The majority of the population in Burkina Faso is under 20 years old. The country is afflicted by chronic poverty, armed conflict that has displaced hundreds of thousands and it also suffers from the impact of climate change. For many years, Solidar Suisse has been engaging in Burkina Faso to improve access to education and food security among the rural population.
Poverty and illiteracy
Over two thirds of the 20 million people in Burkina Faso work in the agricultural sector, but the agricultural practices they use are often inefficient and climate change is leading to significant water shortages and soil degradation. There are high levels of poverty and many farmers’ daily lives are characterised by hunger.
In the field of education there has been significant progress in recent decades, but it remains the case that only approximately half of children finish primary schooling. Most of the population can neither read nor write.
Many children have to work in the agricultural sector or drop out of school to work in gold mines to earn urgently needed money. In many places there are few possibilities to break out of the poverty trap by learning a profession.
Life expectancy: 61,2 years
Average life expectancy in Switzerland: 83,6 years
Literacy rate: 41 %
Literacy rate among adults in Switzerland: 99,9 %
The Gini Index measures the degree of income inequality: The higher the number, the more inequality. Switzerland: 32,7
Together with local partner organisations, Solidar Suisse offers small-scale famers courses in arithmetic, writing and French. Course participants learn how to create basic accounting and set up a small business. We set up community nurseries to relieve the burden on mothers. The bilingual schooling system and vocational training developed over many years enable us to create prospects for young people.
We offer apprenticeships to girls without educational qualifications. To strengthen social cohesion, which has been impacted by the armed conflict in the country, our educational work has a strong focus on involving displaced persons and nonviolent intercultural communication. We use various measures to improve food security in the country. In addition, we inform parents and farmers about the problems associated with child labour and use campaigns to raise awareness around these serious problems among cotton traders in Switzerland.
Almost half of the population suffers from extreme poverty and has to live on less than 1.90 US dollars per day.