Burkina Faso Map

Burkina Faso Map

Burkina Faso map shown highlights the major cities in Burkina Faso. Ouagadougou is at the center of the Burkina Faso map, and is the capital city of Burkina Faso. The Burkina Faso map also shows the surrounding countries of Burkina Faso: Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Ivory Coast.

Burkina Faso Urban Region

The Location


The Population


The Religion


The Weather

  • Traffic in Ouagadougou is a stressor for most living in the capital city. Burkina Faso Crowded Street
  • Group games, programs, and other activities at Compassion-assisted centers contribute to a child’s self-esteem, leadership ability, and social skills. Many children blossom into their full potential as a result of Compassion training. Burkina Faso Children Standing in Line
  • Children receive nutritious meals when they meet at Compassion centers. Sometimes it is the only consistent meal they eat each week. Burkina Faso Girls With Bowls of Food
  • Vaccinations keep everyone healthy. Each sponsored child’s health is monitored carefully, and health and hygiene training is a key component of the curriculum that children often share with their families. Burkina Faso Child Getting Immunizations
  • Partnership Facilitator Kafo Inoussa Bene travels often to reach the Compassion centers he oversees. Bad roads and long distances makes motorcycle travel the most practical. Burkina Faso Partnership Facilitator on a Motorcycle
  • Children love to receive letters from their sponsors, and writing responses to them is a regular activity at Compassion centers. Burkina Faso Child with Sponsor Photo

Overview: Urban Burkina Faso

The urban population in Burkina Faso has been exploding for three decades. Although 90 percent of the people in this West African nation still reside in the countryside — surviving off what they can farm from the arid land — many are forced to relocate to urban centers in search of work and medical care.

Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world. The country has few natural resources and hundreds of thousands of Burkinabe travel to neighboring countries for seasonal agricultural work or to labor in gold and mineral mines.

The child mortality rate is high: One in five dies before age 5. Children die early primarily from malaria, malnutrition and vaccine-preventable diseases. The AIDS epidemic continues to claim the lives of parents, leaving more Burkinabe children — 120,000 according to UNICEF — orphaned.

Burkina Faso, with 17.2 million people, is a landlocked country about the size of Colorado. The densely populated cities of Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso and Koudougou cannot meet demands for basic social services, such as clean water and sanitary bathrooms.

Although Burkina Faso has begun to make some socioeconomic progress, the situation among women and children has yet to show substantial improvement. Recently the country has been forced to cope with a major locust infestation; outbreaks of meningitis, yellow fever and cholera; civil conflict in neighboring Côte d’Ivoire; and falling export prices and surging fuel costs. Poverty remains pervasive, increasing the vulnerability of children.


Culture Corner

Burkina Faso Culture


A traditional Burkinabe pastry of fried flour and dried pineapples.


  • 2¼ cups self-rising flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • ¾ cup of sugar
  • ½ cup diced, dried pineapple
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons milk


Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into the mixture then rub with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.

Add the sugar and pineapple and then stir in the beaten eggs.

Mix to a stiff dough and add a little milk if the mixture is too stiff.

Tip onto a floured surface and knead lightly before rolling out to ¼-inch thickness. Cut the dough into ½-inch rounds, then fry on a lightly greased griddle over low heat until cakes are lightly browned on both sides.

Cool on a wire rack and serve sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar.


Life in Urban Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in Western Africa, has a tropical climate with warm, dry winters and hot, rainy summers. Its three primary rivers are the Nazinon, the Nakambé and the Mouhoun.

The country is home to 60 different ethnic groups, each with its own variety of music, including the balafon (xylophone) and the djembé (drum), and storytelling (or oral history), which is the basis for Burkinabé literature.

Sports are very popular, with soccer, handball, cycling, basketball and boxing among the most common.

Unemployment is a particular problem in urban Burkina Faso, and many residents migrate to other regions to find work. Education is another obstacle. According to UNICEF, only 81 percent of students reach the fifth grade, resulting in high illiteracy rates. School fees are very expensive, and many families cannot afford their children’s education.

