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Burkina Faso

burnkinamapBurkina Faso, or “The Land of Honest Men”, is a landlocked country in western Africa just slightly larger than Colorado. Its neighbors are Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, and Ghana. Ouagadougou is the capital and largest city. Other major cities include Bobo-Dioulasso, Koudougou, Kaya, and Ouahigouya. Burkina’s geography consists of extensive plains, low hills, high savannas, and a Northern desert area. Spoken languages are French (official), and indigenous languages.

 

The country’s economy depends on adequate rainfall—roughly 80% of the population is engaged in subsistence farming, and they are working with only limited natural resources. Cotton and gold are the major contributors to Burkina Faso’s economic growth and trade relations with other nations. While the last few years have seen increased demand for these goods and greater revenue generation,  economic and political instability continue to depress the country’s developmental prospects.

Burkina Faso has the 14th highest mortality rate for infants and young children, according to UNICEF’s 2013 rankings, with 1 in 10 children in rural areas dying  before their 5th birthdays. The contributing factors include:

  • It is one of the world’s 5 poorest countries.
  • Medical clinics are often more than a 4 hour walk from many villages, and too expensive for many families to use.
  • Malaria  and  diarrhea  can  kill  a  small  child  in  a  few  days — if they can’t get help quickly enough, they’re lost to their families.
  • Severely  malnourished  children  are  60%  more  likely  to   die  from  disease  than  adequately  fed  children, and the country’s poverty limits children’s access to food and other goods.

Small RAIN has identified that the most effective way to save children’s lives in developing countries, such as Burkina Faso, is to train a village  resident as a health worker who can treat the most common causes of death. Health workers also provide public health education and  encourage use of mosquito nets within their villages.

 

Recent News Coverage:

3. Burkina Faso Deserves Praise for its Transition Towards Peace