In Burkina Faso, agriculture is the lifeblood of four in five people. However, many have been unable to meet their nutritional needs, let alone other basic needs. More productive farming techniques can improve their living conditions.
Less than a third of Burkinese can read and write and Burkina Faso remains one of the world's poorest countries. In order to combat poverty and improve food security, Solidar Suisse works with local farmer organisations that offer real-life literacy programmes, French classes and education on increasing productivity and improved animal husbandry.
For example, earth mounds and fences can control erosion and conserve scarce water. Animal dung can be used to loosen compacted soil and improve its fertility. Smallholding farmers, men and women alike, learn such techniques. They also learn how take better care of their animals and that it makes sense to plant various kinds of cereals and vegetables, not least in the interest of improved health. As a further contribution towards improving their productivity, the farmers receive tools, seed, fertiliser, fodder, etc.
Special support is given to women, whose traditional childcare duties often prevent them from accessing income-generating activities. To lower the threshold, Solidar partners provide childcare and education for women's younger children. As the productivity of their vegetable crops improves with the use of innovative techniques, women's incomes rise, enabling them to pay for healthcare and to send their children to school. Women's enhanced status also improves their self-esteem and enables them to engage more actively with their communities.