In late 2019, many vulnerable households in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso benefited from distributions of small ruminants, animal feed and seeds. Ms. Haoua Boubacar, a beneficiary of Dori, has seen her livelihoods improve thanks to the assistance provided by FAO.

On a windy December morning in the village of Djomga, the women kept the wood chips burning, while a few men were preparing to go to Dori, or the neighboring villages, to sell some of their products. Beneath the palaver tree, leaders of the Dori Believers’ Union of Believers (one of FAO’s implementing partners) chatted with a few heads of household. FAO and staff from the Ministry of Animal and Fisheries Resources were also exchanging with leaders about progress made in the distribution of small ruminants to vulnerable households. Among the participants, mainly composed of men, was Mrs. Haoua Boubacar: “Since the death of my husband five years ago, I have been taking care of my five children alone,” she said, explaining the difficulties encountered in providing for her family’s needs, given the poor production results of the 2019 crop year. Then, speaking of the small ruminants she had recently received, her face lit up: “What a relief! I will take care of these three sheep carefully so that they grow and can reproduce in the best conditions. I will then be able to generate income and support my family, “she said.

Ms. Haoua Boubacar received three sheep as part of the Swiss-funded FAO project, which aims to support the farming of vulnerable households through the provision of inputs. The assistance provided by the project enables them to increase the availability of quality fodder and improve animal reproduction, in order to cope with the crisis in the Center-North and Sahel regions. To date, the project has: distributed more than 440 tonnes of animal feed in the two regions; carried out a study on the impact of insecurity on animal husbandry practices and on the functioning of livestock markets in Burkina Faso; trained 31 facilitators on good food and nutritional practices, as well as on animal maintenance, health care and feeding; distributed 1,500 agricultural production kits, comprising a total of 8,750 kg of cowpeas, 5,000 kg of cereals, 4,500 triple-bottom bags and 138,000 kg of organic fertilizer to 1,500 vulnerable households; distributed 2,250 animals to 750 households; and vaccinated and dewormed 4,000 cattle and 12,500 small ruminants.

Ms. Haoua Boubacar is grateful to the FAO and to Swiss Cooperation, as are other beneficiary households in the Center-North and Sahel regions. She can now engage in subsistence activities during the 2019/20 dry season and will be able to produce food and generate income.