read the original Bibliothèque sans frontières article here