USAID Burkina Faso focuses on building the resilience of vulnerable rural residents by:
- Strengthening the institutions and governmental bodies meant to serve them;
- Improving their productive opportunities; and
- Helping increase the capacity and accessibility of social services (particularly malaria prevention and control services) while ensuring access to more nutritious foods.
Burkina Faso and Niger form the two focus countries where USAID is carrying out its resilience agenda in the Sahel. In this effort, USAID is coordinating all of its programs with the Government of Burkina Faso (GoBF), other donors—particularly G8 member countries under a New Alliance for Nutrition and Food Security—and regional organizations such as the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Key to the success of USAID’s program is that Burkina remains a peaceful and secure country in a neighborhood that has experienced instability in the recent past. USAID builds on the many practices that Burkinabè have used to weather conflicts and natural shocks, helping them even better meet these challenges through a wide range of activities geared to improve local governance, to strengthen the role of those who promote interethnic and religious dialogue and to help youth and women become more involved in local decision-making and cooperative action. Coupled with this work, USAID is supporting political party and civil society organizations that advocate for positive change and participation in elections and communicate goals through the media.
Although USAID Burkina Faso supports a myriad of activities in health, water and climate change operating under USAID’s regional and central programming, it places the highest priority in this area on combatting malaria in this country, which is among the ten countries in the world with the highest malaria disease burdens. USAID Burkina Faso’s health team leads programs to help the country implement its national malaria control strategic plan and achieve objectives to significantly reduce malaria morbidity and mortality, particularly among children under five and pregnant women who are the most vulnerable.
USAID Burkina Faso welcomes other partnerships with civil society, particularly private businesses, that are interested in furthering its key agenda in building resilience.
Agriculture and Food Security
Highly variable rainfall and frequent droughts have a negative impact on Burkina Faso’s agricultural harvest, which often causes food shortages across the country. Because Burkina Faso is landlocked, commercial farmers face high costs when trading internationally. USAID is working to transform agricultural production in order to both diversify and increase the food production, and increase incomes from agricultural activity. This program includes efforts to:
- Expand subsistence farming into larger money-making operations;
- Improve livestock and poultry production;
- Ensure appropriate natural resource management;
- Help producers market their products;
- Expand access to credit; and
- Increase the number of women involved in growing and selling produce.
A related Millennium Challenge Corporation program seeks to strengthen commercial agriculture by building roads to remote areas, strengthening land ownership rights, increasing access to markets and making loans available to farmers. The program also helps farmers with agricultural and irrigation projects.
Literacy levels are very low in Burkina Faso, and only 52 percent of children completed primary school in 2011. Roughly seven million residents are under the age of 14. As part of a Millennium Challenge Corporation-funded program, USAID worked from 2005 to 2013 to increase the number of students in primary and pre-school, constructing six primary school classrooms, six teacher houses, and a pre-school at 132 sites in the ten Burkinabè provinces where girls were historically least likely to be enrolled in primary school. Although the program benefited both girls and boys, USAID has made special efforts to address the additional challenges faced by rural girls.
Despite some progress, the very high level of poverty in Burkina Faso contributes to a dire health situation. Malaria and malnutrition are widespread, and many Burkinabè have little or no access to basic health care, clean drinking water or appropriate sanitary facilities. USAID works to expand access to these basic necessities. We also work with partner countries to invest in health systems and promote innovation.
Malaria, a preventable and curable illness, is the primary cause of outpatient consultations and mortality in Burkina Faso. The USAID malaria control program in Burkina Faso began in 2009 and has assisted the national malaria control program to implement and scale up effective malaria control interventions, including universal coverage of insecticide treated bednets, diagnosis and treatment of malaria with effective antimalarial medicines, the prevention of malaria in pregnancy and indoor residual spraying. USAID’s funding, initially $6 million annually, has increased to $9.4 million in FY 2013. This program works closely with the Government of Burkina Faso to reduce morbidity and mortality due to malaria, particularly targeting children under five and pregnant women as the populations most vulnerable to this disease.
Our efforts on malnutrition focus on improving the health of pregnant women, lactating mothers and young children by providing education and training to women on the following topics:
- Caring Practices: Mothers are taught improved feeding practices for young children as well as good hygiene practices and health seeking behaviors.
- Nutrition: USAID provides training on improving the nutritional diversity and quality of a family’s diet.
To fight malnutrition and support basic education, USAID we provides lunches to students at schools in vulnerable areas and provide take-home rations for girls who maintain attendance rates over 90 percent. To reduce the impacts of cooking practices for improved nutrition we are providing and promoting the use of improved cook-stoves, which improve indoor air quality and have a direct impact on the health of those who prepare meals.
Working in Crises and Conflict
In March 2012, a disaster was declared in Burkina Faso due to high levels of food insecurity – meaning that many people do not have access to enough of the food they need for basic nutrition. The factors that contributed to this situation include unreliable rainfall, dry spells and rising food prices. A growing number of refugees from Mali have also strained the available food supply.
Programs to improve food security among vulnerable households were already in place, but since the disaster declaration, USAID has increased its nutrition programs in the affected areas. To fight malnutrition in the short-term, we give money to those who cannot afford to buy food during the lean season. To strengthen households’ long-term ability to meet their basic needs, USAID creates community savings and lending groups to help people start their own income-generating activities. Another effort gives farmers access to better seeds that will produce stronger crops, increasing the food supply.
USAID is working to address the drivers of violent extremism with programs in Burkina Faso and other countries. We help governments and local partners undermine extremist messages and create partnerships with populations that might be vulnerable to extremist influence. With a special emphasis on young people, this program creates economic opportunities and increases legitimate civic and political participation through the following activities:
- Developing legal economic opportunities;
- Engaging marginalized communities;
- Conducting peace-building efforts;
- Supporting good governance; and
- Supporting moderate media messages.
Environment, Water, and Climate Change
USAID also carries out programs in Burkina Faso that are providing rural residents better access to potable water, hygiene and sanitation and to prepare for the effects of climate change. USAID also helps local partners better manage water for improved incomes and food security. A separate partnership with Tuskegee University in the US and the International Institute for Water & Environmental Engineering (2iE) in Ouagadougou, strengthens 2iE’s leadership role in a regional network of Centers of Excellence in water, environmental science, and technology. This enhances the capacity of participating West African higher education institutions to respond to national and regional goals for water use, environmental conditions, and climate change through courses, research, and outreach innovations and academic exchanges.
Though the last official presence of USAID in Burkina Faso ended in 1995, USAID has remained active in the country through a variety of regional and emergency programs.
USAID program presence has increased steadily since 2004 when USAID began supporting a number of Title II non-emergency assistance programs that focused on agricultural productivity and maternal and child health. The program has remained in operation with an annual budget of $15 million and will remain in operation until 2016.
From 2005-2013, USAID managed two successive MCC-financed girls’ education programs valued up to $40m, that focused on building 132 girl-friendly school complexes in rural communities located in the 10 provinces with the lowest girls primary school enrolment rates in the country.
A growing malaria control program began in late 2009, receiving an initial tranche of funding ($6 million). As of 2013, the annual amount of this program had grown to over $9m per year.
To manage this growing program, in June 2009, USAID hired a Country Program Manager as well as eight other US and Burkinabe staff, and opened a “non-presence” office within the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou, reporting to USAID/West Africa in Accra, Ghana.
In May 2013, after approval by the US Congress and USAID, USAID established a limited presence office in Burkina Faso that falls under the authority of the USAID Regional Mission in Dakar, Senegal.