New research reveals extreme fluctuations between drought and flooding

By Bruce Petch, Volunteer Executive Director, World Neighbours Canada

Research findings released by the UK charity WaterAid describe how some dry regions of the world, including parts of Burkina Faso, are subject to a “whiplash” of extreme climate pressures. Periods of drought are followed by devastating floods. The research was done in partnership with the University of Bristol and Cardiff University (

The research is consistent with the experience of people living in the Eastern Region of Burkina Faso. World Neighbours Canada’s partner in the country, APDC, has often reported the seemingly contradictory observations that crops suffered from drought during the growing season, but severe flooding damaged the bunds in rice fields. APDC has been working with farmers to adapt to the changing climate. One strategy is to build more rice fields in slightly low-lying areas (the terrain is quite flat). If floodwaters can be controlled, rainfed rice production has the advantage of being less reliant on the distribution of rainfall over the growing season. Another strategy is to reduce reliance on field crops by supporting livestock production, market vegetables (where wells can provide water) and processing of agricultural products such as sesame.

Unfortunately, APDC’s work is hampered by a violent insurgency in the country that has caused many rural people to leave their homes and farms and seek refuge in towns where the army is better able to maintain security.

Thank you Lydia

Lydia presenting to Canadian students.WNC recently welcomed to B.C.: Lydia Tapsoba, a Gender Consultant from Burkino Faso .  Lydia has worked extensively with our local burkinabe partner, APDC.

In one day, Lydia completed 3 presentations to high school students and the general public; and travelled from Kamloops, to Oliver and on to Osoyoos, B.C. In between the presentations, Lydia found time to touch snow ( for the first time ever!), make a snowball, putt a few golf balls and dip her toes in Osoyoos Lake.

WNC welcomes Burkina Faso partner Lydia Tapsoba

World Neighbours Canada is very pleased to welcome Lydia Tapsoba, who will be visiting BC to present information about an innovative project done by APDC, the local partner of World Neighbours Canada in Burkina Faso. Judy Gray, a director with World Neighbours Canada, will travel with Lydia and assist with translation when necessary. 

We are excited about a number of presentations during Lydia’s visit, some open to the public:

Kamloops: Monday, September 25:

  • Private presentation: International Politics class at Thompson Rivers University
  • Public presentation: Plura Hills United Church
    • 7:00 pm
    • 2090 Pacific Way, Kamloops

Kamloops: Tuesday, September 26: 

  • Private presentation: SKSS French Immersion classes
  • Private presentation: McGowan Park Elementary
  • Private presentation: WNC donors / interested community members

Kamloops/Vernon: Wednesday, September 27:

  • Private presentation: Probus group (Kamloops)
  • Private presentation: Okanagan University College International Development class
  • Public presentation:
    • 6:30 pm at the Vernon Library
    • 2800 30th Ave, Vernon

Oliver: Friday, September 29:

  • Public presentation: Oliver Curling Club
    • 10:00 am
    • Oliver Curling Club Lounge
  • Private presentation: SOSS Social Justice class.
Abbotsford: Sunday, October 1:
  • Private presentation: World Neighbours Canada AGM in Abbotsford

Gibsons: Monday, October 2:

  • Public presentation: Gibsons Public Market
    • 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
    • Coastal Room
  • Private presentation: Gibsons Conversational French group

Vancouver: Tuesday, October 3: 

  • Private presentation: Virtual lecture at UCFV
  • Private presentation: Donor’s home

Vancouver: Wednesday, October 4:

  • Public presentation: British Columbia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC) event

Abbotsford: Friday, October 6:

  • Private presentation: Aldergrove Rotary meeting


The full name of the partner organization is Association d’Appui à la Promotion du  Développement durable des Communautés défavorisés. It is a small rural development organization in eastern  Burkina Faso that World Neighbours Canada has supported, in a variety of ways, since 2009.  


