Burkina Faso has one of the highest poverty rates in the world. Nearly half the population live under 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 promises a sufficient harvest even under adverse climatic conditions.
Youth employment is one of our priorities, and agricultural knowledge can help young people gain a stronger foothold in farming. With Helvetas' support, they introduce more efficient and ecologically sustainable farming methods to be able to feed themselves and their families. Farmers also learn to generate income by marketing some of their produce, e.g. onions, horseradish, honey and gum arabic.
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 kept in good shape.
Nearly half the population of Burkina Faso is under 15 years of age. Without training, it is not easy for these youngsters to make a living. With Helvetas' support, the competent local authorities implement educational and training programs. The courses are geared to the employment market so that young people can find steady work as beekeepers or chicken farmers, motorcycle mechanics or welders.
Furthermore, 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. And to promote public health, schools inculcate hygiene habits, e.g. hand washing, in Burkinabé children.
Visit the website of Helvetas Burkina Faso.
If you would like to know more about our work in Burkina Faso, click on each project for details.