Support to Mandjinao women's resilience

Location: Mandjinao, commune of Bouroum-Bouroum (Burkina Faso).
Status: In progress
Duration: 2021

Project to support the Association of Mandjinao Women’s resilience.

Financed by CIM Burkina own funds: 7,175 euros.
In need of funding: 8,500 euros.

 

The women association of Mandjinao is called “Sitouri”, a word which means “we are accepted” in Lobi language. It was founded on 15/10/2010 under the shelter of the APFG (Association for the Promotion of Women in Gaoua). The APFG is a powerful women association that fights for their rights in various fields, and moreover, is one of the most powerful counterparts that we have.

 

Where is located this project?

Mandjinao is a town located at 4 kilometres of the Bouroum-Bouroum rural commune situated at 20 kilometres from Gaoua, the capital of the southwest of Burkina Faso. Bouroum-Bouroum is 350 kilometres far from the capital, Ouagadougou, and 200 kilometres far from Bobo-Dioulasso, the second largest city of Burkina Faso.

A vegetable patch was implemented three years ago for the “Sitouri” women, thanks to a German association and with the support of the APFG. The 80 women members of the association farm this vegetable patch, which moderately helps them to improve the feeding of their families. But the idea is to go further, so that it could become a profit-generating activity which would enable them to improve their living conditions, to pay their children's education expenditure, as well as the health expenditure of their family. It would thus contribute to local development, which explains that the objective of this project is to implement a mill, build up a storehouse and a well, to provide different tools, as well as to provide advanced training about horticulture.

The roads to access to the different surrounding rural areas are complicated because there are no tarmac roads and because they lack basic infrastructures. Water and light do not exist but in the most populated urban hubs, and even there, it is not extended to all areas. In Mandjinao, there is no electricity.

As it happens in most Southern countries, gender inequality in access to training, the ownership of land, and to the exercise of the rights of the individual make it fundamental to have a special approach and a particular awareness about the importance of training and capacity-building of women. These are the real livelihood and mainstay of the family groups, as well as the guarantee of their children’s daily life.

The Bouroum-Bouroum rural commune faces certain difficulties; among others, the latent problem of the subdivision (blockages in the assignation of parcels), the recollection of the traditional market, the management of land disputes and serious water problems. Koko Momo, the current Mayor elected on 16 of June 2017, calls for every son and daughter of the city to join projects of rural development, such as the one that we are presenting now.

The women of Mandjinao find themselves in an incredibly precarious situation, with a subsistence economy maintained thanks to the vegetable patch that the APFG, alongside a German NGO, implemented in 2017. But even though it guarantees food for them, it is far from being a real possibility of development if the population is not provided with suitable means.

 

What do they need?

With the implementation of a well, a mill and a storehouse (plus the reinforcement of women's training), the possibilities of development open up in a clearer and more efficient way.

You will find attached two videos: one of them shows an overall perspective of the vegetable patch; the other is an interview which deals with the needs commented above.

 

https://youtu.be/g0mFZ6bldsw

https://youtu.be/BM8NHSfGHMY

 

 

The absence of water in the surroundings leaves to the women no other option but to walk 5 to 7 kilometres daily to bring the water needed to irrigate the vegetable patch. This implies, not only a serious harshness of the work which causes them severe health problems in bones and the back over the years due to the load, but also a huge waste of time, and, consequently, a waste of efficiency and effectiveness, which does not allow them to maintain properly the vegetable patch. The time spent in the search for water could be dedicated to the best and most dedicated maintenance of the vegetable patch, or to the training that is offered to them periodically on horticulture by the APFG (parent association). Apart from that, the access to potable water undoubtably improves the general hygiene conditions of the community. Although the importance of clean and potable water for sanitation and hygiene is well known, we can nowadays notice, almost shameful, the consequences that a pandemic like the one that caused Covid19 and that we are suffering today, can cause on a population who lacks the most fundamental: water. This is why, thanks to the donations from partners, we were able to finance the well, which is under construction.

 

https://youtu.be/YluMQKb4jBk

 

Also, the implementation of the mill enables them to carry out in-situ the work of milling corn, millet, edible leaves from certain trees and local plants (baobab, moringa, néré), peanut, chufa, etc. and to bring it to the local market. Currently, if they want to sell their products, the women have to walk to the mill located in Bouroum-Bouroum (4 kilometres far from Mandjinao, as we already told it), to pay for the service and walk back to Mandjinao. As a result, the profit that could be obtained from the sale of these products vanishes.

The mill works with a manual start, after which the mill will keep working with a small engine alimented by the usual local combustibles. And the idea is, for the next step, to be able to implement some small solar panels which would provide enough energy for the mill to keep working.

And finally, the presence of a storehouse is essential, alongside with the other two elements, to really increase their sales in a significant way, and thus, their profits and the rural sustainable development. Given the climate of the region and the absence of a place to store the products, these ones have to be sold after the corresponding harvest, without a possibility to offer wholesale sales to the surrounding markets. As a consequence of this current way of working, sales can only be made at Mandjinao local market for the daily consumption of households (who practically are their own family), or in Bouroum-Bouroum, or in the best case, in Gaoua (12 kilometres far). And this, always walking, with the hope to sell the day production in those markets. And this is what makes of the activity something totally inefficient and of a tremendous difficulty for the women of the association.

Thanks to a storehouse, the possibility of keeping stocks of multiple horticulture products would imply that they would be able to sell in-situ to:

  • The wholesalers who generally come from Ghana (18 km far, given the proximity of the border and the fact that a lot of traders cross it to buy their products).
  • The women who sell their products in Gaoua market, and who supply their products in Diébougou (50 km away, way further than Bouroum-Bouroum, located 12km far from Gaoua).
  • And other traders of local markets.

Which implies that, apart from wholesaling, they wouldn’t have to commute. And they could also sell the milled products to these traders in their own mill.

The triangle of the three elements mentioned (well, mill and storehouse) for the overall implementation of the project, sustained by the reinforcement in the training, guarantees the possibility to achieve an economic development which goes farther than the mere subsistence. It would also guarantee decent living conditions and enable the population to pay the schooling costs of their daughters and sons, as well as the health costs for the whole family. It would result in the development of the whole population in a sustainable way.