Since the coup attempt in May 2015, the media situation in Burundi has been critical, with the closing of several independent media outlets and their replacement by propaganda media outlets. Burundi currently ranks 159 out of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index, published by Reporters Without Borders.In this environment of media repression, Yaga Burundi has managed to gain a reputation as a trustworthy non-partisan platform empowering young people to discuss their country’s issues peacefully with their peers – both online and off.
Yaga brings together Burundi’s best bloggers and influential change-makers from across the political and social spectrum. Since its launch in 2015, the platform Yaga has grown to be an alternative civic space in a challenging media environment. It manages to deal with a wide range of issues, including sensitive ones and politicians and decision makers actively participate in Yaga events and engage in dialogue with young people.
In 2018, Yaga’s most successful campaign #burundisansboost tackled one of Burundi’s most taboo but widely prevalent social issues affecting young people- the use of the drug ‘boost’. The Yaga team first targeted people in power so they would have decision makers as their allies. The campaign focused on raising awareness of the effects of the drug ‘boost’ on young people as well as the society. Since the campaign, the Ministry of Public Security has made the fight against boost a national priority.