Lydia will be presenting information and results of a 15-month experimental project that APDC undertook in 2021- 2022. The project was funded by a grant World  Neighbours Canada obtained from the Fund for Innovation and Transformation (FIT). FIT is a program funded by Global Affairs Canada. After project completion, FIT provided additional funding to allow World Neighbours  Canada to share the results of the project with Canadians, and also with other villages in Burkina Faso. We are thrilled that Lydia is able to come to Canada to speak about the project and introduce a video created by APDC. 


Lydia has worked with APDC when needed since 2007, as their Gender  Consultant. For the FIT project, she supported APDC and provided the staff with information to lead gender training workshops for the beneficiary women and their families. She led focus groups and designed surveys during the project to help better understand the gender equality situation in the area. Lydia lives in the capital, Ouagadougou, but has visited the project area many times and has first-hand knowledge of the challenges faced by rural women in the area and throughout Burkina  Faso.  


Following discussions with women in the rural Eastern region of Burkina Faso, APDC implemented activities with 110 women to allow each woman to set up and manage a  household sheep-fattening enterprise. APDC provided training in basic bookkeeping, techniques in the care of the animals, how to choose an animal at the local livestock market, and entrepreneurial training – the traits of a  successful businessperson.

A key element of the project was engaging family members, and their embrace of the project was one of the highlights. Following the short video, Lydia will participate in a facilitated discussion about the challenges and potential of economic empowerment of women farmers in a region affected by an increasingly unpredictable climate and frequent attacks by terrorists. Discussion after the video can focus on any of the following topics: 

  • empowering women to lead small family-run businesses
  • how men and youth are being included in projects that focus on women
  • why sheep fattening activities are important in the rural economy
  • approaches to alleviation of poverty in rural Burkina Faso
  • the effects of climate change in this region of the Sahel
  • the challenges of working in a region with a severe risk of terrorist attacks

For more information, contact Judy Gray at

Impact Story – Burkina Faso

Suzane and Blandine with Rebeka, APDC coordinator – 2 women who purchased the sheep entirely on their own.

The impact of poverty is complex. Local and international politics, climate change, food insecurity, and culture are just a few of the influencing factors. This makes implementing development projects difficult as there are many factors creating the situation. Secondly, it is almost impossible to anticipate all the outcomes of these projects. That is why the Fund for Innovation and Transformation (FIT) was created. It allowed organizations to study innovative approaches. World Neighbours Canada was lucky enough to receive funding for their partner in Burkina Faso, Association d’Appui à la Promotion du Développement Durable des Communautés (APDC), to test an innovative solution aimed at increasing women’s full and equitable economic participation and empowerment in both household and the livestock smallholder sector.

The following impact story, posted on the FIT website, gives a sample of the different ways the program impacted the community, and one couple in particular. Some of the ways were expected, while some were pleasantly unexpected.

To read the article please visit: Impact Story

Visiting Honduras – School Hygiene

Dileyla Funez displaying the new school latrines.

One of the small projects World Neighbours Canada (WNC) supported over the past couple years was providing materials for latrines, water collection and hygienic supports for schools in communities around Concepcion de Maria, Choleteca.

As a result of the Covid-19 epidemic the government of Honduras changed the requirements for schools in Honduras to have cement floors, latrines and water for cleaning purposes. This was to ensure hygienic conditions. Unfortunately, these requirements were not supported with funds and many schools could not open.

Dileyla Funez, with a parent volunteer demonstrate the water collection system.

In the community of Majada we visited one of these schools that we supported. It is a one room kindergarten school that used to have a dirt floor and no latrine. Now it has a new cement floor, a water collection cistern, and two toilets. WNC provided the materials but all the work, including carrying the materials the two kilometres from the road, was provided by parent volunteers. Vecinos Honduras provided the technical support.

Children dancing on their new clean floor. The previous floor was dirt and would either get muddy or dusty.

