LWR began working in Burkina Faso in 1986 to address the food crisis assailing the country’s largely rural population. Subsistence farmers, a vast majority of the population, face a harsh and arid climate with seasonal and highly variable precipitation, exacerbated by the growing impact of global climate change. LWR works to break the vicious cycle of poverty by supporting agriculture and climate programs which are designed to improve livelihoods. In times of emergency, LWR and its partners use cash-for-work approaches to allow farmers to earn immediate income to feed their families while at the same time carrying out critical actions designed to build resiliency. LWR currently works in the predominantly rural northern and eastern regions of Burkina Faso, including the province of Passoré and the commune of Bittou in the province of Boulgou.
Agriculture: Value Chains and Climate Smart Agriculture
LWR improves the lives of thousands of rural farm families in Burkina Faso by increasing their participation in agricultural value chains and strengthening their livelihood base. LWR works with partners to improve smallholder farmer cultivation, processing and marketing capacity. LWR also strengthens the capacity of agricultural cooperatives and unions that serve these farmers, with training in governance and financial management, facilitating joint negotiation of credit and other services, and strengthening cooperative sales and marketing.
LWR uses a climate smart agriculture approach in Burkina Faso to promote the introduction of environmentally sound improved cultivation practices and crop varieties, such as drought-tolerant sorghum and cowpea varieties and innovations in irrigated and rain-fed horticultural production. LWR addresses producers’ need for credit to increase and sustain agricultural production by linking farmer organizations with financial institutions, using its innovative Tripartite Rural Financing Model wherein initial loan guarantees and technical assistance allow farmers and their organizations to build a relationship of mutual trust and success with financial institutions.
LWR also supports smallholder animal production as a powerful tool for poverty reduction in Burkina Faso. Increased local, national and international demand for animal products offers important opportunities to scale up production and significantly impact smallholder farmers’ livelihoods. LWR’s approaches in Burkina Faso focus on maintaining optimal livestock weight and milk production levels during the dry season through improved herd maintenance and management. LWR supports expansion and consolidation of pasture areas, with an emphasis on increased fodder production and pasture recovery. LWR also works with dairy farmers and herders to rehabilitate and build pastoral wells to provide critical water supplies for livestock.
Climate: Building Resilience through Conservation
LWR works with communities to adapt to and mitigate the effects of a changing climate, and to reduce their vulnerability to climate-related hazards. Failed rains, drought and rising food costs regularly cause widespread food insecurity among the population of Burkina Faso, leaving millions of people at-risk. LWR reduces the vulnerability of Burkina Faso’s marginalized rural populations to ongoing environmental degradation and the effects of global climate change through long-term, sustainable development and emergency projects that meet immediate needs while building resilient communities . LWR’s programs emphasize environmental rehabilitation through the implementation of soil and water conservation works and watershed management on community land, as well as tree seedling production for community-led reforestation. Community members are organized and trained to ensure sustainable community management of natural resources .
Emergency Operations: From Relief to Recovery
LWR’s established experience and strong relationships with communities in Burkina Faso, place it in a privileged position to respond quickly and effectively to emergency situations. LWR collaborates with donors such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to respond to drought and food crisis by providing household and community asset-building assistance to affected populations through cash-for-work initiatives focused on environmental rehabilitation. Cash-for-Work (CFW) income allows families to purchase food and meet other immediate needs. LWR supports the establishment of community management committees who are responsible for the oversight and leadership of CFW activities.
LWR’s emergency operations initiatives adhere to the Sphere Project Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Emergency Response. LWR is also an associate member of the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP), whose mission is to make humanitarian action accountable to its intended beneficiaries. LWR operates with the belief that those affected by an emergency have a right to life with dignity and that all possible steps should be taken to alleviate their suffering.
LWR’s Material Resource Program is another important element of LWR’s emergency operations capacity; in coordination with local partners, LWR helps meet humanitarian needs across West Africa with Quilts, School Kits, Personal Care Kits, Baby Care Kits, Fabric Kits and more. These nonfood items are donated by U.S. Lutheran supporters to help meet vulnerable families’ most urgent needs.