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Burkina Faso

In Burkina Faso, sowing the seeds for a sustainable future

In rural Burkina Faso, UNICEF, in partnership with the European Union, is teaching women to grow vitamin-rich vegetables.


It’s hot, dry and dusty, in this corner of Burkina Faso. With support from UNICEF and funding from the European Union, Kientego Zourata and other women from the village are working the plot that will sustain their families in lean times and help their children to thrive.

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso, 17 October 2014 – It’s lean season in the Sahel. The last harvest has long been gathered, and the first rains have yet to fall. The earth is hard and dry, and a fine layer of dust coats everything.

© UNICEF Video
A woman works in a garden supported by the UNICEF-EU project in Burkina Faso.

In the north-west corner of Burkina Faso, a group of women are hard at work. They break the earth and haul water, nurse and fertilize seedlings.

The women are part of a  project supported by UNICEF and funded by the European Union that teaches women in rural areas to develop and sustain vegetable gardens. It’s having a huge impact on the nutrition of children here.

Kientego Zourata is working the garden. “The health of my children has really improved,” she says. “In the garden, I can find fresh vegetables to nourish my children. You’ve come here, and you can see my children are healthy, so the garden has been an opportunity to feed them properly.”

Financial independence

UNICEF partner Association Solidarité et Entraide Mutuelle au Sahel (SEMUS) gives the women seeds and teaches them agricultural techniques. SEMUS monitors the progress of the garden and follows up with the women regularly.

“We benefit from the experience of agricultural trainers,” says Ms. Zourata. “They come and they show us how to grow vegetables, we get trained by this person and we benefit from the training.”

© UNICEF Video
Kientego Zourata with three of her seven children. Since she joined the garden project, she says her children are healthier.

The women take home what they need to feed their families. They eat much of the food fresh. They also dry and store some plants to eat during the lean season. They sell extra food at local markets.

“Before the garden, I just used to cultivate the same foods as other women around here, and it was very difficult,” says Ms. Zourata. “But, with the garden, I’ve become financially independent. We eat the fruit and vegetables from the garden, I can help the family financially – and I still have my own money to buy clothes for the children and to pay for their education.”

Among Ms. Zourata’s children is baby Yabiri, who was born in the middle of the lean season and is thriving.



UNICEF Photography: Building nutrition security

UNICEF-EU Partnership

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