Burkina Faso

Programme des communautés de Fada


Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa, north of Ghana.  It lies in the savanna and Sahel zones, the wide band of semi-arid grasslands with scattered trees that separate the Sahara from the forested areas to the south. World Neighbours Canada supports a small NGO (APDC) in eastern Burkina Faso, in the province of Gourma. This region is one of the poorest of an already poor country. Fada is the major centre in the province, a city of about 90,000. The project villages are in rural areas outside Fada, 20 to 50 km from this centre.

The region around Gourma experiences both a dry and a wet season. The dry season lasts from October to May, during which a hot dry wind from the Sahara often blows. The rains occur from June to September. Over the past ten to twenty years, the rainfall has become increasingly unreliable, in terms of both quantity and timing – floods are more common and the start of the rainy season, which coincides with agricultural activities, is not dependable. The soil is generally infertile and hence crop yield is low. In the rural village areas, the land is flat, punctuated by low shrubs and scrubby trees.

Significant political instability in Burkina Faso, due to the growing number of terrorist groups, has had a major effect on the work of APDC and has prevented any monitoring missions from World Neighbours Canada since 2018. We continue to maintain close contact with the staff through almost daily emails and occasional Zoom meetings. Thankfully, to date, no APDC staff has been injured in any of the terrorist attacks, though APDC has needed to modify the types of sessions that are held. Indeed, APDC remains one of the few NGOs providing support in eastern Burkina Faso.

Program Description:

World Neighbours Canada supports the burkinabé NGO, APDC, (Association d’Appui à la Promotion du Développement Durable des Communautés défavorisés). APDC organizes and implements project activities, after consulting with the villagers. Their programs aim to improve agricultural production, family food security and increased consumption of nutritious foods by children and nursing mothers as well as increased participation of women in leadership roles in community organizations and small family businesses. Recently, APDC has begun to consider the effects of climate change more thoroughly and is seeking to include agricultural activities that respond to the effects of climate change. Staff continue to monitor and encourage prevention & treatment of childhood diseases and family planning, APDC uses a participatory approach and has activities planned that include educational sessions as well as practical hands-on training and monitoring activities. APDC has a broad outreach in the Fada area – many thousands of women, men and children have benefitted directly and indirectly from their activities over the years. As insecurity in the country has increased, APDC has remained steadfast in serving rural people.

APDC approach to development:

APDC has experienced great success by using the empowerment of women as a starting point for community development.  This began with motivation and training of women in maternal health and child nutrition.  In addition, APDC encourages women to participate in state organized training sessions in literacy and numeracy.  Women are encouraged to form savings and credit groups and use or borrow from these funds to engage in income generation activities. Villagers are now growing vegetables during the dry season to diversify their diets, earn income, and increase food security and have been learning how to earn income from sheep rearing (purchase a young sheep, raise it and sell it for a higher price). Since 2008, the programme has slowly expanded to include 10 more villages, now up to 20 from the original 10.

Since WNC began supporting the work of APDC, funding levels have varied. We have been fortunate to obtain support from Global Affairs Canada (see below) which provided a greater funding level, but there have also been periods when funding has been limited to our WNC donors. During those periods, APDC has been able to adapt the project activities to meet the most crucial needs of villagers – with input from them. We hear on a regular basis how valued this support is and have a wealth of stories that describe villagers’ sentiments about improvements to their lives as a result of APDC activities.

FIT (Fund for Innovation and Transformation) initiative 2021-2022

Together with APDC, World Neighbours Canada recently completed a 15-month experimental project with funding from FIT (Fund for Innovation and Transformation), a program implemented by the Manitoba Council for International Co-operation that is funded by Global Affairs Canada.

From June 2021 – August 2022, 110 women from our project villages participated in family-based sheep fattening enterprises, in which the women were the leaders of their business, but were supported by other household members – their husbands and adolescent children.

The women attended sessions to develop the professional knowledge and skills needed to manage and sustain family-based sheep-fattening businesses, and completed training sessions in basic financial literacy, animal-fattening skills, and entrepreneurship. Over a period of five months, each woman purchased 3 sheep, raised the animals with daily attention to caring for the animals, worked with the vet to maintain a schedule of vaccinations, recorded the expenses incurred and at the end of the 5-month period sold the animals at a profit.

Though many women have little or no literacy, their dedication to becoming competent managers of animal-fattening businesses was clear both in their perfect attendance record, and in their keen observations of how immediately applicable the content of each session was to building a sustainable animal-fattening business. One of the most novel experiences for the women was their involvement in the purchase and sale of the animals, at the local cattle market. Though the women were almost always accompanied by their husband or father-in-law, it was the first time the women had participated in these processes.

We were pleased with the results of the experiment and especially surprised by the positive changes within families, as a result of the gender sensitization workshops that the women, men and adolescents attended.

Maternal Newborn Child Health initiative 2015-2021

From Feb 2016 – December 2021, APDC received funding from Global Affairs Canada as part of the Maternal Newborn Child Health initiative. Through educational sessions, health screening, gardening support, and entrepreneurial training for agricultural activities, over 2000 households in 20 villages improved their health, food security, and revenue-generating capacity. The maternal mortality rate substantially decreased, and rate of contraception use increased. Immunization rates for children under the age of 5 reached 100 percent and rates of malnutrition fell sharply. More than 256 hectares of cropland were improved utilizing low-tech water retention techniques, 24 acres of lowland were developed for rice production, and 11 market gardens were established. In the 20 villages, more than 2,000 women diversified their income and/or increased production and enhanced their independence by participating in market gardening, animal fattening and other practices.

World Neighbours Canada • Box 1771, Oliver, B.C., Canada • V0H 1T0
250-498-1713 • info@worldneighbours.ca
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