Despite its tremendous agricultural potential, Burkina Faso has long grappled with the thorny problem of food and nutrition security.
Poor water usage, environmental degradation, vulnerability to climate change and lack of access to finance and to nutrition information are just some of the causes of food insecurity, which is widespread in the Sahel region.
And in a country, where 82% of the population is employed in the agricultural sector, low productivity has a knock-on effect on livelihoods.
An African Development Fund initiative—the *Multinational Program to Build Resilience to Food and Nutrition Insecurity in the Sahel—*has been successful in tackling food insecurity and building up the overall resilience of vulnerable populations of farmers, fishers and pastoralists in the country.
Under the initiative, the African Development Fund, the African Development Bank Group’s concessional window that lends to low-income countries, has extended $32 million—half of it in the form of grants—to the government. The program focuses on empowering women and on infant wellbeing. It is developing rural infrastructure to support sustainable hydro-agriculture, forestry, pastoralism, fisheries and beekeeping.
The program promotes the economy of post-harvest sectors and access to markets. It dwells equally on improving the nutritional quality of food and making it more widely available to vulnerable populations.
Since the program’s inception in 2015, it has provided much-needed support to the most vulnerable populations in 92 communes in the Centre, Center-South, Center-West, Central Plateau, Boucle du Mouhoun and Sahel administrative regions of Burkina Faso.
Some livestock farmers have seen their revenue increase by up to 30%. Access to public infrastructure has improved, resulting in strengthened value chains and a healthier living.
In the village of Saria, livestock farmer Barkissa Rouamba describes the impact the program has had in her life.
The Multinational Program to Build Resilience to Food and Nutrition Insecurity in the Sahel has led to the construction of over 200 public sanitation facilities and 60 village wells. Cécile Kantiono, President of the Yidjandureega women’s group, talks about how the program has impacted her community:
Three community health centers have been standardized through the construction of maternity wards, latrines, depots for the provision of essential generic drugs and housing for nurses in the communes of Boussé (Wa), Manga (Sakouilliga) and Mansila au Sahel (Tianbongou). This is in addition to the construction of six pediatric health care centers in Réo, Boromo, Nouna, Kombissiri, Poa and Ouaga (Centre médical Paul VI) communes. The pediatric centers offer mothers access to maternal health care and instruction on infant nutrition and feeding.
Seraphine N’do, a member of the Yidjandureega women’s group, narrates her story:
Once completed, the program is expected to reduce chronic food insecurity by 5% in countries in the Sahel region.