Burkina Faso: Substantial Accomplishments in Crop Yields and Educational Programs

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Update to the Global Board
(October 2008)

Executive Summary

As we are all aware, the major principle that underlies the Epicenter Strategy is that it is not simply a remedial intervention which seeks to reduce or compensate for identified problems, but rather a comprehensive community initiative involving efforts that aims to build the capacity of rural communities in a positive way. These efforts stem from the perspective of fulfilling the fundamental needs of the communities as designated by the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Using this approach to aid community development, during the past six months The Hunger Project-Burkina Faso was able to work with its partner epicenters in achieving the following:

  • 4,110 women and men educated on preventive health;
  • 75 midwives trained to assist pregnant women in villages and give safe births;
  • 3,450 women and men successfully attended literacy classes;
  • Crop yield increased by 40 percent due to adequate and safe application of micro doses of fertilizers (photo: view of a grain sorghum field treated with micro dose application of fertilizers);
  • The introduction and dissemination of new technology (triple bag technology) for storing agricultural produce with a zero percent loss to insect pest attacks; and
  • A new epicenter almost entirely built.

By the end of 2008, The Hunger Project-Burkina Faso intends to increase the numbers in the first three points mentioned above by at least 25 percent.

In the following sections of this progress report you will become more informed on the work that The Hunger Project-Burkina Faso is undertaking with partner communities in epicenters to achieve the MDGs.

Details on Progress

Food Security

  • A new food bank has been built in the epicenter of Vowogdo, bringing the total number of food banks in epicenters to 22.
  • Epicenter food banks filled to 50 percent of ther storing capacity. Rainfall irregularity and deficienty were a major set-back in fully stocking the food banks. The Hunger Project now searching for more partners to help implement drip irrigation technology in partner countries confronted with drought. The goal is to raise epicenter food bank stocks to full capacity with the new harvest set for November- December 2008.

Health

  • Workshops on HIV/AIDS & Gender Equality were held for 250 women and men from the new Vowogdo Epicenter. They included local leadership (Chiefs, elderly, and members of local government) and local health workers.
  • 4,110 women and men have benefited from educated on preventive health, focusing on malaria prevention. The Hunger Project is seeking increased local partnerships to help aquire mosquito netting.
  • 75 midwives were trained to assist pregnant women in villages and help provide safe births.

Literacy

  • 115 literacy centers were opened and 3,450 women and men were trained.

Safe Drinking Water

  • The original goal of making a bore whole in each of the 13 epicenters was not completed due to the high cost of completing a bore hole as equipped only with a hand pump. The Hunger Project is hoping to find alternative methods, such as partnering with the national government, UNICEF/Burkina and embassies. The whole task remains to be completed.

Women's Empowerment

  • More than 1,700 were trained in the 2008-2009 literacy training session. The Hunger Project aims to involve as many women as men in literacy training and has found that incorporating grain mill facilities into epicenter building helped.
  • Hundreds of women were trained in leading meetings, organizing and motivating group, all parts of key leadership training.

Environment

  • 850 trees were planted in epicenters.
  • Tens of thousands of hazardous polythese bags were collected and burned in three epicenters. Alternative ways to dispose of these bags are being explored, such as using the plastic bags to weave and decorate items.
  • 20 semi-modern latrines were dug as models, but the rising cost of cement makes large-scale latrinization difficult. The Hunger Project needs to seek more funding.

Recent Innovations

Two innovations have been tested and used by The Hunger Project-Burkina Faso, in partnership with the National Institute of Agricultural Research (INERA), to increase and stabilize the food production and food storage ability of small household farms. These are:

  • Microdose Fertilizer technology is the application of small quantities of inorganic fertilizers directly in the seedbed to increase yields while minimizing the input cost;
  • Triple-bag storing technology enables the storage of cowpeas (a type of bean) in air-tight bags to completely avoid loss due to insect pests and attacks from beetles.

