Burkina Faso

Lowlands Management Project Helps Women Provide for their Families

From morning to night, Elise spends her days taking care of her family and working in nearby rice fields. As a beneficiary of the Lowlands Management Project, she is now better able to provide for her six children.

In Ouidi Wafe, Burkina Faso, Elise wakes up at 4 o'clock every morning to start her day. Elise, 52, is a beneficiary of the Project Bas Fonds (PBF), or Lowlands Management Project, a bilateral project funded by the Government of Japan and managed by WFP. However, before she begins her work for the PBF, Elise, as the head of her household, must first tend to her family.

While it is still dark out, Elise begins by sweeping the courtyard, followed by preparing breakfast for her six children, four of whom go to school. After they have left, Elise walks 2 km to the public well in Ouidi Wafe, 40 km from the capital Ouagadougou, where she fills six 25-litre yellow tanks with water for her family. With only a little cart to bring the water home under the hot sun, the process can take up to four hours if there are many other women waiting in line. When Elise returns home, she does not have the chance to rest, as she must prepare lunch for her family.

After lunch, Elise makes her way to a rice field where she and other women take part in the PBF's land reclamation and rice production activities. At the Ouidi Wafe site, 20.5 hectares of previously fruitless land have been reclaimed under the PBF. In the three regions where the project is active in Burkina Faso, more than 40,000 people in 20 sites, including Elise, have benefited from the project's Food for Work activities.

Elise works at the rice field for three or four hours before returning home to spend the last hours of her day taking care of her family. "In my days there is no break," she says, smiling. "Rest? I don't know what that means."

Despite her tiring days, though, Elise is pleased, as she is now able to provide for her family thanks to her work in the rice fields. She is grateful to have been able to return to Ouidi Wafe, her home village, to work under the PBF after having made a living selling dolo, a local beer made out of millet, in Ouagadougou.

"With the earnings from the sale of rice, I can pay for school and health care for my children," Elise explains. "I am happy, and I hope that WFP's support will continue."