Context of Burkina Faso Rural Development Program
The large majority of families in Burkina Faso depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Burkinabe farmers live in a delicate balance with nature, and small changes in their environments can mean the difference between abundance and scarcity. Unfortunately, in the past decade farmers have suffered the combined impacts of reduced rainfall, rapidly declining soil fertility and deterioration of their natural resource base. Taken together with inadequate farming techniques and significant population growth, farm families struggle to get by, and there is real danger of widespread famine.
Groundswell’s Response to Rural Development Challenges in Eastern Burkina Faso
Since 2010, Groundswell International has worked with Association Nourrir Sans Détruire (ANSD), our partner NGO in Burkina Faso, to strengthen community-led processes that can reverse this downward trend. Our program is improving the lives of thousands of farm families living in eastern Burkina Faso by spreading practical ecological farming methods (also known as agroecology) as well as sustainable livelihood solutions.
Agroecology is a viable alternative that can help rural communities overcome hunger and poverty while also improving the environment. One of the most promising ecological agricultural practices for the region is Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration of Trees (or FMNR), a strategy that we have increasingly emphasized since 2013 with the launch of a regional project in West Africa. The combination of FMNR and other ecological agriculture techniques, such as rainwater harvesting and composting to increase organic matter in soils, dramatically increases food production and improves community resilience.
Groundswell’s work in Burkina Faso also incorporates training to strengthen women’s leadership skills and organizational capacities. Savings-led credit programs for women provide them with the knowledge and capital to improve their farms and invest in other rural livelihood opportunities, such as market gardens and small livestock operations. The increased income from these activities allows women to undertake further practical activities to better their lives, improve the nutrition and education of their children, and help them gain a greater voice in their families and communities.
Regional Agroecology Project in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Mali
In January 2013, Groundswell launched a two-year initiative called “Scaling Farmer-led Agroecology in West Africa”, with ANSD and local partners in Ghana (Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development), and Mali (Sahel Eco) as well as Food First, and ILEIA. Learn more about Groundswell’s agroecology project in West Africa.
Below is a brief slide show outlining some of the key elements of Groundswell’s work in Burkina Faso and elsewhere in West Africa: