Being far away from Burkina for an extended period of time does not help when trying to collect correct information, to sustain my feelings about the situation there . Physical meetings are still very much needed. Hopefully I will be able to go back shortly.

Meeting with the women of Sissa

Refugees / displaced people / migrants

In Burkina there is a lot of population movement. In ma previous blog we already talked about the refugees from Mali (about 30.000) and of the displaced people (more than 1.000.000) due to violence.

There is also the movement of people due to their economic situation. This concerns mainly young children and men.

Families still have many children, even if the number of children per woman has decreased from 7 in 1980 to 5 in 2018. In rural areas, families have a difficulties to support all those children.

Many of the children are not going to school. The violence in the North has obliged the authorities to close many schools. An estimated 300.000 children have missed school in 2020. In addition, the government had to close the schools for over 3 months in 2020 due to Covid epidemy.

Awa of Sissa with her twins (one boy and one girl)

For  a lot of those children, there was already little motivation to attend school so It will be difficult to get them to go back. Parents are also not motivated when they see the lack of results of their children attending school. In rural areas less than 1% of the children who have started primary school will make it to the end of secondary school exam (baccalaureate).

What are those non schooled children doing? Staying in the village is not really a good solution for their economic development. Doing so they become slaves of their fathers by working in his fields and obtaining only food and lodging.

Some will be recruited by the terrorists or become thieves. Some will go to look for gold (as young as 12 years old) which is a very dangerous occupation where only few have some success. Some very young children (as of 5 years old) are “sold” by their families to non-scrupulous marabous with the promise of education. In reality the children are used to beg in cities, or to work in the farms of the marabou or smuggled to neighbouring Ivory Coast to work in plantations (cacao, bananas).

Finally, young men go look for work in Ivory Coast. Many of those are exploited. There are today over 1.500.000 Burkinabé in Ivory Coast. Some are well established but many new migrants are in a very difficult situation.

A better education system, economical development, better family planning, decrease of the terrorism, many things needed to change the situation.

Garden with eggplants at the LAP

What ASAP (and its partners) do in regards of this situation?

ASAP is active in 12 villages representing about 16.000 people.

To help the children of those villages, ASAP works in 3 different areas:

  • Education: by supporting 6 nursery schools, building and supporting primary schools with lunch program and books and recruiting students (from the “ASAP villages”) for the Lycée Agricole Privé (LAP) created by ASAP in 2011
  • Family planning: To help decrease the number of children per woman, ASASP holds presentations on sexual education in the villages
  • Economic development: To help parents pay studies of their children but also to provide a future to some of the children who will stay in the village ASAP helps villagers to develop income generating activities such as beekeeping, gardening and micro-credits for women.

Honey harvest in Nefrelaye in April 2021

In 2020, we have started recruiting children from refugee families for the LAP.

Obviously those actions are very small in regards to the size of the problems in Burkina Faso. But we believe in our approach, hoping that it will be copied by others.

The main limitation is the availability of funds to develop new activities and / or copy the successful ones in new villages.

New piglets (Large White) at the LAP

Quotes of the week

“First principle: never to let one’s self be beaten down by persons or by events.” Marie Curie

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.” Mark Twain

Hope you are staying healthy,

Hervé

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