A Pattern of Violence and Loss
The screams reached Marcel first.
When he looked up from his work in the fields, he saw people running in a cloud of dust, some screaming and crying, some dragging children. A great fist squeezed in his stomach.
“One day I was working on the farm when I saw a huge crowd of villagers in a stampede. A woman warned me of active shooters approaching. I grabbed my stuff and ran home,” says Marcel.
With his terrified neighbors, he gathered as many possessions as he could before fleeing.
“It was hard to leave everything behind, but I had no other options. I abandoned my house, my farm, donkey and goats to relocate my family in town,” explains Marcel. He didn’t have just himself to watch out for but an entire family’s safety to consider.
The pattern has been repeated across the region for years. Since 2016, Burkina Faso has experienced unprecedented violence, especially in the North and Eastern regions. Thousands have lost their lives and more than two million people are internally displaced.
The Global Food Crisis
Now living in temporary, tiny shelters in displaced people camps, families like Marcel’s aren’t just threatened by violence; they are among the thousands now bearing the brunt of runaway inflation, putting them at high risk of long-term famine and severe poverty.
The global food crisis — caused by multiple factors like the war in Ukraine, inflation, fertilizer shortages, COVID-19 and extreme weather — is impacting families in Burkina Faso and all over the world. Burkina Faso is one of the countries that’s been most severely impacted.
Palamanga Ouali, vice president of Compassion’s Africa region, shares: “Insecurity in Northern and Eastern Burkina Faso, population movement, prolonged droughts and low agricultural yields have combined to threaten the lives of many vulnerable people in the country … Due to price inflation and non-availability of essential goods, they usually can buy very little.”
“Besides farming, I used to resell maize. Now, for the first time, the cost of a bag of 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of corn reached $60, whereas it used to be less than $30. My biggest challenge is food security — to afford at least two meals per day — and to pay school fees for my children,” says Marcel.
Any father would struggle to bear watching his children starve. “I don’t want to see my children going to bed with an empty stomach,” he says. “I started to sell firewood while looking for new business opportunities.”