Limited livelihood opportunities and recurrent environmental shocks contribute to food insecurity and malnutrition in Burkina Faso, a landlocked country of approximately 18 million people, according to the UN World Food Program (WFP). The 2017 Global Hunger Index reports that Burkina Faso faces a serious level of hunger, with approximately 8 and 27 percent of children younger than five years of age acutely and chronically malnourished, respectively.
The 2012 coup d’état and civil unrest in neighboring Mali displaced thousands of Malians. As of October 2017, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that 24,100 Malian refugees remained in Burkina Faso, further straining the food security of Burkinabe host communities.
Normal April–September rainfall will likely promote average cereal production for the September–December main harvest, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), and Minimal (IPC 1) food insecurity is expected across most of the country until May 2018. However, poor households in the northern Sahel Region will face Stressed (IPC 2) levels of food insecurity in April and May due to eliminated household food stocks, high cereal prices, and decreased purchasing power.
The Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) is a standardized tool that aims to classify the severity and magnitude of food insecurity. The IPC scale, which is comparable across countries, ranges from Minimal (IPC 1) to Famine (IPC 5).
With support from the USAID Office of Food for Peace (FFP), WFP provides emergency food assistance—such as general food distributions, food- and cash-for-assets activities, and supplementary feeding programs—to vulnerable Burkinabe populations and Malian refugees across Burkina Faso. FFP also collaborates with the USAID Resilience in the Sahel Enhanced (RISE) initiative, which aims to foster sustainable economic development, reduce malnutrition, and boost populations’ capacity to cope with shocks.
FFP enables the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to provide ready-to-use therapeutic food to treat children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
In partnership with Catholic Relief Services and ACDI/VOCA, FFP targets more than 325,000 food-insecure Burkinabe with long- term development projects focused on agriculture, health and nutrition, and civil society. The programs seek to improve the nutritional status of the most vulnerable populations—including children under two and pregnant and lactating women—as well as bolster agricultural production, diversify livelihoods, increase market linkages, and promote hygiene and sanitation best practices.