In Urban Burkina Faso
Geography & Climate
Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in western Africa. The three primary rivers are the Nazinon, the Nakambé and the Mouhoun. The climate is tropical, with warm, dry winters and hot, rainy summers.
In Burkino Faso, about 44 percent of the urban population lives below the poverty line. It is one of the poorest countries in the world. With few natural resources the Burkinabe are forced to travel to neighboring countries for seasonal agricultural work and to labor in mines and on plantations.
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.
Issues and Concerns
- In 2009, Ouagadougou was hit by severe flooding, which forced 150,000 people out of their homes. Many families still live in ramshackle shelters in squatter camps on the city’s outskirts.
- Burkina Faso is in the midst of a polio outbreak. 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
This serious problem affects 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 there 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
- 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 Burkina Faso works to ensure that every registered child is able to attend school, and it provides additional support, including tutoring, at the child development centers.
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.
What Compassion Sponsorship Provides
In partnership with local churches, Compassion is bringing real help and hope to impoverished children in urban Burkina Faso, providing:
- regular nutritious meals and snacks
- health checkups and medical care as needed
- education reinforcement, especially for girls. Compassion believes that a child’s place is in a classroom, where he or she can prepare for a better future rather than laboring to help meet their families’ financial needs.
- programs to help partner churches actively combat all forms of abuse and exploitation of children for commercial or economic purposes
- school tuition, which eases parents’ economic burden and ensures children’s education and the promise of a brighter future
- parent education, including training in income-generating activities that will enable them to better meet the needs of their families