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Hope amidst crisis in Burkina Faso

How Scottish Government funds are helping our partners respond to those affected by conflict.

Jen Clark | 16 Nov 2022

Three people stood beside a tent powered by solar panels.

Families who have been displaced from their homes gather at their tents in the region where Tearfund partners are responding. Credit: Tearfund partner.

Earlier this year, Tearfund welcomed the announcement of funding from the Scottish Government to help our partners tackle the ongoing humanitarian situation in Burkina Faso.

The government’s Humanitarian Emergency Fund (HEF) responds to crises in our world that are often overlooked and under-reported, but where the need is very real and urgent.

Burkina Faso falls firmly into this category. Not often making news headlines, the country has experienced significant instability over recent years, with ongoing conflict since 2015 driving more than 1.5 million people from their homes. The country is also suffering an unprecedented hunger crisis which is worsening, and the UN states that nearly a fifth of the population is facing a multi-dimensional crisis and in need of assistance.

Funding brings hope

Tearfund partners have been able to respond in the midst of these challenging circumstances in Burkina Faso – bringing hope where it has been in short supply. The funds provided by the Scottish Government have enabled our teams working there to extend that hope to many more vulnerable people living in some of the most difficult circumstances. 

HEF funds have provided almost 600 households in Boucle du Mouhoun region, in the north-west of the country, with a cash grant to help them meet their most urgent needs for 60 days. This means over 4,000 people have been supported. These unconditional grants have enabled families to prioritise for themselves what is needed most, whether it be food, paying rent or receiving medical attention.

Additional support has been allocated to helping create a more secure environment for girls and women, by training them on how to protect themselves from gender-based violence, as well as how to manage their menstrual hygiene – each receiving a dignity kit at the end of the sessions. Community leaders have also been trained on how to prevent sexual abuse and exploitation.

Huge difference

The funds have made a huge difference to people like Abdramane, who shares some of his story…

‘One day, armed men came to burn our houses, granaries and take away our cattle. We arrived in Djibasso with nothing, stripped of everything. In April, we were informed of the arrival of Tearfund’s partner to support internally displaced people in Djibasso. We were identified by our representatives, and with the money I received, I bought food and I went to the hospital to treat myself. We are happy now. I can work with dignity and my family respects me now.’

Lady Djeneba has also been able to provide for her family as a result of a cash grant she received…

‘I was in a situation of insecurity so I came here so that my children could have access to school. When we arrived, we had no food, no accommodation and did not know anyone. I used the little money I had to start a small business so that I could support my family's needs. But I really did not earn much. Thanks to these funds, some of my children were able to go back to school. The money I received was really beneficial to me. I was able to generate income and manage to meet my needs. My situation has really changed.’

Two women smiling inside a shop.

Lady Djeneba has started a business and can now provide for her family. Credit: Tearfund partner.

Prayers for peace and security

Arsene Konate, who works as a Programme Manager in Tearfund’s Burkina Faso office says that without these funds, the situation would have been hopeless for thousands of people in the two locations reached with this support.

‘We are very grateful to the Scottish Government for these funds, which have made a great difference in the lives of so many families. We are thankful to be able to respond in such a precarious situation where the needs are so great, and to see relief for those who have lost so much. We ask that you would please remember us in your prayers for peace and security in our country.’

Making life safer

Graeme McMeekin, Head of Tearfund Scotland, adds, ‘Thanks to the Humanitarian Emergency Fund, crisis situations like the one in Burkina Faso have not been overlooked. Our partners have been providing a lifeline to families who are most vulnerable as a result of the ongoing conflict, many of whom are displaced and far from home.

‘Our response has been both practical – helping households access food and other basic supplies in order to survive, but also focused on preventing further trauma.

'We know that being displaced means people are more exposed to sexual, physical and psychological abuse. So, our partners have also been providing training to members of the community so that they have a greater awareness of how to protect people from sexual abuse and exploitation of children. We will do everything we can to help make life safer for those most at risk, in the midst of what are already extremely distressing circumstances.’

  Jen Clark

Tearfund Scotland Media and Communications Manager

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