Burkina Faso is among the world’s poorest countries. The majority of the population still makes a living from farming. Too low rainfall and on the other intermittent floods and soil degradation due to erosion make farming more difficulty, and seven out of ten family farmers can’t produce everything they need.
Small child malnutrition is a serious problem in Burkina Faso, about a tenth of children under 5 suffer from malnutrition and one in a hundred children is severely malnourished. Causes of child malnutrition are several: lack of diversification in food, food scarcity, poor sanitation, and lack of clean water. Poor families have difficulties to access to health services because of high price. In Burkina Faso there are also a lot of vulnerable children who are at risk of becoming victims of exploitation or violence.
Save the Children has worked in Burkina Faso since 1977. The work has included nutrition, health, education and child protection. In 2015, Save the Children got together with other non-governmental organizations pushed through the amendment to the law that gives children under five years and pregnant women the right to free health care.
Save the Children Finland is working to improve the child protection in Burkina Faso. Our aim is to improve well-being of the particularly vulnerable and marginalized children in Mouhoun, Hauts-Bassins and Centre-Nord areas. We aim to strengthening child protection systems, so that they would be able to recognize and care for child victims of violence. Save the Children is also working to increase the children’s ability to protect themselves from violence and abuse, such as child labor and child marriage, through various trainings and activities. We improve families and communities child protection capabilities. Save the Children is also working to influence government policies and funding in order to improve the protection of children and make it more child-friendly.
Save the Children Finland has also done humanitarian work in Burkina Faso’s northern regions with the support of the European Union. The aim has been to reduce the under-five child morbidity and mortality. The livelihoods and food security of the poorest families has been improved by cash support, as well as distributing poultry to them.
Video: Income and food security
Expectant and nursing mothers have received healthcare and childcare articles. Local nurses and mothers have been trained to monitor children’s nutritional status in communities and ensure that malnourished and sick children receive proper care in health centers. Even if it is responding to the humanitarian crisis, the work has been at the same time preventive and very comprehensive.
We have also focused on the reasons behind of malnutrition in Burkina Faso, for example, behind the illnesses is often poor hygiene. We improve hygiene conditions in the area by building wells, latrines and providing hygiene education.
Video: Water and sanitation
Burkina Faso’s child protection project is funded by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Humanitarian projects in Burkina Faso have been funded with the support of the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UK Aid and by Finnish private donors.