Rural roads in Burkina Faso as sources of mobility, revenue and pride

In the east of Burkina Faso, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation supports the local population in building rural roads. All-year round access to markets, schools, and health centres allows the villagers to benefit from increased revenue as well as improved skills and health conditions.
In Burkina Faso only around 20% of the country’s population has access to the road network. The lack of reliable rural road infrastructure is considered as a major constraint to development and the provision of basic public services. Since 2002, HELVETAS has therefore been supporting the local population in the Eastern Region of Burkina Faso in building 300km of roads within the framework of an SDC-funded project. These roads provided all-year round access to 500,000 people. HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation is implementing a labour-intensive approach, providing temporary employment and income to the local population – men and women. The project strengthens the capacity of small local enterprises and masons in building and maintaining roads. It further assists the local and regional authorities to better plan and monitor rural transport infrastructure and provides technical guidelines on how to build and maintain rural roads.

An impact study conducted in 2011 demonstrated the socio-economic benefit of rural roads. The road construction supported by the project resulted in increased economic activity, additional income, time saving, improved school attendance, alphabetisation, and access health centres. Besides, improved water retention along the roads enables to improved food production and water provision for cattle.

One of the challenges consists in improving the sustainability of rural roads by strengthening the capacity of the local communities and local authorities, as well as developing appropriate financing mechanisms for the long-term maintenance of the road network. The project will continue to develop the road network in the Eastern Region and provide its expertise to improve rural access in other regions of Burkina Faso.

This is a project mandate implemented on behalf of SDC

project impact

66136 people benefitted directly from new or repaired bridges, access roads, ways or footpaths in 2016.

more information

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