Bernhard and Irwin are researching ways to empower the burundian discriminated youth by promoting their economic independence.
In 2009, Burundi criminalised homosexuality, making it an offence punishable by a sentence of two years in prison. This resulted in arbitrary arrests, gender-based violence and subjective government policies. The focus of Burundi’s government lies on economic development and diversification. Human Rights are extraneous to their concerns. Irwin needs to find a way to support the community and enable them to improve their situation.
Bernhard and Irwin recognise the creative industries as a source of alternative employment opportunities for the youth. They will develop a network of creatives between the local and international communities. This network will be supported by a creative trade agreement that includes all human rights ideals. Creatives will be able to share their expertise and grow individually. Eventually, this would lead to the production of smart solutions and give a safe space for innovative ideas. This safe space will give a home to the creatives of Burundi to use their ideas to build towards an inclusive society and economy.
Bernhard will travel to Burundi in the Spring of 2019. There he will get to know the creative youth of Burundi. Together with Irwin he will look further into what formats of cultural and economic exchange would be beneficial for the local creative community.
Irwin is a human rights defender from Burundi, who advocates for social development in the areas of LGBTI and sex workers in Africa. He is working both locally and regionally. As a member of the advisory board of the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship, he represented the full diversity of over two hundred fellows from fourteen countries in Eastern and Central Africa.