Children at Home

Although many urban homes are relatively modernized with electricity and running water, urban poor have little access to these amenities. The disparity between the rich and the poor is no more evident than in the cities of Burkina Faso. Extended family is very important to the Burkinabe. It is not uncommon for three or more generations to live under one roof.


Community Issues and Concerns Community in Burkina Faso

In 2009, Burkina Faso and its capital city, Ouagadougou, were hit by severe flooding from rains that raged across West Africa. The floods forced 150,000 people out of their homes. Many families still live in ramshackle shelters — nothing more than twig huts — in squatter camps on the outskirts of the city.

Burkina Faso is in the midst of a polio outbreak, which began spreading in West Africa in 2008. Despite aggressive vaccination campaigns, Burkina Faso hosts an unusually contagious strain of the virus.

Chronic malnutrition is one of the most pervasive health concerns for Burkina Faso children. Urban Burkina Faso medical centers are flooded with cases of malnutrition, particularly near the end of the growing season, when food is most scarce and farmers are waiting for harvest.

Local Needs and Challenges

Drought is a serious problem affecting most of the crops, and food supplies have been devastated. Compassion centers throughout Burkina Faso report cases of malnutrition among children, especially around the capital city of Ouagadougou. Many people in the capital are unemployed because so many have migrated to the capital looking for work. Child trafficking is a huge threat. Malaria and meningitis are serious health concerns. Housing is typically inadequate. Children’s school fees are often too costly for many parents.


Schools and Education Education in Burkina Faso

Not many Burkinabe receive a formal education. Only about 30 percent of the adult population can read or write. Only about one-third of Burkina Faso children are enrolled in elementary school. Most schools are in cities.

Some tribal practices bar children, particularly girls, from school. Girls under 15 are frequently forced into early marriage and out of the school system. Pervasive poverty also dictates that children work, sometimes performing grueling labor in mines, rather than attend school. Compassion is committed to helping these children break the chains of poverty through education.

At the Compassion Child Development Center

Child development centers provide registered children with a place to learn, grow and study. Children whose families have never been able to offer them clean water, health care or an education now have access to these necessities. Compassion-assisted children attend health classes, tutoring sessions and Bible studies at the center. They also spend time writing to and praying for their sponsors.


Working Through the Local Church

As a spiritual and social institution, the local church is Compassion’s most crucial partner in each community. More and more churches in Burkina Faso are working with Compassion to nurture and protect children. The partnership is vital in implementing Compassion’s holistic, age-appropriate curriculum, which focuses on children’s spiritual, intellectual, socio-emotional and physical development. While young children might be learning about their five senses, teens are learning about leadership or how to have successful relationships. Compassion and the church are also instrumental in providing extracurricular activities for children, such as community service opportunities, music classes, gardening, and tutoring. These and other activities create a sense of unity, even among different age groups.

How Compassion Works in Burkina Faso Compassion in Burkina Faso

Compassion’s work in Burkina Faso began in the summer of 2004. Currently, more than 42,000 children participate in 172 child development centers. Compassion partners with churches and denominations to help them provide Burkinabé children with the opportunity to rise above their circumstances and become all that God has created them to be.

The Role of a Partnership Facilitator

The Partnership Facilitator (PF) is the key link between Compassion and the local church, and the first person people contact if there is a problem. The PF shares Compassion’s vision with church partners and oversees its implementation at centers. Kafo Inoussa Bene, a PF in charge of 15 centers in Burkina Faso, joined Compassion in May 2008. “There are many challenges, including having enough classrooms,” he says. “Fortunately, Compassion has the Complementary Interventions fund, so I can encourage partners to write for monetary assistance for special projects.” Kafo, who is passionate about children and Compassion’s mission, strives to ensure a respectful and trusting relationship between churches and families so that all benefit.


Prayer Requests

  • Please pray for job creation. The more the parents work, the more they will be able to take care of their children.
  • Epidemics claim many lives. Pray that God might protect children against these diseases.
  • Pray that girls might be allowed to stay in school. Education can help break the cycle of poverty and abuse.