© Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen

Burkina Faso

Most of the population of Burkina Faso is under age 18, with limited options for earning a decent living when they are ready to enter the labor market. Helvetas supports vocational training for youth in small business and agriculture. But the unstable political situation and increasing insecurity in the country and across the Sahel region is a challenge for the population and development programs. Humanitarian needs keep rising.
© Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen
  • Capital
  • Area
    272,967 km²
  • Poverty rate*
    44% of the population live under the poverty line of $1.90 per day
    Rank: 184 out of 191
  • Population
  • People supported per year
  • Thematic focus
    WASH & Water Governance
    Private Sector Development
    Education and Vocational Skills
    Gender & Social Equity
* Source: UN Data

Burkina Faso has one of the highest poverty rates in the world. Nearly half the population lives below the poverty line. Most are subsistence farmers, who have been hit hard by climate change; regularly recurring droughts have left many families in great distress. Helvetas has been active in Burkina Faso since 2004, promoting sustainable agriculture that can yield a sufficient harvest even under adverse climatic conditions.

A better livelihood for young people

Youth employment is one of our priorities, and agricultural knowledge can help young people gain a stronger foothold in farming. With Helvetas' support, vocational trainings introduce more efficient and ecologically sustainable farming methods for farmers  to feed themselves and their families. Farmers also learn to generate income by marketing some of their produce such as onions, horseradish, honey and gum arabic.

Access to remote regions

The poor state of the roads poses an obstacle to selling farmers' produce at the market. Helvetas is working with local partners to plan and build simple roads that give remote villages and regions better access not only to markets, but also to schools and medical facilities. We train workers and support the municipalities in infrastructure maintenance to ensure that the roads are properly maintained.

More educational opportunities

Nearly half the population of Burkina Faso is under 15 years of age. Without training, it is not easy for youth to make a living. Helvetas supports local authorities in implementping educational and training programs. The courses are tailored for the local employment market so that young people can find steady work as beekeepers or chicken farmers, motorcycle mechanics or welders.

Hygiene habits for schoolchildren

Helvetas is committed to improving sanitation in Burkina Faso. The water supply is limited in many parts of the country. Together with Helvetas, communities build latrines and drinking water systems, especially in schools and hospitals. To promote public health, we also help schools integrate the teaching of good hygiene habits ksuch as hand-washing into their curriculum.

Visit the website of Helvetas Burkina Faso.

The country programme in Burkina Faso is co-funded by the SDC programme contribution.

Our Projects in Burkina Faso

 If you would like to know more about our work in Burkina Faso, click on each project for details.

WASH & Water Governance

The most vulnerable communities suffer from dirty and scarce water. Annually we help up to 500,000 people get new access to drinking water and basic sanitation.

Private Sector Development

Youth need access to reliable, fairly paid jobs to break the cycle of poverty. Helvetas creates partnerships and promotes policies that build more inclusive economies.

Education and Vocational Skills

Lack of education perpetuates inequality because poor countries cannot compete economically without a skilled workforce.



Phone: +226 50 36 37 73
E-Mail: burkinafaso@helvetas.org