Posted on August 2, 2019
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‘The land of people of integrity’
Through a series of complex events, comprising both violent force and alliances and treaties, what is today Burkina Faso had been colonised in 1898 by France. Burkina Faso then gained full independence from France on the 5th of August 1960. To gain independence took over 20 years of unrest and military coups, before it settled into the peaceful nation its people had longed for under Capt. Thomas Sankara. He, it was that changed the name of the country to Burkina Faso from what was then known as Upper Volta. He also changed the flag, choosing to adopt the colours associated with Pan-Africanism.
Burkina Faso translates as ‘land of people of integrity’ in the Mossi language, which is spoken by the majority of the people of that country.
Sankara is sometimes referred to as Africa’s Che Guevara, because on coming to power he immediately launched programmes for social, ecological, and economic change. Although these policies made him popular with the majority poor citizens, he was less popular with a minority, but quite powerful factions who were been stripped of their long-held privileges by his policies. The growing resentments among this group led to his assassination in 1987 by his friend and deputy, Blaise Compaoré, who then assumed power and reversed many of the policies Sankara had implemented. Compaoré remained in power until 2014 when his attempt to alter the constitution prompted a people’s protest, described then as ‘Burkina Faso’s black spring, similar to the Arab Spring’.
Despite the success of the revolution in 2014, it has been far from plain sailing for Burkina Faso. The new democratic government inherited arrangements made by Compaore with armed groups and extremists that had helped shield the region from conflict – but these arrangements did not hold up. The dissolution of the arrangements, along with the weakening of the security apparatus, allowed terrorist organisations to increase their operations.
The country is now facing an unprecedented internal displacement crisis. It’s estimated that extremist violence has forced more than 100,000 in Burkina Faso alone to flee their homes. Schools and teachers are soft targets for the terrorist organisations, and tragically more than 1,000 schools in the north of the country have been forced to close recently, affecting more than 150,000 children.
ACT in Burkina Faso
Henrietta Fore’s words strike a chord. At ACT, we are anxious that all children should have a right to education in a safe and healthy environment. ACT has been operating in Burkina Faso since 2001. To-date we have supported nearly 450 children in rural communities across 6 of the 13 regions in the country. With our partner, Child Hope (D’Abord des Enfant), we deliver education for impoverished children. It is the young, the new generations, who will have to build up this nation and that simply can’t happen without a good education. More than 70 ACT supported children have graduated from university, received diplomas or certificate after completing tertiary education. This has been made possible by child sponsors who give £15 or more a month to support a child.
Through our women’s initiative we provide training for needy widows in whole life skills. Our ‘Village MBA’ gives them support to plan, develop and implement business ideas either independently or in collaboration with others. Using this approach we have empowered more than 300 women to start initiatives which develop their skills and generate income to support their families. One of our success stories is Collette Ilboudou, whose idea of buying a loom to make clothes, turned into a business of 12 looms and employing other widows.
Your support for our work will help to make a difference. Becoming a child sponsor will help to educate a child so that they can achieve their potential in life. Supporting our Widows initiative will empower them to generate income to support their families. Visit our website to find out more. Click here.
To make a regular donation now to sponsor one or more children click here.