Burkina Faso: Restocking Food Banks to Maximum Capacity
Update to the Global Board
The present report summarizes the progress The Hunger Project-Burkina Faso (THP-Burkina) has accomplished in implementing the Epicenter Strategy in Burkina Faso, during the past six months (October 2008 to March 2009). The Epicenter Strategy develops a comprehensive community initiative which builds the capacity of rural communities through increased decision-making and the fulfillment of their fundamental needs.
During the last six months, THP-Burkina was able to finalize the building of its fourteenth L-shaped epicenter at Vowogdo. Other major accomplishments include:
- The provision of safe-drinking water to all epicenters;
- Restocking the epicenter food banks;
- Training TOTs (trainers of trainers) capable of duplicating HIV/AIDS and Gender Inequality Workshops;
- Educating thousands of women and men in preventive health, especially malaria prevention; and
- Establishing weighing centers for girls and boys of 0 to 5 years.
Of all these accomplishments, restocking epicenter food banks at their maximum capacity was the most challenging work during the past six months, due primarily to the national and international food crises. Ensuring communities have at least one borehole in each of the 14 epicenters to ensure access to safe drinking water is another challenge that THP-Burkina is still struggling to meet.
An additional accomplishment of major importance is a partnership established between THP-Burkina and local and national government officials at the highest level.
Photo: Government officials attending one of THP-Burkina Vision, Commitment and Action Workshops (VCAWs).
Details on Progress
The epicenter of Vowogdo is busy with construction projects that will be completed and ready for use by June 2009: two grain mills are being built, and a new food bank is under construction in the village of Wedgo. Six months ago, epicenter food banks were only filled to 25 percent capacity, and building up food stores was aggravated by irregular and insufficient rainfall, as well as the national and international food crises. As of April, all epicenter food banks were fully stocked until next harvest, with 1,150 metric tons stored. THP-Burkina Faso is currently searching for partnerships and means to implement drip technology in partner epicenters, an initiative that requires further invesment.
THP-Burkina has built a partnership with the Government and trained 150 local TOTs in 14 epicenters to run HIV/AIDS and Gender Inequality Workshops, despite some difficulties in training due to the inability of participants to take written notes. 32 traditional birth attendants (TBAs) and local health workers were trained; the target for 2009 is to train 60 such health care workers. Bicycles will be allocated for these workers in the near future. Five child weighing centers have also been completed.
174 literacy centeres have been opened as part of the 2009 goal to open 200 literacy centers in cooperation with the Government, with the aim of training a total of 6,000 women and men. 5,220 women and men have been trained so far, including 3,530 women. By 2011, THP-Burkina hopes to involve all 110,000 women of its partner epicenters in its Women Empowerment Program (WEP).
In keeping with THP-Burkina's goal to build women's capacities and leadership, hundreds of women were trained to lead meetings and organize and motivate groups. In addition, 65 women from Nongfaïré Epicenter were trained in soap manufacturing. THP-Burkina plans to train 180 women in new income-generating activities this year.
Beginning during the June rainy season, THP-Burkina will implement a tree-planting campaign, and plans to plant 750 trees at epicenters this year. Funding is also being mobilized for the construction of 1,500 household latrines, with eight semi-modern latrines under construction, to be completed in May, to serve as community models.
In October and November 2008, THP-Burkina had meetings with high-level government officials, including the Minister of Health, the Minister of Literacy and Formal Education and the Minister of Women's Empowerment. As a result of these meetings, THP-Burkina was invited by the Minister of Women's Empowerment to attend a forum entitled "Investing in Women and Girls for Sustainable Development" presided over by H.E. Blaise Compaore. During the forum, AWFFI Program Officer, Irene Kaboré gave a short presentation on THP-Burkina's work.
THP-Burkina was also invited by the ministry to attend the national celebration for International Women's Day, held in the northern city of Dori on March 8, 2009. Seizing the opportunity, the Country Director for THP-Burkina pleaded for the intensification of girl's education and the eradication of certain traditional practices (forced marriages, female genital mutilation, etc.) still occurring in the country.
In addition, the Minister of Literacy announced that the Ministry will fund 96 Hunger Project literacy centers in four epicenters (Bissiga, Fétombaga, Nongfaïré and Loaga). This restricted funding of US$82,000 will allow THP-Burkina to provide literacy classes to an additional 2,880 partners in 2009. The funding will be sent directly to local epicenter accounts, and will be managed directly by the epicenter committees.
The Minister of Health instructed the health workers in local districts housing THP-Burkina epicenters to fully collaborate with our NGO.
Broad Awareness and Advocacy
The methodology and conclusions of the HIV/AIDS and Gender Inequality Workshop, held at Vowogdo Epicenter on December 4, 5 and 6, 2008, were in large part broadcast on local FM radio stations and in the national press.
In 2008, THP-Burkina and INERA introduced triple bag technology for safe storage of cowpea crops for long periods of time without damages from pests such as bruchids and tribolium. This technology has revolutionized the ability of agricultural producers to protect their hard earned harvests from great losses from insects, thus earning more money from their work.
THP-Burkina's main objectives for impact assessment are through the evaluation of several indicators, such as the number of women and men trained in VCAWs and HIV/AIDS workshops, the number of 100-kg bags in food banks, the number of girls and boys in epicenter nursery schools, the number of women and men attending literacy classes, the number of girls and boys vaccinated, the number of TBAs trained and the number of pregnant women accessing health center services.
THP-Burkina is actively working to establish a partnership with the National Research Institute, INERA, to be able widen the application of fertilizer micro-dose technology to all its epicenters.