Bags of WFP food are loaded onto canoes. WFP/Saidou Sawadogo
During the months of the rainy season WFP used multiple means of transportation including donkey-pulled carts and canoes to deliver food to communities in the Sahel region.
Each year during the rainy season in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso, roads and bridges are flooded, cutting off many areas of the region from WFP food assistance.
But this year, at the height of the rainy season, in September and October, WFP Burkina Faso managed to deliver 1,100 metric tons of food to communities that had been isolated by floods in the Yagha province of the Sahel Region.
At the end of the day of the first food distribution to isolated communities in Solhan county, WFP Programme Officer Thomas D’Aquin Laguemvere called his supervisor, the Head of the Dori Sub-Office and shouted out loud, “Boss, we did it!”
But how was such a feat pulled off? Instead of trucks, the WFP team worked with the local communities to use more traditional means of transport such as canoes and donkey-pulled carts.
“It’s a dream,” said Yagha Province High Commissioner Sore Sosthène Dieudonné.
The members of the isolated communities were stunned too, surrounding the WFP teams and asking them how they had managed to reach them. “Nobody believed that food could be provided during the rainy season” said Aïssatou Sambo, a mother of five.
The food delivered included a four month ration for 34,000 food-insecure people, special nutrition products for malnutrition treatment of 2,000 children under five and pregnant and nursing women with moderate acute malnutrition as well as for malnutrition prevention of 6,000 children.
Enough food was also delivered to provide school meals to 15,000 children in 121 schools, just in time for the beginning of the school year in early October.
“We must always reach beneficiaries and meet their needs,” said WFP Burkina Faso Country Director Angelline Rudakubana during a visit to these special logistics activities.
“No one has achieved this in the past and I would like to thank all involved, especially the local authorities and communities, who put forward their canoes and donkeys to deliver the food."
Celestine Ouedraogo is the Programme Assistant for Basic Education activities in Burkina Faso, as well as the Public Information focal point and the Walk the World focal point. Before joining WFP in 1998, Celestine worked for CEAO (West African Economic Organisation, currently UEMOA) and UNHCR.