What are the needs?
Burkina Faso is among the poorest countries in the world with one of the highest mortality rates for children under five. 80% of its 17 million inhabitants are reliant on drought- and flood-prone subsistence farming. With a rapidly growing population and lack of access to basic services, an increasing number of Burkinabè are failing to protect themselves from hunger, malnutrition and illness.
The year of 2012 was marked by crisis, triggered by erratic rains, rising food prices and the return of migrants from Ivory Coast and Libya. Having been forced to sell their assets or incur debt to buy food on the markets or pay for medical bills, many families have become less resilient.
Given the structural nature of food insecurity in Burkina Faso, the number of people requiring food assistance and nutrition care remains high in 2014. Some 1.3 million people are at risk of food insecurity and more than half a million children are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition. Following conflict in Mali, 35 000 refugees are being hosted in camps in the north of the country where they rely on humanitarian assistance to meet their most basic needs.
How are we helping?
One of the few donors to fund nutrition care in Burkina Faso, the European Commission has enabled its partners to drastically scale up the treatment of severely malnourished children since 2010.
In 2013, the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) subsidised free health care for 650 000 children and mothers. It also provided cash grants and vouchers for 200 000 of the poorest people enabling them to access food in the markets.
Apart from saving lives in the short crises' aftermath, ECHO's the objective is to considerably reduce malnutrition rates and develop people’s resilience to future crises. Many ECHO funded projects are therefore implemented in collaboration with Burkina Faso's health and nutrition authorities. EU development aid complements these efforts in view of progressing towards the Millennium Development Goals of reduced maternal and infant mortality. ECHO also provides funds to assist the remaining Malian refugees in the north of the country.