The French Ambassador to Burkina Faso, Gilles Thibault, visited the Sahel Region of Burkina Faso from 29 November to 1 December to see WFP's activities on the ground. The visit started off with a tour of the WFP warehouse in the region's capital, Dori, and an introduction to the sub-office staff.
France has been a consistent and generous donor to WFP Burkina Faso. From 2010 to 2013, France has contributed 6.3 million euros, which went towards the purchase of nutrition commodities for WFP's moderate acute malnutrition prevention and treatment activities. In 2013, France contributed 1.75 million euros for the purchase of Plumpy'Sup, a specialized nutrition product used to treat moderate acute malnutrition amongst children 6 to 59 months old.
Following the warehouse visit, the next stop was the town of Gangaol, 25 kilometers from Dori. WFP provides school meals (a hot breakfast of fortified porridge and a lunch of maize meal and beans) to all primary school children in the Sahel Region. WFP’s school meals aim to keep the children well-nourished and to allow them to concentrate on their studies.
In addition to the school meals, girls in the last two years of school, like the three girls pictured drinking their fortified porridge, receive take-home rations of 10 kilograms of cereals, usually maize or sorghum, as an incentive for their families to keep them in school. According to the school’s headmaster, the number of girls enrolled in the school has increased in recent years.
At the government health centre, not far from the primary school, the Ambassador had the chance to see the direct impact of France’s contribution. Here, beneficiary Aissatou Boureima receives Plumpy’Sup for her daughter Hadiatou who was found by the health centre to be suffering from moderate acute malnutrition. Aissatou is 30 years old, she has two sons and this is her first daughter.
The Ambassador then visited a project of the town of Dori designed to protect and improve the wetland surrounding the town. WFP has joined forces with the local population by incorporating Cash for Assets activities into the project. Here, participants are building a 5 kilometer canal that will prevent flooding in the town during the rainy season.
Men and women work together in this project with women collecting the rocks and the men forming them into a low wall. 602 participants, approximately half of whom are women, from surrounding communities have taken part in this project. The participants receive 1,200 CFA (equivalent to US$ 2.4) for each working day.
The Ambassador then visited the refugee site of Goudebou. Here, a group of refugee women wait outside the site’s health centre. Through Save the Children, WFP provides assistance to children and pregnant and nursing women with moderate acute malnutrition.
The Ambassador had the chance to talk directly with refugees, who receive monthly mixed food and cash rations from WFP. The Ambassador said that he hoped peace would be regained in northern Mali so that the refugees could return home because “nothing is better than being where you are from.”
The sun sets on the refugee site’s primary school. The school has 1,044 pupils - though there are a few Burkinabé students, the majority are Malian refugees. WFP provides school meals to the students: a mid-morning snack of Supercereal porridge and a lunch of couscous and beans.