Partnering to change women and girls’ fate in Burkina Faso
“In Burkina Faso, we say poverty has a woman’s face.” That’s how Félicité Medah, President of Coalition Burkinabé pour les Droits de la Femme (CBDF), Crossroads International’s partner in Burkina Faso, describes the economic situation of women in her country. Poverty, gender-based violence, early marriage and limited participation in political and public life are some of the hardships women and girls face in Burkina Faso. The country has a child marriage prevalence rate of 52%. Despite positive actions taken by the Burkinabe government, the influence of traditions and culture is still important and continues to weigh on women and girls.
“To face these challenges, we can’t work alone. […] Partnering is important,” says Hortense Lougue Kabore, Executive Director of Association d’Éveil et d’appui Pugsada (ADEP) who started working with Crossroads in 2016. ADEP works to improve the situation of girls in Burkina Faso and in 2017, they received the support of a Crossroader to increase their team’s skills and expertise in Communications. During her six-month mandate, Rocio Valencia helped develop a communication plan and strengthen the photography and website management skills. “As they have a lot of projects, it is even more interesting to promote the different activities and initiatives’ success,” Rocio shared during her mandate. The impact and results of ADEP’s work can now be shared on their website and on social media. “Today, [Rocio] is gone but we can implement the communications plan ourselves,” explains Hortense.
For Félicité and CBDF, partnering is also crucial. “The world is evolving […] we cannot live in isolation in this current time. We need to learn to live together, to exchange and to take the positive from one another,” she explains. Crossroads International started working with CBDF in 2016 and together they are implementing Girls’ clubs in five villages. These clubs are safe spaces where girls can find information and learn about gender-based violence or sexual and reproductive health. Girls at risk of early and forced marriage receive the support and protection they need. The project is impacting 200 teenage girls and is already having a positive impact as Moyenga Aimée-Marie Agathe, club’s mentor in Goumoré shared.
“We managed to change the mind of the family of a girl who was going to be married. […] She told us her problem and we met with her family to talk to them. […] They listened to our plea and the family didn’t marry her in the end.”
“Une main ne peut pas ramasser la farine” (“One hand can’t gather flour.”) Félicité used this African proverb to highlight the importance of partnering to achieve results. Crossroads International and its local partners in Burkina Faso are the living proof of this year’s International Development Week theme “partners for a better world.”