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Help Children in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso, which means “land of honest men,” is a small, very poor, landlocked country in Western Africa, home to over 20 million people. A former French colony, it gained independence as Upper Volta in 1960.

Years of political instability led to the crumbling of a 27-year regime in 2014. Since then, the country has suffered recurrent attacks, including on schools, by armed groups. As the security situation deteriorates, some 900,000 people have become internally displaced. Burkina Faso also faces challenges in infant mortality, malnutrition, education, employment, food security and limited natural resources.

In Burkina Faso, over 2.2 million people are now in need of humanitarian assistance, almost half of them children.

Challenges for Children in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is one of the world’s toughest countries to be a child. With very high rates of poverty, malnutrition and food insecurity, education under attack, children forced to work and families displaced from home, children in Burkina Faso need your help.

1 child in 13 dies before their 5th birthday, 11 times the U.S. rate

25% of children suffer from stunting due to malnutrition

36% of children are out of school, and 67% of girls (ages 15+) struggle to read and write

42% are engaged in child labor, instead of learning

32% of girls (ages 15-19) are married, and 1 in 10 gives birth

5 in every 1,000 children is murdered

40% of people live in poverty

Map of Burkina Faso

Our Results for Children in Burkina Faso

Thanks to supporters like you, Burkina Faso has made some strides in improving child survival, malnutrition and school enrollment. Together, we reached over 85,000 children in Burkina Faso last year.

A young mother holds her son, while she writes on a blackboard at a Save the Children learning and livelihood center.

This young mother and her son will likely have a better life, thanks to the Save the Children learning and livelihood center that donors like you are helping support.

12,000 children healthy and nourished

4,000 children educated and empowered

62,000 children protected from harm

2,000 children lifted from poverty 

20,000 children aided in crisis

Our Work for Children in Burkina Faso

Responding to the great drought of the 1970s, Save the Children’s teams began working Burkina Faso in 1982.

Today, Save the Children is a leading charity for children in Burkina Faso, with programs in child health, education and protection. These programs focus on improving maternal and child health, addressing malnutrition and food insecurity, promoting school enrollment, particularly for girls, ending child marriage and keeping children safe, as well as raising awareness of children’s rights.

We work closely with government ministries and other partners to assess children’s needs and successfully address them. Save the Children also helps families and communities make pivotal decisions about village health, school management and economic opportunities that positively affect the quality of life for themselves and their children.

Here are some recent examples of our work:

A healthy start in life

  • We’re advocating for universal access to health care and an increase in the health budget
  • To combat malnutrition, we’re screening, treating and providing long-term care for affected children and their families
  • We’re implementing food assistance programs to address undernutrition and chronic food insecurity, including promoting healthy infant feeding, healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies and improving water, sanitation and hygiene practices
  • We’re supporting parents’ ability to care and provide for their children through cash transfer, livelihoods and budget management projects
  • We’re partnering with Burkina Faso’s ministry of health on the quality and effectiveness of health care

The opportunity to learn

  • Education is a cornerstone of our work in the country, including opening literacy centers to boost children’s school success and working with teachers to ensure quality learning environments
  • We’re also supporting alternative, non-formal education in places where schools are closed, as well as for internally displaced people through our Youth In Action program  for vulnerable youth, including literacy, financial literacy and related life skills development
  • Through our Model Husband School approach, we successfully used community approaches to address gender norms, especially with adolescents, and promote male engagement

Protection from harm

  • With 42% of children engaged in the workforce, we’re creating apprenticeships through our Youth in Action program to steer children away from dangerous jobs
  • We’re implementing child protection programs involving parents to create a greater common understanding of existing child protection issues
  • We’re working with communities to prevent, identify, address and refer child protection cases
  • We’re actively promoting the use of positive parenting approaches for caregivers
  • We’re working to strengthen regional civil society organizations and empower youth networks to expand young people’s options and end child marriage

How to Help Children in Burkina Faso

You can create change that lasts a lifetime for children in Burkina Faso – in so many ways.

Support Save the Children’s mission. Donate to help children in Burkina Faso and around the world grow up healthy, educated and safe.

Join Team Tomorrow
Join Team Tomorrow and your monthly donation will go toward addressing the needs of children affected by today’s most urgent issues.

Browse the Gift Catalog
Give a meaningful gift that will help transform children’s lives and futures in Burkina Faso and beyond. There’s something for everyone!

Sources: Facts and statistics have been sourced from Save the Children’s monitoring and evaluation experts, as well as our thought leadership publications, including our Global Childhood Report 2020 and Stop the War on Children 2020 report. Other sources include CIA World Factbook and BBC Country Profiles.


Photos: Harrison Thane / Save the Chidlren.