Burkina Faso is a landlocked and low-income country located in West Africa, with a population of about 20.4 million.
Since 2018, the security situation has deteriorated due to the growing active presence of non-state armed groups. This has led to increased forced displacement, which in turn has exacerbated food and nutritional insecurity across the country. In 2019, Burkina Faso was one of the fastest-growing displacement crises in the world.
A total of 3.3 million people are estimated to be facing acute food insecurity, with the COVID-19 pandemic contributing to a sharp spike in numbers. Two provinces in the Sahel region – Oudalan and Soum – have been driven into the Emergency phase of food insecurity. Some 3 percent of people in these northern areas are said to be experiencing catastrophic levels of acute food insecurity.
Results of an October 2019 nutritional assessment in areas of high concentration of IDPs within the Sahel, Centre-Nord, Nord and Est regions highlighted an alarming nutritional situation, with moderate acute malnutrition and severe acute malnutrition rates as high as 19.7 percent and 7.8 percent respectively in two out the four priority regions.
Although agriculture is the primary source of revenue for the country and the main livelihood for more than 80 percent of the population, Burkina Faso is a food deficit country and more than 40 percent of the population live below the poverty line.
Environmental degradation, economic marginalization, gender inequality, reliance on single-crop rain-fed agriculture, poor agricultural production capacity, significant post-harvest losses, low literacy and education levels, and negative socio-cultural practices such as early marriage are among further factors causing food insecurity and hindering sustainability and stability in the country.
WFP has been running programmes in the country since 1967, with a focus on fighting malnutrition and food insecurity, while at the same time encouraging enrolment in education and enhancing farmers’ resilience to natural disasters and market fluctuations. WFP’s capacity to quickly adapt its operation to the evolving context and to cover gaps is illustrated by the significant increase in people assisted since the country drastically shifted from a development to an emergency context. In partnerships with the Government of Burkina Faso, international and national non-governmental organizations, academia, local communities and the private sector, WFP is contributing to efforts towards achieving SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) through life-saving assistance, resilience development, technical assistance and common service delivery.
To mitigate the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19, WFP is assisting female traders affected by COVID-19 in Centre-Nord region, providing training and sensitization sessions for communities and partners on measures to contain the spread of the virus.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Burkina Faso
Following a rise in violent attacks and increased displacements, WFP provides monthly food or cash assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs). WFP also provides Malian refugees residing in the Sahel region with a monthly ration consisting of cereal, pulses and oil, and cash (about US$8 per person per month), depending on economic status. WFP provides monthly assistance for three months during the lean season (June-August), supporting those most in need.
Since 2004, WFP has been supporting the Government by implementing a school feeding programme in the Sahel region. Take-home rations are also a further incentive to attend school activities until they complete at least primary school. Since 2015, WFP has been supporting the development of the milk value chain in connection with schools, and developing pilot school gardens, nutrition education, the creation of nutrition clubs and support to communities in terms of food processing to prevent food waste.
Despite the difficulties posed by growing insecurity, WFP is implementing activities to prevent and treat malnutrition in children under 5 as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women and girls. Activities include screening for acute malnutrition and referrals for treatment, campaigns on best infant and young child-feeding practices, the set-up of mothers’ support groups across the four priority regions, improvement of nutritional awareness, development of nutritious gardens (in schools and communities), and training in food processing to preserve the nutritional value of products and avoid food waste.
WFP-supported livelihood opportunities contribute to improving the resilience of individuals and communities to both socioeconomic shocks and the effects of climate change. Support includes the provision of storage technologies, and training on post-harvest losses reduction and food processing. In 2019, WFP introduced a weather index-based insurance in various villages likely to be affected by drought.
WFP is providing technical and logistical support to the Government and humanitarian community to ensure an efficient and effective response. Specific projects include the replenishment of national strategic food stocks, developed with the Government, and setting up a UN house in Ouahigouya to support the establishment and maintenance of an emergency telecommunications network. As of June 2020, the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service is supporting humanitarian response in the country.
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