We were treated to many enthusiastic children who, along with their dynamic teacher Dileyla Funez, entertained us with song and dance. We got the sense that the dancing was more for the children than for us, but it was wonderful to see the joy and exuberance of the children, and the pride of the parents.

In total, 76 girls and 69 boys from four (4) educational centres in the communities La Majada, La Plomosa, El Peñón #2 and El Peñón #1 will have improved health conditions as a result of the construction of latrines and the installation of water storage tanks to harvest rainwater from the roofs.

Seventy-six parents were involved on the installation of the tanks at these educational centres by carrying materials, providing unskilled hand labour and gaining awareness about creating healthier environments for boys and girls.

This February, World Neighbours Canada (WNC) board members Gabriel Newman and Judy Gray along with WNC volunteer Peter Gray visited Honduras to see the work that was being done by our partners there, Vecinos Honduras. They will be sharing stories and information that they have gathered over the next few months. Write up by Gabriel Newman. Photos by Judy Gray.

Updated Burkina Faso page with videos

World Neighbours Canada has updated the information on the Burkina Faso page of their website as our partner, APDC, has been very busy with a number of new projects. We encourage you to visit and see what has been happening.

Visit the Burkino Faso Page.

We especially encourage you to check out the slideshows on the left hand side of the page. These photos have been taken by one of our directors, Judy Gray, and the APDC staff.

Here is a taste of what they look like. This is titled “Activities.”

Visiting Honduras – Micro Credit Unions

A few members of Empresa Campesino Union and Esfuerzo Collective.

In Azabache, we met with the Empresa Campesino Union and Esfuerzo Collective. This micro credit organization was created in order for the

The meeting has begun.

members to be able to receive small loans. As individual farmers it is almost impossible to receive a loan from a bank. Most of the loans that are needed are actually quite small. They are often in order to buy food to help the families get through the dry season when their supplies run out. Sometimes those loans are for home improvements, farm upgrades or business needs.

As an organization they were able to receive an interest free loan from Vecinos Honduras (with the support of Groundswell International). Members could then borrow from that amount. Men pay 2% interest and women pay 1%. The more money they borrow and pay back the greater their share of the profits. Profits stay in the organization. So far, they have paid back their original loan and now have enough money in the bank to fulfill future loans.

This organization was created informally about 5-6 years ago as part of VH’s holistic approach to community development. In the last year and a half, they have become a legal entity, which is a complicated and bureaucratic process that requires ongoing administration and oversight. This was done to ensure the future of the initiative. World Neighbours Canada has been supporting the training of the local

Yessica has been involved in many Vecinos Honduras programs over the years. She in on the health board, a mother guide, and her business making plantain chips now has a number of employees and she is now growing her own plantains.

volunteers to ensure it satisfies its legal requirements.

It was noted that many of the women present had been involved in other Vecinos Honduras initiatives over the past twelve years. One woman expressed that while they would like to keep working with Vecinos Honduras and would like them to stay in the community, they also know that they have the skills and dedication to carry one, not just for themselves but for the entire community.

This February, World Neighbours Canada (WNC) board members Gabriel Newman and Judy Gray along with WNC volunteer Peter Gray visited Honduras to see the work that was being done by our partners there, Vecinos Honduras. They will be sharing stories and information that they have gathered over the next few months. Write up by Gabriel Newman. Photos by Judy Gray.

These women, along with being members of this collective were also mother guides and monitors in the maternal child health program.

Visiting Honduras – Entrepreneur Ever Perez

Ever A Perez -Carpenter

In Azabache we met Ever Perez. He is a 28 year old father of two who started his own wood working company with the support of Vecinos Honduras (VH). After finishing school at grade 9 he wanted to become an engineer but his parents could not afford to send him away to complete high school and attend university. Instead, he worked locally as a labourer. One of his hobbies was woodworking and he would carve keychains. He was selling them at a local fair when he met Manuel Castellanos, the facilitator with VH. VH was looking for young people who might be interested in learning some entrepreneurial skills.

