The land of the upright people. Burkina

Like so many of its West African
neighbors, this land-locked country must constantly negotiate the
needs of the agricultural activity which occupies nearly 80 percent
of the population with a climate which provides insufficient
rainfall, the need to produce commodity crops with the nutritional
demands of its citizens.


An Africare study found that in
Karangasso-Vigue- both one of Burkina’s best performing departments
agriculturally, and the department with the highest rate of
malnutrition in children, 95.7 percent of farmers raised cotton or
maize. This lack of crop diversity led to the neglect of other crops
such as sesame, cowpea, and garden vegetables which enhance food
security and lead to better nutritional outcomes. In the department
42 percent of children under the age of five were underweight, and
40.7 percent were stunted.


The same study found that the 70,441
inhabitants of Karangasso-Vigue were served by only 119 wells. Each
well had to serve 591 inhabitants rather than the 250 it was designed
for, and many simply could not take the strain, with water-points
often drying up during the dry season.

In 2007, The African Well Fund teamed
up with Africare to construct seven wells between three villages. The
purpose of the wells would be two-fold – they would provide
much-needed water to the inhabitants of the three chosen villages,
but they would also allow irrigated gardens to be constructed, giving
villagers an opportunity to grow a more diverse range of crops for
everyday consumption, even in the dry season. The sites chosen took
women into special consideration, as the construction of new
water-points would allow them to walk a shorter distance for water,
and also to help with raising crops that would improve the health of
their children.


A traditional well used by village women.


The new modern well constructed by Africare & the community.

In each of the villages –
Karangasso-Vigue, Kouremagafesso, and Diosso- the community worked
with Africare to dig the wells and build up the gardens. New
irrigated canals controlled by pedal pumps replaced the inefficient
watering of the gardens by ladle, and manure pits were established to
provide organic fertilizer for the crops.



Villagers preparing the new gardens.

As the work progressed, Africare
conducted educational outreach as well as monitoring the health of
children of the affected villages. Over 1400 villagers benefited from
the new sources of water, nearly 80 percent of children gained
weight, and 90 percent of children had increased vitamin A levels
after the introduction of the new crops.



Result! New, irrigated community gardens.

Stay tuned to hear personal stories
from the communities served!