Monitoring and Evaluation

During this six-month period, progress in monitoring and evaluation included hiring and training enough motivated young women and men for data collection and having them collect a large quantity of data that was analyzed and posted on The Hunger Project-Burkina Faso's website.

Partnerships

The Hunger Project-Burkina Faso has developed a strong partnership with the local and national governments of Burkina Faso in the following key community development components:

Health Promotion

  • The agents of the Ministry of Health support The Hunger Project-Burkina Faso in conducting HIV/AIDS prevention workshops and preventive health education sessions;
  • The Ministry of Health assumes the total charge for infant inoculation programs at the epicenters;
  • The agents of the Ministry of Health ensure the training of village midwives in the epicenters;
  • The agents of the Ministry of Health hold training sessions in the epicenters in the important areas of reproduction health and infant nutrition.

Food Security and Agricultural Production

  • The agents of the Ministry of Agriculture participate in the technical monitoring of the epicenters' partners;
  • The National Institute for Agricultural Research (INERA) supplies the epicenters with improved seeds (grains, cowpea, and peanuts);
  • The micro dose application technology, which is very promising in improving agriculture, has been disseminated throughout Burkina Faso by The Hunger Project-Burkina Faso through collaboration with INERA.

Literacy training

  • Agents from the Ministry of Basic Education and Mass Literacy perform the monitoring and evaluation of the literacy centers in the epicenters opened by The Hunger Project-Burkina Faso;
  • They issue diplomas to the trainees who have passed the final exams;
  • Through an institution called the National Fund for Literacy and Non-Formal Education (FONAEF), the Ministry in charge of literacy funds ten literacy centers of The Hunger Project-Burkina Faso's partner epicenters each year;
  • The Ministry in charge of literacy invites The Hunger Project-Burkina Faso to all FONAEF meetings to discuss the impact of literacy training and what new strategies can be developed to improve the impact.

In addition, The Hunger Project-Burkina Faso entertains a working partnership with the World Food Program (WFP/Burkina), which led to obtaining a fund of 1.377.600 CFA (approximately US$3,320) from the UN organization to alleviate food crisis in epicenters affecting toddlers, pregnant women and women with babies of less than 11 months old.

Presently, The Hunger Project-Burkina Faso is holding talks with UNICEF/Burkina on the possibilities of developing a partnership to protect and educate more children in the epicenter villages.

In-country Funding Opportunities

As stated above, The Hunger Project-Burkina Faso has benefited from World Food Program/Burkina funding to help alleviate food crises in the epicenters that affect toddlers, pregnant women and women with babies less than 11 months old.

Future Plans

Future plans include:

  1. Finishing the construction of the new epicenter in Wovogdo during the last quarter of 2008, provided that we receive complementary funds from the Global Office to compensate for the loss incurred in the exchange of $US to CFA, our local currency;
  2. Enrolling partners from our epicenters in new literacy classes scheduled to open in November 2008;
  3. Training more midwives and pursuing the education of our partners in preventive health;
  4. Filling epicenter food banks with new stocks of cereal cropped during the rainy season of 2008 (June to October 2008);
  5. Enrolling students in the 14 nursery schools located in The Hunger Project-Burkina's partner epicenters.

Profile of a Leader

Madame Asseta Nagbila won the 1999 Hunger Project Leadership Prize for mobilizing thousands of grassroots people in her area in Burkina Faso and for showing true leadership in helping her people fulfill their fundamental needs.



Country Profile - Burkina Faso

Population (male, femlae)

13,730,258

Male6,590,524
Female7,139,734
Percent of population in rural area79.9%
Infant mortality rate121.6/1,000
Maternal mortality rate453/100,000
Life expectancy51.9 years
Percent of population undernourished21%
HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence rate2 to 2.5%
HIV/AIDS - deathsLess than 20,000
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDSApprox 170,000
Literacy rate28.3%
Primary school enrollment--
Male55%
Female45%
GDP per capita107
Population earning less than $142%