To combat food security in Burkina Faso, the Monegasque Red Cross is supporting a long-term programme implemented by its Burkina Faso counterpart

Difficult ground

Located in the heart of West Africa, Burkina Faso is a landlocked Sahelian country whose economy mainly depends on agriculture and cattle farming, which account for 86.6% of the working population. However, only 34% of families have permanent access to drinking water and malnutrition affects close to one third of children from 0 to 5 years old. In the event of a crisis, a significant portion of the population becomes extremely vulnerable.

The Soum province is particularly subject to a difficult climate and increasing population. The often critical situation has spurred the international community into action, but the problem is recurrent and the crises multiplying in number.

The Burkina Faso Red Cross initiated a long-term project in 2013 which will eventually lead to a radical change in mentality.

Coping with future food crises

470 families (over 6,500 people) suffering from chronic debt, weak management capacities and a lack of tools for farming or livestock activities, together with 660 women have joined forces to sell their crops and will benefit from the support of the Red Cross over a three-year period in order to cope with any future food crises.

Currently, eight months after the beginning of these activities, the land has been purchased and farming equipment distributed: some beneficiaries, alone or in groups, have received ploughs, pickaxes, wheelbarrows and seeding kits, training in agro-ecological farming practices has been provided by Red Cross volunteers, while some stockbreeders will soon be receiving sheep and be given training in breeding and the construction of enclosures. Finally, target families and women’s groups, in addition to some schools, will benefit from food hygiene training by the end of 2014.

Distribution des outils agricoles

Currently, eight months after the beginning of these activities, the land has been purchased and farming equipment distributed: some beneficiaries, alone or in groups, have received ploughs, pickaxes, wheelbarrows and seeding kits, training in agro-ecological farming practices has been provided by Red Cross volunteers, while some stockbreeders will soon be receiving sheep and be given training in breeding and the construction of enclosures. Finally, target families and women’s groups, in addition to some schools, will benefit from food hygiene training by the end of 2014.

Water : an essential resource

In this region, over half the population has no access to drinking water. Consequently, the rate of diarrhoeal disease is much higher than in the rest of the country. Therefore the Red Cross has also had to work on improving the food security, water access and health conditions of this population.

Thanks to funding from the White Feather Foundation, the Red Cross has raised the awareness of over 3,700 people with regard to personal hygiene, water management and water-borne diseases. It has also restored two bore holes in Koutougou so that both people and cattle can enjoy drinking quality water. Finally, 50 families have been equipped with latrines.

The project, as a whole, was a success. In only 7 months it led to heightened awareness among the region’s population. That is why most of the families have expressed the need for longer term support in order to adopt good practices with regard to hygiene and sanitation on a sustainable basis. It should be noted that only part of the population were able to benefit from this initiative: the extent of need is greater, with regard to water access for villagers, the construction of latrines (only 28% of all needs are covered in this area compared to the national standard) and hygiene and sanitation practices. Consequently, upon the termination of the project, the Burkina Faso Red Cross recommends long-term follow-up and a thorough appraisal in this intervention area.

One condition : your contribution

The humanitarian section of the Monegasque Red Cross is an international team committed to improving the living conditions on a sustainable basis of the most vulnerable people in the world. By means of projects involving the local communities, the Monegasque Red Cross, in partnership with the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in the field, auxiliaries to the public authorities, has been implementing its expertise in primary care, health, food security and education since 2007.

These efforts require a significant financial contribution: the Red Cross is actively seeking private donors and companies willing to invest in these solidarity projects. If you are interested in social responsibility or if you simply would like to find out more, please contact the international humanitarian section

via email : inter@croix-rouge.mc or by telephone : +377 97 97 68 05.

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