Burkina Faso

WHERE WE WORK > BURKINA FASO

Protecting and Empowering Vulnerable Women and Children in Bobo Dioulasso

Since 2011, the Good Shepherd programs supported by GSIF have been responding to the needs of girls and women from Secteur 22, one of the most impoverished areas of Bobo Dioulasso, the second city of Burkina Faso. The programs run by the sisters and their partners in mission contribute to the protection and empowerment of women who are victims of poverty, domestic violence, commercial sexual exploitation, and other forms of abuses, such as human trafficking. The aim is to break the cycle of poverty-ignorance-violence-exploitation that keeps women and girls at the margins of society. The programs offer holistic and integrated support to these young women to overcome trauma, raise their levels of self-confidence and promote social inclusion and economic independence, offering shelter, counseling, and vocational training. 

Activities

  • The Good Shepherd Women Center “Le Havre du Bon Pasteur”: the center hosts girls and young women in distress, particularly those affected by violence, human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, and facilitates their social reintegration. All the girls and women are provided with shelter– for themselves and their children – and basic commodities (food, clothing, personal hygiene and cleaning, medical care). They also receive counselling and psycho-social support from professional psychologists to face and overcome traumas, family mediation, literacy and vocational training in connection with the Training CentreRose Virginie”.

 

  • The training Center “Rose Virginie”: the Center, which has been operating since 2014, offers skill training in catering, cooking and pastry-making alongside theoretical courses on reproductive health, hygiene, IT and French language. They are intended for vulnerable girls and women, such as those hosted at the Women Center, who have limited education or professional qualifications and are often victims of abuse and violence. The center also supports women living in poverty and difficult circumstances coming from impoverished areas of Bobo-Dioulasso. As part of the training, all students do one-month internships in different restaurants across the city to learn the internal management of the restaurant, account management, table service and customer contact.

 

  • Income-generating activities:  
    1. Micro-credit:
     the project involves a group of women from the Secteur 22  living in extreme poverty or in most precarious and insecure conditions, affected by violence and other abuses. These women receive training in small business management, micro-credit, women’s rights and health, and are empowered to access funding to start their income generating activities to improve food security and the overall economic conditions of their families.                                      2. Agricultural activities: The agricultural project has been active since 2023 and currently supports 15 displaced women from the north of the country. Part of the harvest from the provided field is destined for the women and their families, while the other part is sold at the local fruit and vegetable market. Profits from the sale are reinvested in the farming activity, to buy seeds, tools, equipment and to cover the project’s needsThe goal is for the agricultural activity to become self-sufficient and generate income that will be used in part to support community activities and in part paid back to the women themselves, thereby increasing their economic autonomy and facilitating their social reintegration.                                                                                           3. The Restaurant Yélèmani: the restaurant welcomes girls and women attending the training center, some of whom are also hosted at the women’s center, for their internships. Interns learn not only how to cook in the restaurant, but also how to use condiments, handle hygiene and packaging, manage table service and engage in customer contact.

 

  • “Les Agneaux du Bon Pasteur” nursery and kindergarten: they provide services aimed at creating a healthy and stimulating environment for social and psychological development of children, girls and boys (age 6 months – 6 years). They include childcare, pre-school education, recreational activities, hygiene and nutrition, English classes, drawing etc. Since 2016 hundreds of children have attended kindergarten to receive quality education and care at a key stage for the growth and development of children, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

 

  • Awareness-raising activities and community ministry: awareness-raising activities include sessions open to the whole community on children’s and women’s rights, and specific sessions dedicated exclusively to couples to raise awareness about domestic and gender-based violence. The women’s support project in Secteur 22 provides emergency support such as food, clothing, medicine and tuition fees, to meet the basic needs of the population. Regarding the activities intended for women victims of prostitution, the project is in an initial phase of listening and understanding and aims to help them find work alternatives more suitable for their livelihoods.  

PROJECTS LOCATIONS

Bobo Dioulasso

HIGHLIGHTS

5

Projects

4842

Participants

AREAS OF INTERVENTION

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Human Rights
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Girls and Women's Empowerment
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Alternative Livelihoods
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Community Strengthening and participation

COUNTRY BACKGROUND / OVERVIEW

Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in West Africa. The socio-political and cultural context is deeply entrenched in tradition, that relegates women as secondary despite their indispensable roles as the pillar of the family and therefore of society. Access to education is far from being an enforced rule in Burkina FasoToo many obstacles stand today, especially for young girls in rural areas. The weight of traditions discourages families from sending children to school when they can be involved in some form of work and become at a young age a significant source of income. This is even more true for girls that can be employed at a young age as domestic workers. In a country where the literacy rate is very low the trend is not ready to reverse even if the authorities have become aware of the problem: significant progress in education has been made thanks to a 10-year awareness-raising plan. The number of girls attending elementary school has risen in recent years, but access to secondary or higher education remains limited for many. Access to work (outside the informal economy) is extremely restricted for women and they are almost excluded from salaried employment

Since the beginning of 2016, the country has been facing growing insecurity along its borders with Mali and Niger (West-North-East) with an upsurge in terrorist attacks and social tensions, which weakened the social fabric and contributed to increasing inequalities. This situation has provoked internal displacement and weakened the means of subsistence and community services. Most of those fleeing are women, young girls and children, many of whom have experienced violence and suffered psychological trauma.

Facts and figures

70.9% illiteracy rate among women (World Bank Data 2022) 

90.8% of illiterate population are women  

About 45% of the population living below the poverty line 

184/191 ranking UNDP Human Development Index (2021-2022) 

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