Dr. Bernard Lédéa Ouédraogo

Dr. Bernard Lédéa Ouédraogo

President and founder, the Naam movement; General Secretary and cofounder, International Six-S Association

Dr. Bernard Lédéa Ouédraogo Dr. Ouedraogo (pronounced wahDRAYgo) is a founder and leader of Africa's largest and most successful grassroots movements for selfreliance. He is a bold, visionary leader and development thinker who has motivated hundreds of thousands of smallscale farmers in the dry Sahel region of West Africa to take command of their own development. The Naam Movement Having realized early in his career that the central governmentorganized cooperatives were not being accepted by the people, Bernard Ouedraogo looked for a better way to stimulate the participation of farmers in their own development. He realized that in his own Mossi society, there existed a traditional group called "KombiNaam", which gathered all the young men and women in a village for various agricultural, cultural and social activities. Over the years, and in close collaboration with the villagers, the traditional "KombiNaam" structure was transformed into modernized, grassroots selfhelp groups open to all. It is a pioneering example of the successful transformation of traditional village structures into a positive force for development. The Six-S Association SixS stands for the French "Se servir de la saison sèche en Savane et au Sahel," (using the dry season in the savannah and the Sahel). It is an aid and training organization which is Africa's largest peasantfarmer network consisting of federated organizations of hundreds of thousands of members in nine West African countries Burkina Faso, Chad, the Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo. The originality of SixS is that (1) it is run by the farmers themselves, and (2) money is not tied to specific projects, but given to peasantfarmer organizations who themselves determine how it will be used. Funds are freely given to groups which meet the standards of strict accounting procedures, limitation of administrative expenses, type of project funded, beneficiaries, etc. Life and Career Bernard Lédéa Ouedraogo was born in 1930 in Gourcy, Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso). He earned a teaching degree in 1949, and taught school until 1962. He then became a rural extension worker, during which time he founded the Naam movement (1967). In 1977 he earned his Ph.D. in Social Sciences of Development from Université René Descartes de Paris Sorbonne. His awards include: the 1987 UN World Prize of the Environment, the 1987 UNICEF Prize for Peace, The Paul G. Hoffman Award for outstanding achievements in the field of development, and three national awards from Burkina Faso. About Burkina Faso Burkina Faso, formerly Upper Volta, is a landlocked country in the Sahel region of West Africa with a population of 8.7 million. "Burkina Faso" literally means "the land of people of integrity." It is one of the poorest countries in the world, with per capita GNP of US$170. Burkina Faso was one of the hardest hit countries by drought in the 1970s and 1980s in the Sahel. Ninetytwo percent of the population is rural, engaged primarily in subsistence agriculture. Cotton is the largest export crop. During recent years, Burkina Faso's government has carried out major, national immunization and literacy campaigns, and is strongly committed to local selfreliance, coordinated planning at all levels and cooperation with NGOs and with peasant movements.