Ever worked with Manuel to create a business proposal and to apply for a small loan from VH (the money was supplied by Groundswell, an American NGO whose methodology is similar to World Neighbours). With his loan he was able to buy a couple power tools as he was previously doing all his work by hand. He paid back the loan and took out another loan to buy a generator and some land to build an actual shop.

Ever Perez and Manuel Castellanos

Ever said his business is very busy. He has hired two employees to help him. His little company builds everything from doors, bedframes, boxes, novelties, and decorations. He says he has plenty of work. His business makes it possible to stay in the community and raise his children here.

Ever Perez’s hand tools. He has added a table saw to his operations.

Vecinos Honduras has worked with communities in Azabache for twelve years and plans to leave by the end of 2023. Towards the end of the project, after working on capacity building, agroecology, water, and maternal/child health, the community was looking for ways to help keep their young people in the area as employment option are limited. Working with the communities, Vecinos Honduras, supported by other agencies, began working with many young adults on how to become entrepreneurs. Various trainings were provided to support the development of business ideas. Small loans were also available to help the participants made key purchases.

Outside funding ended to properly complete supporting these entrepreneurs and community groups (more to come on that later). World Neighbours Canada has stepped in to support VH in these communities to ensure that these enterprises learn proper bookkeeping and other essential administrative skills to help ensure their success. Ever admits that the administrative side of the business is his least favourite but he is proud of what he has been able to build in three years.

This February, World Neighbours Canada (WNC) board members Gabriel Newman and Judy Gray along with WNC volunteer Peter Gray visited Honduras to see the work that was being done by our partners there, Vecinos Honduras. They will be sharing stories and information that they have gathered over the next few months. Write up by Gabriel Newman. Photos by Judy Gray.

The view from Azabache.

Visiting Honduras – New Communities

This February, World Neighbours Canada (WNC) board members Gabriel Newman and Judy Gray along with WNC volunteer Peter Gray visited Honduras to see the work that was being done by our partners there, Vecinos Honduras. They will be sharing stories and information that they have gathered over the next few months. Write up by Gabriel Newman. Photos by Judy Gray.

The meeting is about to begin in El Chaparral.
The farmers group in El Chaparral.

In the community of El Chaparral, outside of the town of Langue, in what is known as the “dry corridor” of Honduras, we met with a group of farmers who recently started working with Vecinos Honduras.


One of the first steps is to create a map of their community highlighting the features, houses, strengths and weaknesses. They are showing us their map. The map will be upgraded as things change in the community. We interrupted them as they were digging a new well for the community. They were very happy to show us the locations of the water sources.

The map they created of their community.

This group of farmers have come together to work on a shared plot with the intention of experimenting with seed production. They are cross pollinating to create a bean that is even more productive in their particular ecological area. They recently won “best beans” at a local fair.

This strain of beans they have been working on is very abundant.

They want to continue improving production using natural and organic means. They also hope that they are able to save enough seeds to get them through the dry season, when many farmers run out of their own seeds to eat and have to buy at inflated prices. Their future plans involve buying more silos to store the seeds.

A silo for storing corn kernels.

Visiting Honduras – Community Art

This February, World Neighbours Canada (WNC) board members Gabriel Newman and Judy Gray along with WNC volunteer Peter Gray visited Honduras to see the work that was being done by our partners there, Vecinos Honduras. They will be sharing stories and information that they have gathered over the next few months.

This first posting includes some of the artwork found within the villages, mostly at the Vecinos Honduras offices. Central to the imagery is the power of the connection between corn and life. The first three photographs are from a mural on the offices at Conception de Maria, Choluteca. Vecinos Honduras has been working here for the past eight years. We met with farmers, health volunteers, teachers, students, and community volunteers to hear what they have accomplished, and what their goals are for the future.

The last three photographs are from the walls of the offices at Conception de Maria, Langue. While Vecinos Honduras has worked in the Langue district for a while, we visited communities that are new to VH to find out what they hope for their future.