Burkina Faso

Thomas Sankara’s Women

Agro-ecology: an additional weapon to fight climate change

This peculiar idea of circular agriculture management combines organic agriculture and the breeding of animals for the production of fertilizer. Respecting and protecting the environment, it guarantees food independence for one of the poorest countries in Africa, in addition to the enfranchisement of women in Burkinabe society. 

More than thirty years after the murder of Thomas Sankara, the president who dreamt of a “land of people of integrity” led by citizens who were aware of their own capabilities, the Sahel has returned to offer to the world a new lesson in civility. 
After the death of the socialist leader, the economy of the former French colony of Alto Volta was readmitted to programmes for “international aid”. In fact, 40% of the population lives below the poverty line and the poorest of those are primarily adolescents and mothers (80% of whom are illiterate): the only people involved in cultivating land due to the high rate of emigration towards Europe. 80% of those living in Burkina Faso survive thanks to agriculture, but improvements in quality and quantity have allowed people to consolidate the system of microcredit: an innovative solution which is helping to open alternative activities during those months when the earth has to rest, not to mention guaranteeing young people the possibility of going to school and women the opportunity to improve the conditions of their own homes. 

Batio Nestor Bassierre, Minister of the Environment, has launched a government plan that aims to convert at least 2,000 communities, with a combined population of around 4 million, into “eco-villages” by 2020. 
This measure will protect local cultures and incentivise the practices of resilience, while avoiding economic impoverishment related to migration. Moreover, it will serve to contrast the consequences of climate change in sub-Saharan Africa, where aridity is getting worse every year, water reserves are running low, and the rainy season is growing shorter and shorter. Three phenomena which, taken together, are weakening the already fragile agricultural system of the country. 

At La Saisonniere, however, an agricultural centre in the capital of Ouagadougou, a different future is still possible. In addition to providing what is necessary for survival, women without any economic resources are managing urban micro-gardens, which provide them with an income they wouldn’t otherwise have. Thanks to Sophie Sedgho, a grammar school teacher specialised in natural sciences as well as the president of the centre, sewing and literacy courses have also been launched. To tell the story of a new revolution right words are essential.

( 2018 )